Reporting the News First is Not Most Important
As reports of today’s tragedy rapidly travel across the internet, we’re reminded once again of the importance of slow news, and how getting the facts right is far more important than getting the facts out.
We’ve said it before and we’ll do it again: Slow down the news. Misinformation taught us that during the Arizona Shootings, during the Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act, and when scandal gets hyped.
Dan Gillmor breaks it down here and here:
We all want to know what’s going on, and the bigger the calamity the more we want to know. Nothing is going to change that, and nothing should… But the advent of 1,440 minute news cycle (should we call it the 86,400 second news cycle?), which brings with it an insatiable appetite for something new to talk about, should literally give us pause. Again and again, we’ve seen that initial assumptions can be grossly untrustworthy.
We all know that the Texas shooter wasn’t killed during his rampage, as was first reported. That’s because the story was still fresh enough, and the saturation coverage was ongoing, when it emerged that he hadn’t been shot dead by law enforcement.
But we all “know” things that were subsequently found to be untrue, in part because journalists typically don’t report outcomes with the same passion and play that they report the initial news.
FJP: Today’s events continue to horrify us. The least we can do when we don’t know what to do is get our information right.
Image: Screenshot from Alissa Skelton’s Twitter.