Articles about "Breaking news reporting"


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What breaking news reveals about your newsroom culture

Here’s what a lifetime in journalism has taught me: Breaking news reveals the true character of a newsroom’s culture and quality.

Spot news success happens in cultures with specific systems, skills, values, mindsets – and leadership.

In the healthiest cultures, when news breaks, here’s what staffers can count on:

  • We have a plan. We don’t have to scramble to figure out how to respond each time a big story breaks. Everyone on our team has an understanding of the key roles that need to be filled – both in the field and at the mother ship. We automatically call in and report for duty. We adapt the basic plan by situation and story, and we’re never caught flat-footed.
  • It doesn’t matter if our boss is on vacation. Deputies and team members are capable of making tough decisions and deploying resources because our leader routinely shares information and power. (No one has to say, “What would the boss do?” We know what WE should do.) We know who’s in charge and we know we’re all responsible.
  • Our hardware and software won’t be our weak link. Our organization invests in the necessary gear and the preventive maintenance to keep it ready for heavy duty use at any time. We have backup provisions for power, technology and tools.
  • Our communication works. Okay, it never works perfectly, but we have phone trees, updated contact lists for email, social media and phone access, bridge lines for conference calls, protocols for briefings, and computer files for shared information and resources as the story continues. We minimize ignorance, confusion and duplication.
  • We’re cross-trained and talent-deep. We’re not in a hole because a key player or craftsperson isn’t available. Even our bench is brilliant — and can step in with confidence and competence. We can cover all the bases.
  • We have an investigative and analytical mindset. We assume that everyone will cover the “what.” We’ll get that — and automatically dig into the “why?,” “what the hell?,” “what’s the bigger picture?,” and “what next?” That’s not the exclusive role of people with “investigative” in their titles; it’s expected of all of us on the team.
  • We play on all possible platforms. We understand that people expect the news to come to them, wherever they are, however they prefer to consume it. We do our best to deliver — with quality.
  • The whole building knows the drill. When breaking news demands all hands on deck, people from other departments (from sales to sports to marketing to maintenance) take the default position: “How can I help?” We gratefully tap their talent and plug them into our plans.
  • We know what we stand for. We know that breaking news is fraught with land mines. We know how to navigate them. Because we talk about values in our everyday coverage, the stress of spot news won’t make us stupid.
  • We take care of each other. Our leaders focus on the needs of the next shift, the next day, the next week. They don’t let staffers run on empty, and don’t hesitate to encourage (even order, if need be) exhausted or traumatized teammates to stand down or accept help.
  • We never forget we’re covering human beings, not statistics; featuring their stories, not our selfies; chasing truth, not thrills. We’re documenting history.

And when the story becomes history, we think about how to do things better next time.

 

 

 

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WSJ’s Baker: ‘We generally avoid reporters breaking news on Twitter’

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Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Gerard Baker spoke at City University, London, Monday, and Journal social media editor Sarah Marshall took notes. Baker went through a list of things the Journal is doing that he thinks other news orgs should do, including being “genuinely independent”: “You cannot become dependent on the companies on which you are reporting,” Marshall reports he said. “We need to be mindful of journalistic ethics and standards.”

During a Q&A someone asked whether social media is “just marketing.” No, but Marshall reports Baker said, “We generally avoid reporters breaking news on Twitter. We generally break to paying subscribers.”

Last November CNBC found that only about 16 percent of Twitter users frequently use the service to get breaking news. But 44 percent use it for breaking news at least some of the time.

James daSilva points out that the Journal recently broke really big news on Twitter:

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This July 20, 2012 file photo shows police outside of a Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo. after a shooting during the showing of a movie. Police and fire officials failed to tell each other when and where rescuers were needed following the Aurora theater shootings, according to reports obtained by the Denver Post. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

Learning from prize-winning journalism: how to cover a breaking news story

In Poynter’s e-book, “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism,” we highlight and examine 10 award-winning works from 2013 through interviews with their creators.

These works are inspiring. They’re also instructive. Starting with the “secrets” shared with us by their creators, we’ve extracted some great lessons about how to learn to do better journalism, and paired them with questions to ask in your own newsroom.

In this first installment, we explore lessons learned from The Denver Post’s coverage of the Aurora theater shootings, which earned the newsroom recognition for its work, winning the ASNE distinguished writing award for deadline news reporting, the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News and The Scripps Howard Award for Breaking News. The Post also received positive feedback from the community, which pleased Post’s News Director Kevin Dale even more.

