Monday, August 12

Rushing isn't Reporting

Warning - rant ahead...

There is something wrong with a society that wants information and news so fast that they don't care about accuracy. It is bad enough that there are no statesmen left in America - it is horrible that journalists are a dying breed too.

Here in Central Virginia many of us have been praying for the safe return of a young woman named Alexis Murphy. She disappeared over a week ago. Yesterday there was an arrest made related to her case. Today one of our regional news bureaus posted on their official Facebook page that she had been found. Apparently one of their reporters misheard a statement during a press conference and posted the misinformation. To their credit - WSLS has taken responsibility for the error and apologized.

What they fail to recognize is that the error was NOT the posting of wrong information. The error was rushing to be first with the "news" and failing to check their facts. Many of the comments on their Facebook apology are followers of the site that say "mistakes happen...we're all human" - WRONG. Yes, WE are human. THEY are journalists. They have a responsibility to present accurate information on all of their news outlets - even their Facebook page.

It brought back the moronic error by KTVU in San Francisco when they read that the pilots in the Asisana Airlines crash were Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, and Bang Ding Ow. SERIOUSLY? You shouldn't be that damn stupid and be allowed to anchor the news. They were in such a rush to report something new in the story that they not only didn't fact check - they apparently never read them aloud before taking it on the air.

I think that John Chancellor, David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite are spinning in their graves.

Let's get this straight. You are NOT bloggers. You are NOT just informing your friends. You are reporters. You get paid to report the news. And we would prefer facts that have been vetted (look it up if you don't know what it means) than speed. If you want to spend your time speculating on what might be true - or if you want to be an opinion writer - do us all a favor and get a job at Entertainment Tonight.

Reporting isn't a race. Stop treating it that way.

1 comment:

  1. This is what happens in a journalism world where kids rule the roost. All of the veteran writers were laid off 5 years ago. welcome to the US Weekly world of journalism!