Back in the good old days (let me hitch up my pants to chin level and go on about walking to school in the snow barefoot before I get to the point) when I aspired to be a journalist, we learned things like the W5 (who, what, where, when, why... and that pesky how), the importance of fact checking, and your best friend the editor.
Reporters were taught to be just that: someone that reported the news. There were no commentaries, or slant, no discernible bias, and stories got “aired” only after each and every fact was checked, the full story was known and all participants had been questioned. All sources were revealed and reported, blah, blah, you get the picture.
Now, the media is in such a rush to be the first, they don’t even care if they have no clue as to what went on, they’ll splash raw, live feed on the air (sometimes getting too much news, as in the case of one disgruntled person committing suicide during a particularly gruesome close up helicopter shot), and in other cases... getting EVERYTHING wrong... but they don’t care, they were first.
Case in point of why editors are essential to the life blood of serious reporting comes from the WBALTV Web site.
In case you missed it, as the point is subtle... here is the sentence in question:
“When officers asked him to put his hands up, he began fumbling near his waste.”
Um... EUUUWWW!!! Oh heck yeah, I’d shoot him too if he was fumbling near his waste, I mean come on, you know what’s next, he’s gonna start throwing his waste at them or something. Was he hiding a gun in his waste? That’s a pretty strange place for a gun and all, not to mention the fact that this man is sitting in a car near his waste, what about the upholstery?
By the way, I also invite you to watch the video, whose graphic announces “Street Explosion, 3 injured”. Poor John Sherman (Hi John... yes, I’ve met him, he’s a very good reporter) its unfortunate that his reporting is marred by morons typing up Web site transcripts and running the graphics at the news station.