In “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism,” Dale examines the factors that contributed to the Post’s multiplatform coverage of a news story that broke shortly after 1 a.m., when only one person — the night digital producer — was left in the newsroom.

In Dale’s interview with Poynter affiliate faculty member Chip Scanlan, he shared some helpful lessons for covering breaking news:

Aim for accuracy

In breaking news stories, information develops rapidly, and credible sources are even more critical to understanding the true story. The Post didn’t publish a tweet or post until someone in the newsroom confirmed it.

“We knew we would be the source that people in Denver and around the world would turn to for accurate information,” Dale said. The lesson: keep your standards high even in a news frenzy when you see other organizations reporting information that hasn’t been verified.

Ask: what standards do you have for vetting information? How do you ensure the information you distribute is credible?

Use social media to listen and report

The Post dedicated a team to monitoring social media in the wake of the shooting. But it also used social media in three ways: to get information to the public, build stories and find sources. The newsroom posted entries to social media and compiled reporter and photographer tweets of verified facts. Reporters used Twitter and Facebook to find people who were in the theater. That let the Post obtain material, including raw phone video taken by people running from the theater after the shooting.

Ask: how could you more effectively use social media to listen for news and story ideas? How could you find (and vet) sources online (e.g. Facebook’s Open Graph search tool)?

Seek to understand developing narrative, craft strategy to deliver it

The Post’s coverage reflected a remarkable marriage of old and new media.

When the news broke, Dale knew it would be more than 24 hours before anything would be printed in the paper. But he immediately sent reporters and photographers to the scene, organized planning sessions and prioritized story assignments to publish digitally.

Most breaking news situations have several moving parts. Faced with this, the Post decided to prioritize creating a profile of alleged shooter James Holmes. Several reporters collaborated to create a complex and thorough story that took advantage of the strengths of both new and old media. They posted verified facts as online snippets throughout the day, then crafted a long-form narrative for print that put those details into better context.

Ask: what’s the most important content from a breaking news situation? How can you put your best resources to the most effective use? How do you decide on the best publishing vehicle?

Have a process, practice it often before breaking news happens

Faced with the question of whether or not to name the shooter, Dale and his team used previous experiences and discussions to guide their decision-making process. That process, coupled with social media and digital training, has helped the newsroom refine a “full-court strategy” that it put into motion for many major stories throughout the year.

“Plans can be written and put in a drawer and forgotten,” Dale warned. “I’m a fan of practicing solid breaking news, multiplatform journalism every single day. If that is the daily mission, the staff can respond to any story.”

Ask: what processes do you have in place for ethical decision-making on deadline and assembling resources to cover breaking news stories on multiple platforms?

Related: A victim’s mother asks journalists not to name suspect | Denver Post covers yet another shooting, ‘and the whole newsroom gets it’ | The story behind a compelling investigation into how Aurora shooter got his ammo

Resources and Training: Resources for Covering Gun Violence | Telling Smarter Stories about Gun Issues | Ethics and Credibility of Breaking News Online Read more

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Web app Relay makes multimedia reporting presentable during breaking news

With Relay, a new platform for live blogging in all its forms, Randy Abramson hopes he has solved a problem for news organizations in need of a central, well-designed hub for multimedia in breaking-news situations.

Abramson is director of audio/video for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. government-backed broadcasting organizations. His background includes stints at Newsweek.com and the Star-Ledger.

In his current, more strategic role, Abramson has been able to step back and evaluate how news organizations overall cover breaking news. He said coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Washington Navy Yard shootings convinced him that news organizations are well-prepared for news gathering in terms of staffing levels and reporting tools. But the trouble, he said, is that the presentation is so often lacking, especially on tablets and smartphones. Read more

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Reporter at Arapahoe: ‘I have to hug every student I interview, I can’t help it’

Among the members of the media reporting via Twitter from the scene of Friday’s shooting at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, Denver Post reporter Ryan Parker’s tweets stood out. He posted photos, news and on occasion wrote about what it’s like to cover an event like this.

 

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Journalists under attack: Pros offer safety advice

Look at this page on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ website and feel a pain in your gut. The site documents the 45 journalists who have been killed on the job worldwide this year. Most were covering human rights, politics and/or crime when they died.

