As news unfolds, viewers and readers may wonder why media choose to report before having all the facts. Seen coverage of Malaysian flight MH370?
Even more frustrating, it seems media too often have to correct previous reporting or report new information contradicting earlier reporting.
It all gets a little redundant, and sometimes it begins to sound like a broken record. The key, however, is realizing it is the media’s job to keep the public updated.
Would you rather know everything once a news event is over? Or would you rather know everything the media knows as they know it?
Certain issues are constantly evolving and constantly changing — and the way the media respond affects the way the public responds.
News isn’t stagnant, like a bucket of water left to sit and smell; it’s more like a river. It’s constantly moving.
It’s the media’s duty to the public to keep them constantly informed, even if the information isn’t complete. It’s a better method than allowing something to sit until it’s resolved and no amount of public outcry can change it.
Recall the case of Caylee Marie Anthony, a young child who went missing in the summer of 2008. Her remains were found in December of the same year.
The media were criticized for releasing too many incomplete updates and too often needing to clarify and correct information.
During the trial of the child’s mother, Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering Caylee, the media again were criticized for too much coverage and too many mistakes.
In that case, it was the media’s job to keep people informed, to let the public know what was going on as soon as they did.
But the media were right to let the public see how a trial unfolds.
Public scrutiny helps ensure trials are fair and justice is served.
The public is only able to be involved in a situation if they’re kept informed. The media are responsible for updating the public frequently so they can act and react accordingly.