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The Blue & Gray Press | May 25, 2018

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Staff Editorial: News coverage of Boston bombing provides reflection on media

As aspiring professional journalists, it is hard for the editors of the Bullet to watch the media be scrutinized for their coverage of certain events. While this is true, it gives us a chance to learn from not only the mistakes of news corporations, but also what they do right.

Over the past two weeks, the news media covered the Massachusetts Marathon bombing and events in Boston, Mass. Some coverage included false reports of who committed the crime and of when the real suspects were caught. Some claims were retracted and fixed, while others were published and printed.

While the media made mistakes in the coverage of these events, they give student journalists a chance to learn from watching professional work in the ever-evolving media industry.

Facts must always be verified and putting out the right information is more important than getting a scoop first. Getting ahead of the story and making assumptions can have a horrible rippling effect, which is what happened with some of the coverage of the Boston bomb incident.

CNN told the world that one of the bombing suspects was arrested without fact checking, and, as a result, followers of the story were misled and consequences resulted

In today’s world, news breaks at a constant pace. Facts roll in fast on 24-hour news networks and on social media such as Twitter. However, journalists must remain skeptical until they are completely sure the information is correct. While Twitter can provide journalists with a continual flow of advancements on stories, authoritative sources, such as the FBI and Boston Police Department should always remain the primary sources.

News is a delicate thing and how it is expressed is even more so. It is important for journalists to recognize that getting the news right takes priority over anything else. The facts hold all of the power, not how early the story is told.

However, much of the news coverage of Boston was done very well. Most coverage was spot-on and gave viewers a constant stream of information, especially at the cusp of the event. News networks all over the U.S. provided information directly after it was confirmed.

Additionally, news during these events stood out as the prevailing source of information with the public.

By working with the FBI and exposing the suspects to the public through news networks and online news sites, it was only a matter of hours before the suspects were caught.

News will always be the most reliable source of information for the public, and people will continue to look to news outlets for this information. Breaking news is an everyday occurrence, but the reporting must remain true and sound.