If you think the only journalists who face danger on the job are those working in Syria or Egypt, you’re wrong. Last week, WDAZ reporter Adam Ladwig was attacked by three people while covering a fire. Last month, a woman attacked a WUSA9 crew. A CBS2/KCAL9 reporter and photojournalist were attacked while covering the Zimmerman verdict protests in July. In August, Poynter.org told you about the San Francisco area attacks on news crews. In a six-week period, thieves attacked journalists six times, targeting cameras, computers and tripods and taking gear at gunpoint in at least one case. In 2011, journalists across the country said they were attacked by both crowds and police while covering the “Occupy” protests.

I turned to seasoned reporters and photojournalists and to the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma for advice on how to stay safe and still get your job done. (Their answers have been edited for clarity and length.)

I asked my questions of:

What advice do you have about how to stay safe and still get the job done?

French

Lynn French, KPNX-TV Phoenix: Even though it feels a little “Mother may I?”, I always let the assignment desk or someone in my department know where I am going and when I should be back. It sounds simple, but journalists are independent by nature and have to fight the urge to just run out the door and hope for the best. No matter where I am going, I have my phone on me and location services turned on so if worst came to worst the newsroom could track my phone for evidence. If I am going into a tense situation, especially a door knock, I will call someone at the station to stay on the phone with me and I will tuck my phone somewhere where they can hear me (Arizona is a one-party state). And they know the exact address I am at so if things turn bad they can call the police and I can concentrate on getting to safety.

Shapiro

Bruce Shapiro, Dart Center for Trauma & Journalism: Even local journalists need to be aware of a potentially hostile environment, and pay attention both to the vulnerabilities we share with other citizens and the special risks which may be involved in our work. Anyone should worry, for instance, about being alone on a dark street. On the other hand, a journalist may also need to worry about being mistaken for law enforcement or some other unwanted presence, may be knocking on doors or taking photos in a community that has felt badly treated by media in the past, or may be displaying technology that makes us a target.

Adkins

Richard Adkins, WRAL-TV Raleigh: Knowledge is more than power — knowledge is armor. Know your surroundings and your way around. In the rush to the scene of  breaking news, pay attention to how you got there. What was the road/intersection where you parked your vehicle? Remember the street names. If you need to call 911 on your cell, could you give your exact location? I’m amazed at how often a reporter turns to me and asks, “Where are we?” If I’m working with a reporter at an active scene, the first thing I do is give the reporter my wireless microphone and turn it on — that way while I’m shooting video I can keep track of the reporter, who may go knocking on doors or talking with gathering crowds. This not only helps with safety, but also lets me come running if the reporter finds a great interview.

Pitts

Byron Pitts, ABC News: Pack the best first-aid kit possible. Get certified in basic first aid and CPR. I always carry a bandana, flashlights, local map and contact numbers. I also have a get-out-of jail card — either a note or phone number from the most important person in that part of the world I know. A colleague asked me once, “How much blood are you bringing?” There are places in the world where that is a legitimate question. Read, read, read. And always pray, pray, pray. But at the end of the day none of that may be enough — sometimes the best reporting is not going and telling the story another way.

What are the key things to never do and always do?

French: The No. 1 thing to never do is play the “Don’t you know who I am?” card. I have watched reporters do this time and time again in heated situations and not once has the other party stepped back and said, “Oh, I love your newscast, by all means proceed.” The desperation behind their motives is far greater than the stature you believe your organization has in the community. Something I learned from wildfire training is to always have an escape route. I try to stay close to my vehicle or have a place to flee to where someone can call for help. I am always looking for security cameras on buildings and ATMs, so that if something is going to happen, at least it is caught on someone else’s camera. And even though it is a competitive environment, when it comes to some situations there’s safety in numbers.

Pitts: The “ugly American” thing never works. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind to all you meet.

Adkins: Probably the most important advice I can give is for people to speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell the assignment desk when you have concerns for your safety — especially if you are working alone. The desk may give you an address that’s just a street with numbers to them, but you may know it’s an area with issues. Speak up — tell them that’s not a safe area. In the field, get out if you feel threatened — don’t wait for the situation to escalate. Always have an escape plan.

French: I just try to stay calm and aware, which is much tougher to do than it sounds. If someone asks why I’m there shooting video — especially if they have an edge of contention about them — I’m honest but don’t give any details other than the headline of the story. A little perceived ignorance can go a long way toward keeping the situation calm. If someone prods for more details on the story and it’s not apparent how they are attached to it, I’m apt to shrug my shoulders and say, “I was just told to get some shots of this building, I think it’s for tonight’s newscast. Do you know what goes on here that might help me understand why I’m here?” If someone asks me how much my gear is worth, again I play ignorant: “This stuff? It’s pretty old. It’s like cars — the value decreases really fast. We’re really the last ones using this old format.”

