Reporting 101 - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Reporting 101

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BIRMINGHAM, AL -

It's so easy to watch news coverage from the sideline and criticize, but in the aftermath Monday's explosions in Boston there is some great and not-so-great reporting out there.

I respect and understand the difficult work of reporting on such a rapidly changing and complex story.    It is an added challenge to report for one of the 24-hour news channels.   There is pressure to report new information and added pressure to be the first to report it.   Being first is very cool, unless you're wrong.   There were several early reports today of an arrest in the Boston case and as I write these some of the big networks are having to backtrack on stories they reported  earlier.   I'm more than confidant that the reporters involved didn't report erroneous information casually or knowing the information was less than accurate.   One respected network reporter (and I respect him too) quoted "highly place government sources".  Turns out his highly place government sources were just plain wrong.

Here's the old guy coming out in me:  While this digital age we live in is exciting and information is flying around at warp speed I sometimes prefer the old days where reporters worked on a story all day and had it ready for air when Walter Cronkite came on at 5:30pm.   Nothing was reported until Cronkite reported it.   A better time in journalism, of course not, but the network guys rarely had to spend anytime apologizing for getting their facts wrong.   They'd been working on their story all day long.

We'll see if we can get it all right tonight at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 on Alabamas 13.  Thanks for watching.

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