Thursday, April 16, 2015

Just the Facts, Jack

I'm not usually one for a soapbox, but I'm getting very concerned about the state of journalism these days.

It wasn’t too long ago when accurate reporting was more important than how fast you could get the words, any words, slapped up for the maximum number of clicks. Apparently, that’s how “internet journalists” get paid now, on a per click basis. Not by story, editing not necessary, just slap it up and add a title that will make people click on the link - no matter how misleading and/or hurtful the lack of information or truth may be.

Here’s a recent example:

Twins Drown After Mother Lets Go of Stroller to Swat Bee

Makes you want to click on it, right? I did. Problem is, it’s sensationalism at best, and at worst? According to comments made by people who are local to where it happened, the truth isn’t even close. Yes, twin boys drowned. Yes, the mother let go of the stroller, and yes, it involved bees. As in plural, not singular.

From what I can gather by further digging, there's another version of the story. A mother was jogging on a popular jogging/walking path next to a canal when she was attacked by a swarm of killer bees. Not swatting one bee, but a full-on attack by a swarm of killer bees. She held onto that stroller until she was nearly passed out from stings, and even then managed to jump into the canal to try to save her 18 month old twins when she realized they’d rolled into the canal, strapped into the stroller. The canal was swelled and the current swift. 

Yet another version has all three victims going into the canal after being attacked by a swarm of bees, and the mother making it out and going for help.

I can’t imagine what that family is going through right now. I also can’t imagine how it feels if the commenters are giving the entire story, and the family sees: Twins Drown After Mother Lets Go of Stroller to Swat Bee.

I need to do my part and not click on these things anymore. I like having the instant blurb of news right away, but is it really worth it if the information is incomplete or incorrect? This is but one example, albeit a particularly disturbing one.

So what is the truth? Was there one bee? A swarm of killer bees? Something else entirely? I don’t know. But until any story is complete and verified, it should not be posted as news. If the commenters are correct, then the story “reported” is not only inaccurate and incomplete, it is very, very cruel.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you. Unless it's verified and as accurate as the writer can manage then it's gossip and nasty, nasty, nasty. Just like the 'garbage newspapers' at the grocery store check-out.