If you are working alone, does that change things?

Adkins: I often work alone. A while back I was shooting video along Oregon Inlet. I stepped wrong and one leg went into a hole up to my waist while the other leg went 90 degrees out to my left, a gymnastic move I had never practiced. I was stuck, couldn’t free myself and could feel blood running down my leg. Luckily a couple of guys fishing nearby saw me and came to help. While I was being stitched up at the local Urgent Care, I knew that from now on someone needed to keep tabs on me while I was out. The assignment desk is too busy, so we enabled my phone for my wife to keep up with me via GPS. I also text her where I am and where I’m going. If too long passes without her hearing from me she will call and check on me.

French: Working alone absolutely changes things. Other than your camera, there are no witnesses who have your back. When I am working alone, I roll tape on every interaction and whenever my Spidey sense tingles. While nothing may come of the interaction in the moment, it has helped me prove my conduct was proper when someone has called the news director after the fact to say I was trespassing or being unprofessional. If a situation feels bad, I trust my gut and treat it as a dangerous situation. That may include not advancing into the scene as fast as I normally would, calling the desk to alert them that my safety is in question, or finding an alternative way to cover the story.

What do you wish your reporter/photojournalist partner would or would not do to lower the temperature out there?

Pitts: My checklist: Get the latest security intel from the government, local law enforcement, private security and any reliable source on the ground. Make sure I’m aware of local customs, weapon systems and the proper threat assessment. What’s the biggest threat: kidnapping, murder, violence, intimidation, robbery? I make sure I pack the proper clothes to fit in or not fit in. I make sure I’m in the best physical shape I can possibly be in. In many parts of the world size matters — if you look like someone not to be fooled with people will usually leave you alone. Have an exit strategy. I usually travel with a team, and here are the rules: Let someone in the home office know your schedule, then stay on schedule. We travel most often in daylight. We know in advance (as best we can) who must get paid on the trip — local drivers, interpreters, etc. Avoid negotiating prices on the ground and never flash money. We make all safety decisions as a group, and unanimous votes are the only ones that count. If anyone votes to stop, we stop — no questions asked.

Adkins: Door knocks are one of the most difficult things we do and most of us don’t want to be there. Recently I was with a reporter on a door knock, and when we got back to the car he turned to me and thanked me for being beside him on the stoop. He said, “You’re the only photog I work with that gets out of the car on these things.” I told him it’s a safety-in-numbers thing so I always go to the door with the reporter. Some reporters like to sit in the car while I may be out shooting B-roll. In some situations, I’ll ask them to get out of the car with me. Again, safety in numbers — and while my eye is glued to the viewfinder, their eyes can be open to our surroundings.

French: Read the situation and consider how the camera will change the dynamic. Cameras are a lot like alcohol, they intensify people’s personalities and intentions. If people are happy, they become happier around the camera; if they are angry, they become angrier at the camera and the person using it. Everyone is trying to hit a deadline, but remembering the people we are covering have to live with a situation long after our deadline has passed will hopefully help us be more respectful of the emotional temperature. Finally, keep an eye on each other and help if needed. Yes, we are competitors but at the end of the day our goal is the same.

Do newsrooms train journalists to handle this sort of thing? What would such training include?

Shapiro: No — and they should. Assessing threats and staying safe — whether that means being smart about physical threats, understanding basic cybersecurity, being able to deliver routine first aid, or basic awareness of psychological trauma — is part of the training news organizations should provide. This isn’t just something for correspondents covering exotic conflicts. Even local journalists may contend with mass shootings, disasters, civil unrest, or simply dangerous streets, disturbed individuals, traumatic assignments or the risk of mugging, sexual assault or being targeted because of our work. It’s an occupational health risk, just like repetitive strain injury. If a news company would invest in ergonomic chairs, why not invest in a safety briefing, first-aid course or trauma-awareness session?

