Media missteps?

April 24, 2013 

The anti-news crowd was out en force this past week.

They’re so negative, you see, they just cannot help themselves.

They troll social media sites, pushing their pessimistic propaganda on anyone in their vicinity.

This crowd looks for any misstep – real or perceived – from the news media, usually during large and complex stories.

If only they would put that energy for good, just think of what they could accomplish. Instead, this group looks for any small inconsistency or differing media report and uses that to bash the press.

Frankly, it’s tired and old. And it gets nothing done.

Perhaps it makes them feel better to rail on the press. If that’s true, it’s quite sad.

They give the “media” no breaks whatsoever, at any time. These so-called watchdogs love it when CNN’s John King gets a report wrong. They thrive when early facts in stories of momentous proportions – Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombing, even 9/11 – are hard to come by and sometimes change hour-by-hour.

Absolution, patience, those traits don’t find their way into the minds of the media bashers.

Instead, they spend time finding every irregularity of every news report and take it brave pages of Facebook and Twitter.

Enough already.

Perhaps some of our loss of relevance is our own fault. I am not so blinded by my own profession that I cannot see that.

But the media still invests heavily in its intellectual property and the personnel to procure those stories, report on them accurately and deliver the news on a daily, hourly, and now, an instantaneous basis.

When you drill all the way down to their core, reporters want the story to be right. They work and strive for that at every turn.

Whether it’s the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger disaster, 9/11, Sandy Hook or the Boston Marathon bombings, the responsibility on correctly reporting these stories, or any stories for that matter, is paramount to our industry.

In the rush to get it first, we have on occasion sacrificed getting it right. But those moments are rare.

Far more often than not, reporters and editors in all walks of journalism are using their training and expertise to make sure what appears on the printed page, the radio wave or on the TV screen is absolutely accurate.

There is no reason not to work to that end.

Our industry has a long and lasting tradition of informing the masses. We need to work internally to make sure we maintain our relevance and reliability to make that happen.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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