Major news corporations are constantly competing against one another to be the first to have the fastest breaking news reports. This need to be the first has caused some reporters to become less accurate in their reporting.
Accuracy is the most important aspect to journalism. Without it, journalists can lose their credibility. The Reuter’s Handbook of Journalism said “accuracy is the heart of what we do. It is our job to get it first but it is above all our job to get it right.” But because of new social mediums, many reporters rush stories in order to be the first to post news reports on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
An example of media inaccuracies due to speed occurred in January 2010. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head at a public event. News reports were immediately posted that the congresswoman was shot and killed. The actual story being she was shot and critically injured, not killed.
Dr. Marcia Garcia, CEO of media consulting firm, Garcia Media, said “it’s not easy competing in this environment, but the importance of accuracy and fairness to good journalism is crucial. We can’t let our desire to be first destroy our need to be right.”
As readers, it begs the question, is it better to have news fast, or is it better for it to be accurate? Craig Silverman, editor of RegretTheError.com said “why not wait 15 minutes or even an hour if it means getting the entire story right, rather than just most of it?” Shouldn’t we be able to trust what the media is telling us, rather than questioning if the actual story will come out a day later?
Photos courtesy of google images.