Opinion

Staff Editorial 4/18: Accuracy falls short in media race

On Monday morning, more than 23,000 individuals began running the Boston Marathon eager to cross the finish line. But at 2:45 p.m., two bombs detonated at the final stretch of the race leaving 5,756 runners unable to finish.

As many were knocked to the ground by the force of explosives placed in pressure cookers and hidden in backpacks, first responders ran toward the bloodied streets as other runners tried to make sense of what had just happened.

Within minutes of the attack, the news flooded through national television, social media outlets, blogs and the radio. But, answers were not clear as to what had occurred because the investigation was – and still is – unfolding.

As news outlets report on tragic events, information changes rapidly. One minute, 50 people are injured. The next minute, it’s 80. Therefore, the media is changing its story constantly. This leads to misinformation and confusion.

We live in a society where people expect instantaneous news. Journalists rush to put out what they know rather than waiting to gather the facts and report the story fully. Even on Twitter, the public is retweeting and passing on information that may not be fact checked beforehand.

Flaws in the media go beyond fact-checking and being first, instead of being right. As news sites fight for ratings, manipulation becomes a factor into how media outlets report what they know.

When it was confirmed by the Boston Police Department that three people were killed – and one of them was an 8-year-old boy – that was the news peg media outlets promoted. They know what stories attract the most attention.

To boost ratings, they are forced to report what is most catchy. Emphasizing impactful parts of a story is understandable, but in a tragedy such as this, everything is meaningful.

Technology has created a faulty 24-hour news cycle that cannot be changed. Journalists are more worried about reporting pieces of the story. What is the point of a puzzle if pieces are missing?

Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” A tragic event should be reported as a full story, not as news flashes. Journalists should wait to report what is known, not change the information every five minutes. Leave that to Twitter.

As a media organization, we understand the pressures news outlets face when breaking news. However, once information is out there, it cannot be erased. Wait to be accurate. Wait to be precise. Wait to be right.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

April 17, 2013

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

UM dining services team earns national recognition for special event catering. ...

From hammerheads to great whites, University of Miami researcher Neil Hammerschlag is a dedicated sp ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.