Pitts: The first time I went to Afghanistan for CBS News, Dan Rather called me into his office. “Here are the rules of the road,” he said. “Don’t eat the meat, don’t drink the water and never look at the women.” He was smiling when he said it. And then he turned serious: “Who are the people you love most in the world? Think about it. Go back to your office and write each of them a letter. Seal the letters and leave them with me if you like. Because when you go someplace like Afghanistan, you might not come home.” Then he just sat there and let the idea sink in. Finally he added: “If you can accept that reality, then go with God. If not, we will send someone else.” Period. End of discussion. I share that story only to say this: In our business and in these times there are no guarantees. Read more

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Breaking News app’s alerts can shout all day or stay out of your way

Behind the buzz-buzz of a smartphone alert could come anything: News of the death of Osama bin Laden, or a “we have to talk” text, or an email with that job offer, finally.

Or it could be news of a Miley Cyrus twerk, or a “remember to buy milk” text, or an email with an offer to come to Best Buy to purchase a Surface tablet.

Push notifications — full of promise but too often a drag — make for the most intriguing feature of the new Breaking News app for iOS. Although it emphasizes customization, the free app still seems aimed to add to the overwhelming number of chimes emitted from my phone each day.

But there could be a way to make it work for those like me who feel overwhelmed by our phones. And the hope, according to Breaking News general manager Cory Bergman, is that users will adapt the app for any number of use cases.

Here’s how the new feature works: choose from among thousands of topics to fill a total of five alert slots. When breaking news relating to those topics happens — and deemed worthy of inclusion in Breaking News’ stream of 200 to 300 updates in the app per day — you’ll get a notification on your device.

The Breaking News app isn’t out to trick you into assenting to dozens of push notifications per day. This friendly warning appears if you’re about to alert a topic with a high volume of daily updates.

My first few days with the app were rough. I quickly learned that although I have some interest in health care reform, I wasn’t prepared for the deluge of daily alerts on that topic. The app kindly notifies you when you’re about to sign up for a topic with a high volume of updates, and Obamacare averages 40 per day. That might be overkill even for the president, if he had an iPhone (the Android version will be out soon, Bergman said.

By contrast, Breaking News posts an update on the Chicago Bears just once every 58 days. That hardly seems like enough to be useful, especially since most hardcore fans will have other trusted sources alerting them to injuries or scores. Short of the Bears winning the Super Bowl — ha! — I’m unlikely to get any game results from the Breaking News app.

I asked Bergman via phone what makes the perfect alert topic. His response: It’s up to you, but some of the topics that have performed well in the two weeks since the new app was released include specific cities and countries. That makes sense not only for the city and country you live in, but for the city and country you’re from, too.

My hometown is small enough that I certainly would appreciate being alerted right away if anything important enough happens there that’s worthy of Breaking News’ attention. So Columbus, Ind., gets added to my list. By that same logic, so does my alma mater, Northwestern University.

For my particular use case, I’m watching Twitter too often throughout the day to need any breaking news pushed to my phone. And for those too busy on the job to check their phones with regularity, it seems unnecessary to sign up for too many alerts — although, Bergman noted, it can be handy to see a quick rundown of news you missed right on your lock screen when you do finally get a chance to look.

In the app’s previous iteration, Bergman said, his team saw how useful push notifications were in getting users to engage. There’s clearly a demand for editor-selected alerts, which average between three and eight per day and can be turned off, but Bergman said Breaking News is aware of an upper threshold at which alerts become annoying and spammy.

“We’re not that concerned about driving people into the app,” he said, adding that alerts are designed to be consumed on their own. “Clearly that helps us from a revenue perspective over time, but we really want this to be as valuable a tool from the user’s perspective as we can make it.”

Three of the alert topics Bergman said in a blog post that he uses — Seattle, media and football — account for an average of 14 alerts per day. That’s more noise and interruption than I’d want to add to my day, but that’s the beauty of the Breaking News app’s customization.

“We’ve got you covered on the big stories out there,” Bergman said. “And the rest is up to you.”

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Passengers evacuate the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday Nov. 1, 2013, in Los Angeles. Shots were fired at Los Angeles International Airport, prompting authorities to evacuate a terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Breaking News: Resources for covering shootings

Today’s shooting at the Los Angeles airport is another reminder that covering breaking news can be fraught with opportunities to get it wrong.

A fake tweet picked up by media outlets in the heat of the shooting coverage is an example.

Here is a list of resources for covering shootings and, once the rush is over, some training suggestions to consider that can help newsrooms develop the best practices for shooting stories and breaking news in general:

Resources

Training

Poynter’s media ethicist Kelly McBride added the following tips:

  • Stay away from anonymous sources.
  • Attribute all your information because if it turns out to be wrong, people will be mad at your source, not you. For example, use the names provided in police reports and attribute the information to them. Add more context if you think viewers need it.
  • Be very cautious if you listen to police scanners.

