One of the blessings of the Internet is the Mirror has more readers than at any time in its history.
Most newspapers with a website can make the same claim.
Whether we're talking about transplanted Altoonans or snowbirds spending their winters in Florida, cyberspace has provided a great way to stay connected to your roots.
It's also created a feeding frenzy of competition that has swept the nation and balanced the playing field in the sense that a small-town daily - like the Mirror - can beat a national media giant on a particular story.
But in the thirst to be first, recklessness is beginning to taint the entire industry.
Just look at a couple of recent examples.
According to several prominent national media organizations, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was killed in the tragedy that took place in Arizona Jan. 8. Among those reporting it, via Twitter, were CNN, Reuters and National Public Radio.
It's one thing to jump the gun on someone's candidacy. But their death?
Those organizations spent the next few hours correcting their "tweets," apologizing and then figuring out whether to leave up the original messages. Those decisions aren't as important as this one: Get it right the first time.
Closer to home, we've seen the media trip over itself trying to solve the Pitt football coaching puzzle. It gained heightened significance around the state because Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was one of the top candidates for the job.
WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reported on Jan. 5 that Bradley was the choice. The story was published in numerous papers, including the Mirror.
Later that same night, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported Bradley was sending text messages to his players, informing them he was leaving to become Pitt's coach.
Pitt and Bradley vehemently denied the information, and the Patriot-News reporter issued a passionate apology and fell on his sword for what he called shoddy reporting.
We're not talking about the typical and of course unattributed rumors that fly around the Internet all the time.
We're talking about damaging a company's name and logo with a "breaking news" mentality that turns out to be wrong, and the problem is the embarrassment of this magnitude overshadows breaking 10 stories accurately.
Look at the pattern. CNN, Reuters, NPR, WTAE, The Patriot-News: These are not fly-by-night operations.
But they are linked by an uncontrollable desire to win and, sadly, are a product of the times.
Then again, you can't appreciate the luxury of receiving 24/7 information without understanding the risk that attempting to compile it involves.
Newspapers that don't pick up other links and leads, especially from national outlets, will eventually front the league only in old news.
We all want to be first. Talk to anybody in the industry - whether it's newspaper, TV or radio or yes, a specialized, one-subject website - and there's a certain pride and exhilaration of breaking a story.
But that pride cannot trump accuracy. We talk about it here all the time: It's better to be second and right than first and wrong.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com.