Breaking News: When Speed Overshadows Accuracy

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This selfies was taken two hours before the first bomb went off.

April 15, 2013 “Lets go Red Sox, lets go!” I cheer over the third baseline at Fenway Park with my Dad and my best friend. It’s 2:00 p.m. and the stands are clearing out after the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. With the smell of Fenway Franks in the air and the sun shinning down I turn to my friend and say, “I can’t believe this is the first time you have ever been to a Red Sox game!” My dad interjects as we are walking out of the stadium, “You couldn’t have picked a better day to be in Boston.” Little did he know that in less than an hour two bombs would explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, only a few miles away from us.

Killing three people and injuring at least 264, the Boston Marathon bombing will haunt my memories for years to come. At first there was just confusion. Then there was chaos. After safely walking to my aunt’s apartment in Brookline we did what most people do in the face of a tragedy: we turned on the news.

After being locked up in my house for the duration of the two-day manhunt, John King of CNN reported that the Boston Marathon bomber had been arrested. Soon after, several other news organizations like The Associated Press, Fox News and The Boston Globe seemed to confirm this news, all reporting that the arrest had been made. We all thought that we were safe. But we weren’t.

In fact, it was not until April 19, two whole days later that the bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was actually captured and arrested. The bottom line: CNN got it wrong. It wasn’t just a typo or the misspelling of a name; public safety was put at risk due to this error. President Obama addressed the pressure to break news fast in light of this error, “In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions,” he said. He added, “But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right. That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts.”

Everything today is all about speed. What do we want? The news. When do we want it? Now. The advancement of technology has transformed the way we read and produce the news. What once was a daily routine of sitting down to read the newspaper every morning has become a constant connection to information. The popularity of smart phones has intensified the pressure to break news quickly.  Today, journalists are so focused on being the first to report the news that they often cut ethical corners to increase their speed.

Besides the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt mishap, another notable time when reporters got it wrong was in the case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. At 2:01 p.m. NPR’s newscaster Barbara Klein reported, “Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona has been shot and killed during a public event in Tucson, AZ.” At 2:12 p.m. NPR’s social media editor Andy Carvin tweeted that a gunman had killed Giffords. At 2:36 p.m. Carvin tweeted, “There are conflicting reports about whether she was killed.” By 3 p.m. NPR went back to reporting Giffords’ condition as unknown. Other news organizations such as CNN, Fox News and The New York Times reported on Giffords’ death citing NPR as their source.

Due to this error, people all around the country who follow NPR on Twitter had to deal with the loss of Congresswoman Giffords, when she was not even dead. In fact, Giffords made a miraculous recovery from the assassination attempt that left her with a severe brain injury. NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik tweeted, “What we’re seeing is the process of reporting breaking news, at times shakily, in real time”. He added, “Before cable & web, this would have played out far more out of sight. Doesn’t exempt journalists from having to report with great care.”

The pressure to break news in today’s highly digital world is crushing once credible news organizations. Even notable organizations such as CNN and NPR have made grave mistakes in the reporting of the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt and the assassination attempt of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, respectively. Yes, technology has unleashed access to more information than ever before, but reporters and viewers still need to be cautious of the validity of the information they receive.

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January 28 Republican Debate Through the Eyes of a Teenage Democrat

Tonight, while my three other roommates are getting ready to go to a party, I have decided to channel my inner Bridget Jones by staying in and watching the GOP Primary Debate. With my pint of Ben and Jerry’s and my most comfortable pajamas, I am prepared for whatever Fox News throws at me.

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So if you are looking for a serious, clear-cut political analysis of tonight’s GOP debate, you are in the wrong place. If you want to read about the GOP debate through the eyes of a teenage democrat, here you go:

Honestly, as a registered Democrat, I haven’t really been following the Republican candidates in their campaigns. When I found out that Donald Trump would not be part of the debate tonight I had mixed reactions. From a political standpoint, I think this Trump-less debate will allow me to get good sense of who the other candidates are and what they stand for. On the other hand, as much as I hate to admit it, a small part of me is disappointed that Trump will not be there to make his outrageous comments because sometimes they are really funny.giphy

So Who Won?

I am not going to choose a winner because I honestly do not think that this debate was beneficial for any candidate. If you ask me, every single one of these candidates showed weakness at the hand of the Fox News moderators. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if these candidates actually lost voters after this debate.

But if I had to choose, I would give the gold medal to moderator Megyn Kelly for asking tough follow up questions and never letting any candidate off the hook for flip-flopping on policy.

The Loser

To my surprise, I have found Trump a replacement, and his name is Ted Cruz. Cruz was hands down the loser of this debate because he could not keep his composure or give clear answers to anything.

Cruz started off the night with a somewhat awkward joke about Trump and it went downhill from there.

Cruz started to channel his inner Trump when it came to answering the tough questions and almost threw a tantrum when things weren’t going his way. He even threatened to walk off the stage at one point in the night.

And yet, no matter what these Republican candidates did or did not say, as the Fox News moderators called him, “the elephant not in the room”, Donald Trump still seems to triumph. Trump, who did not even participate in the debate tonight, is still leading the poles according to ABC News.

The 10 Best Journalists to Follow on Twitter

Although I have been on twitter for years now, I only recently started following journalists. Twitter can be a great place to get fast news and I am quickly starting to obsess over it.

Here is a list of the 10 best journalists to follow on twitter:

  1. @dianesawyer– Honestly, Diane Sawyer is one of my biggest role models. Growing up I remember constantly hearing her voice on the radio or tv. In her tweets, she advocates for the voices that need to be heard and I admire her for that.  Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 1.49.37 PM
  2. @camanpour– Christian Amanpour is the Chief International Correspondent for CNN. I like that she often incorporates pictures into her tweets because I am a very visual person.Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 2.08.31 PM.png
  3.  @maggieNYT – Maggie Haberman is a presidential campaign correspondent for NYTimes and a political analyst for CNN. I look to her for mostly political news.Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.26.45 PM
  4. @andersoncooper– Call me basic, but I absolutely love Anderson Cooper! I think he is one of the best tv journalists out there and I love watching his show.Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.31.57 PM
  5.  @jmartNYT– Another New York Times journalist- what can a say, I’m a fan of the Times. Jonathan Martin’s tweets are extremely relevant and his relaxed tone makes it fun to read.Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.42.02 PM
  6.  @BuzzFeedBen– Yes, that’s right, BuzzFeed. Ben Smith is the Editor-in-Chief for BuzzFeed and his tweets are all over the place, kind of like BuzzFeed itself, ranging from funny gifs to serious investigative pieces .Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.51.49 PM
  7.  @elisefoley– Elise is a Politics and immigration reporter for the Huffington Post. Her tweets are a range of serious articles and funny remarks about politicians, especially Donald Trump.Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 1.29.38 PM
  8.  @Peggynoonannyc– Peggy is a is a witty columnist for the Wall Street Journal as well as an author of several books about American politics. Her tweets are short and sweet and always leave me wanting to read more.Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 1.44.45 PM
  9. @GlobeMcGrory Brian McGrory is the editor of the Boston Globe. As a Georgetown student from Massachusetts, I read his tweets to find out what is going on in Boston and reminds me of home. Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 2.16.16 PM
  10. @ariannahuff– Arianna Huffington is yet another strong female role model on this list. Her tweets are not always news specific, but she writes many interesting pieces on heath and well-being.Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 2.06.32 PM