Saturday, May 14, 2011

In the loop

Shawna Polivka

The days of 30-minute news reports are over. With dawn of the Twitter, people obtain news information faster than reporters can confirm facts and get it on TV. I heard about Osama bin Laden’s death on Twitter about 2 hours before President Obama announced it. The amount of news coverage on certain topics from celebrities to random murders to health pandemics boggles my minds sometimes. The same news is repeated over and over again by countless news stations.

The past

It never used to be that way. As stated in the article, “Et tu, ‘Nightline’?” by AJR, reporters and news stations used to go to bed when they ran out of new information to share. Even when John F. Kennedy was killed the article states, “At the end of the day, each of the three major networks signed off.” Can you even imagine CNN shutting down for the night and showing just infomericials or sitcoms? Can you imagine the Internet ceasing to post news for 8 hours?

The only thing I can think is, the United States had 24-hour news coverage of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton!!! A wedding!?

The present…

We heard news nonstop for days on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and then BAM!, we were bombarded constantly with news on the wedding. We forgot and only hear in passing that the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami is now over 15,019 people.

Does anyone fact check?

Reporters are fighting so hard to get the news on first that they aren’t taking the time to check the facts. In the article, “Myth-Making in New Orleans,” a reporter talks about how untrue facts about hundreds of murders in the Superdome were published without sources and any ounce of truth. Having been a fact checker, I don’t understand how these things get published. It is your job to make sure the reporter is telling the truth. These stories go through fact checkers and editors and are checked again. How do we have Jayson Blair situations again and again coming from professional news outlets?

I think reporters and news sources need to get back to their roots and reevaluate. Stories need to be fact checked before put in print or on the air. Some simple fact checking guidelines like asking, Says who?, Can I confirm the fact with the source?, Can I confirm the source?, would help keep the media away from the bad spotlight.

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