Saturday, January 8, 2011

Get the facts, get it right, or shut up

After watching the events of the shooting in Arizona today and the misinformation floating around, it's a good time to remind journalists that getting it right is more important than getting it first. She's dead. Nope, wait, she's alive. And you wonder why viewers don't trust us.

When you broadcast a story like this imagine you're talking to a family member of the victim. How would you like to be told a loved one is dead, then, oops, my bad, that person is actually alive. Imagine the emotional roller coaster the poor Congresswoman's family went through today thanks to reporters who can't get their facts straight.

Big stories bring often bring out the worst in our profession when it comes to facts. The race to be first can leave you wearing an omelet on your face. The 2000 Presidential election is a fine example of that.

And for those of you too young to remember the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, check this out. Gets real interesting about three minutes in and off the charts at the four minute mark.


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