Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Mining' the truth

The fallout from the' miner miscommunication' continues today...(or at least until the media get bored). Anyway, I think that while the blame seems to be placed mainly on the print media for the screw up, it is tougher to undo what's already been printed. Not to mention that they are competing with faster forms of global communications. Kelly McBride from the Poynter Institute thinks that there is another way that this could've been handled:

Mistakes made in print are cruel and harsh, much more so than mistakes made in pixels. In print, you usually can't take it back for at least 24 hours.

Readers would be even more forgiving if today's stories stated: 'Families and friends of the missing miners celebrated news of a miracle in the early morning hours Wednesday. The governor said the miners were alive. The friends and families said they were alive. Both said they were informed by sources within the rescue command center. The mining company had not made an official statement as of 1 a.m.'”

But many stories failed to provide that context. They simply reported that the miners were alive. The families were overjoyed and the choirs were singing hymns of praise. By the time our alarm clocks went off, it was all wrong. It could have been different.

Side note- It's creepy and somehow intrusive to have reporters reading text from notes left by the miners before dying. The messages were most likely meant for family and friends, not to be shared with the entire media-saturated world.

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