Gadhafi dead or alive? Websites carefully qualify info during breaking news

As reports came out Thursday morning about the capture or death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi during violence in his hometown of Sirte, news websites published information immediately with extreme caution. Of the 10 leading websites I checked between 8:40 and 9 a.m., every one of them provided information in the headline to communicate how reliable the report might be. This transparency helps boost credibility during breaking news. || Related: Broadcast and cable nets scramble to confirm and cover Gaddafi’s status

Fox News attributed the information and made clear in its headline that there were conflicting reports.
CNN cited Arab media as the source in its breaking news ticker, and noted that it had not yet confirmed those reports.
Msnbc.com had both news of Gadhafi‘s capture and his death on its home page, one in the top story and one in a breaking news alert bannered across the site.
CBS News also made it clear that reports of Gadhafi‘s death were unconfirmed.
ABC attributes the information to rebel fighters who unseated the Libyan leader.
ABC attributes the information to rebel fighters who unseated the Libyan leader.
AOL also attributed the reports to rebels.
One of the more subdued approaches to the news, The New York Times attributed the information to a Libyan official.
The Washington Post reported neither Gadhafi‘s capture nor his death in its headline, only that his fate was uncertain.

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  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    AP says Moammar Gadhafi (we follow AP style so Poynter is using that as well). –Julie

  • Kay Richardson

    This is very interesting to follow. Particularly all the varied spellings of Qaddafi/Ghaddafi, etc. AP Stylebook, what say you??

  • Thomas Curley

    Gaddafi alive and well and leading resistance!!!!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_PA5UMvvoo