Media Coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings

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While I’d rather not have to criticize the business I hope to find a career in someday, I am going to criticize it anyway, extensively.

April 15, 2013 was a day that Boston residents and the rest of the nation watched in horror, as the news of the Boston Marathon bombings flooded everyone’s television and social media. As horrible as this event was, and my thoughts go out to those who lost their lives and were injured by the explosions, it was also horribly covered by trusted news sources.

There were many mistakes, but according to the Huffington Post, specifically CNN reported that an arrest was made, when it hadn’t, and The New York Post pictured two men under a headline claiming they were connected to the bombings, when in fact, they were innocent.

In a time of crisis and panic, knowledge of the traumatic event can sometimes serve as a citizen’s only comfort. This is what a news station is meant to do, provide factual information that a person can rely on. Unfortunately, news sources did not serve that purpose during the Boston Marathon bombings.

People do make mistakes, we are only human. However, with a story this large, there needs to be more control on what information gets released. The post “Post-Industrial Journalism: Chapter 1″ references another mistake made by CNN: the incorrectly reported story about President Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act mandate. A specialist website that only covers the Supreme Court, correctly reported the mandate and was considered a better source than the internationally recognized CNN news.

This specialized website was able to correctly report the situation because it was created by two people, not involved in journalism politics seen today, according to the post “Post-Industrial Journalism: Chapter 1.” They were not under any deadlines, forcing the information to be pushed out, whether correct or not.

I personally blame this quick-response reporting on social media. Everyone is so worried about “who said it first,” when we should be concentrating on “what is actually said.” Twitter updates in seconds, Facebook posts are accessed on all mobile devices, and the news is starting to incorporate both.

It is true, social media is some-what beneficial. The easy access allows everyone to stay connected and updated. However, it does not give news reporters or stations enough time to develop a completely accurate story that their viewers and readers can trust. If everyone needs to be instantly updated, there will be mistakes through the media because there simply is not enough time to do the appropriate fact checking.

 

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