Poynter’s broadcast expert Al Tompkins said he used Geofeedia, a tool that searches social media based on location, as the story unfolded. Using it, he was able to read tweets and Tumblr posts from people at Terminal 3 of LAX. (NewsU has an upcoming tutorial on Geofeedia.)

Tompkins first saw reports that the shooter might be a Transportation Security Administration employee on the Los Angeles Times’ live blog. (The report remained unconfirmed as of 4 p.m. ET.)

In previous stories, Poynter has written about errors that have occurred in the coverage of the Navy Yard shooting, Boston Marathon bombings and Sandy Hook shootings. Craig Silverman’s Regret the Error column also sheds light on how to issue corrections, especially for breaking news. These can be helpful in understanding mistakes that can happen in covering breaking news. Read more

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This is my story about the breaking news errors that just happened

As a reporter covering media mistakes, I’ll start with a scene-setting look at a recent breaking news event.

Confusion reigns. Journalists rush and compete to gather the latest information.

Large news organizations flood the zone. Live blogs kickoff. Scanners get fired up. Geofeedia and other tools are focused on the location and what people are saying, sharing. Officials are swamped with phone calls. People on Facebook are swamped with interview and information requests. Journalists with sources press them for information, anything.

And then, the errors. Maybe it’s a misidentification of a suspect, or a victim, or a location. Maybe people got the fundamental facts wrong. Who’s dead? How many shooters are there? An iconic building/business is flooded? Oops.

This photo seems to show what’s going on. No, wait, it’s fakeOr old.

So, now you know what went wrong.

It was probably more than one news outlet that went awry. Some big ones, and some small ones, too. These initial errors were spread over social media, and were aggregated by other sites. Messy, right?

This happens all the time, I’ll tell you. It’s been happening since before there were people called journalists, but certainly since we’ve been around.

Yes, the pace of errors and how they spread is different today, I say. This requires more planning ahead of time to create “conditions for accuracy,” and it requires restraint in the moment from leaders and on-the-ground people.

Now I’m going to emphasize that the information people got wrong was at the time and in the end largely inconsequential. It would have come out anyway, or it was never important.

I make the argument that the calculation was off: this wasn’t worth rushing out. It didn’t need to be published. Why value the speed so much when that image, or name or tidbit of information isn’t going to save lives or change understanding in this moment?

I might also make a point about the lack of multiple sources used, or the fact that basic verification practices were ignored in order to attain fleeting glory. And then that glory turned to shame.

Some newsrooms, however, did a good job! I’ll point to some of those examples, as a way of trying to show the glory in restraint and verification. I’ll avoid using examples where people seem to be gloating, though. Nobody likes a show off.

Now, this is the part where I analyze the corrections offered by the people who made mistakes. They were probably inadequate. Maybe that’s because they didn’t issue a correction at all, or because the correction was vague, or because they blamed someone else for what they chose to report/reshare, or because the corrections weren’t offered on the same platforms where the error occurred.

Here, I have some advice about how to deal with this stuff.

I conclude by emphasizing the importance of preparation, of establishing values and practices ahead of time in order to guide your work when news breaks and confusion reigns.

I will try to find a new way of expressing the old saw that nobody remembers who got it first, but they do remember who got it wrong.

I’ll try to appeal to people’s self interest by saying that it’s not worth it –  not worth the embarrassment for you and your colleagues, not worth whatever brief win or scoop you might get, not worth polluting an information stream already filled with noise, rumors and falsehoods.

I remind you that it’s our job to cut through those things by providing clarity and value.

You probably nod your head, and share some of the links from this piece — or the piece itself — with colleagues, and on social media.

You might also go looking for this link again when all of this repeats itself in a few days, weeks or months.

And this will be my post when it does.

This post was inspired by a recent conversation with Jay Rosen.

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The media’s mistakes in covering Navy Yard shooting

Breaking news is never pretty — anyone who hungers for facts and speed during a story as fluid as Monday’s shootings in Washington, D.C., is asking for a lot. Still, there were some notable screwups today, like…

Identifying suspect without official confirmation
NBC and CBS retracted reports identifying the shooter as Rollie Chance. By that time, online detectives had found Chance’s LinkedIn page and a photo that purports to be him.

 

NBC News was more careful later: Read more

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