In this age of instant information we’re all aware of how the media struggles to keep up and ‘beat the competition’ unfortunately this can become an irresponsible obsession.
This post was prompted by an observation, I was eating my breakfast and watching the news the other day when a ‘breaking story’ came on about a bus accident in Egypt.
‘At least 4 British holidaymakers have died of horrific injuries’ ‘everyone on the bus has sustained burns or severe injury of some type or another’. Later on the same program it came out that they didn’t actually know if any of the injured were actually British, they’d been in contact with the consulate office and she was doing the rounds of the local hospitals in search of information.
I am obviously paraphrasing here because my memory is imperfect and the actual words spoken escape me. But the thing is, these things were said before any real information was available – people watching this could have family on a package tour to Egypt, the newsreader actually said ‘we have no concrete information as of yet and there are no phone lines set up’ etc etc
So basically they were spreading rumours.
These ‘respected’ bearers of the worlds news were possibly worrying people in this country about loved ones abroad just so that they could ‘get in there first’ without having any facts to check or anything of real value to impart.
That’s like me saying ‘I heard that 2 Americans were stabbed in London yesterday, someone said one of them died, they’d only been here a few days’ then receiving an email for more information because they have a cousin visiting London on honeymoon who hasn’t been in touch and google wasn’t helping. Ok, maybe a little far fetched but still, you see my point surely?
If something horrific occurs then the responsible thing to do is to get the basic FACTS before telling the world. At the very least the breakfast team could have waited to see if the accident actually DID include Britains, how many it included and where concerned family members could go for information.
Instant news is not news unless it’s factual, if the facts aren’t there it’s simply rumour and hearsay and really belongs away from mainstream reporting.