Opinion: I Want My News Right, Not "Right Now"

Opinion: I Want My News Right, Not "Right Now"
In the race for ratings, is the news getting its facts right?

Blame it on the Internet, or cable TV, but my news coverage has changed. And I don't like where it's heading.

I'm throwing things at the tv when the news is on more than at any other time. And while it used to be news stories that angered me, it's now those reporting the news that get my boxers in a bunch. With a gazillion outlets now racing to cover every possible angle of every breaking story, there seems to be more of an emphasis on reporting the news first instead of being right.

Admittedly, I'm one of those glued to the set anytime a major news story breaks. Viewers like me are probably part of the problem. But in their scramble to be the first to tell me what is happening, many media outlets seem to waive the age-old practice of confirming information before reporting it. The way we get some of our news has an unfair advantage over others. If Twitter is wrong about facts and details, it gets lost in the continuing stream of updates and opinions. But let CNN or Fox News screw up their report, and they'll hear about it in every form for days on end. Jon Stewart will run the footage, David Letterman will mock the reporter, and The Onion will have a satire posted within minutes.

Is it best to simply keep quiet and let the viewer draw their own conclusions from what they're seeing? I once listened to a Chicago anchor claim that an office building fire, confined to one floor, was "shaping up to be the biggest fire in the history of the city." Really? First of all, on what information are you basing that statement? And second, have you not heard of the Great Chicago Fire? It was a disaster of historical proportions before it was a soccer team, and you should probably know about it.

And by the way, I don't need your hyperbolic drawing of attention to the things you're reporting any more than I need unauthenticated facts.

Report what you know, not what you're concluding from the same video I'm being fed. If you have to wait for a press conference for official reports, then the rest of us will have to wait too.

And don't get me started on the ridiculous questions being asked at these press conferences. That needs to wait for another day.

P.S. Special shout out to the Miami Herald for making this post a little longer. After Tuesday's earthquake on the east coast, the Herald, in their attempt to sensationalize a story, tweeted that the Haitian EQ in 2010 was also a magnitude 5.9. Not even close. Thanks to @AlekBabel for alerting them that not only was Haiti struck by a very powerful 7.0, but that the Herald removed their erroneous tweet without issuing a correction. THAT, my friends, is irresponsible reporting.

Daniel Schell is the Social Media Captain at Eye on Chi. If you tweet to us, he's the one tweeting back. Follow him at @TheDanielSchell.

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  • The idea of being "right now" vs. "right" is one that's bothered me about the news more and more as I've gotten older, and was part of my motivation for starting this site. Glad we got your voice on board, and the great Dan Schell out from behind the scenes! Looking forward to more...

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