The Rush to Report

Friday, January 21, 2011


The 24-hour news cycle can lead journalists to sacrifice accuracy for speed. Dick Meyer, executive editor of NPR News, talks about their misreporting of Gabrielle Giffords' death, and says news organizations must prioritize accuracy over scooping their competitors.

For more on how the rush to report can backfire, check out our segment on CNN's wrong call back in 2012 about the Supreme Court's health care decision.

Comments [5]

Quentin Hammonds from Raleigh North Carolina

Whats going on in the world an 18 year old and 17 year old bringing guns to school. What happened to graduating and getting out of school to do something with your life. People im mean students forget why school is hear even if they don't like it or if they are tired of it. The violence needs to stop because theres no point for it. It will all ways lead to punishment. JAIL TIME. Nobody needs to blame anybody but the people who did the crime. It all sums up that something needs to changed or it will be worst next time you hear about a school shooting.

Jan. 25 2011 01:01 PM
raul from san francisco

NPR made a mistake and corrected that mistake.

Bob's questioning was hyperbolic (no surprise.)

NPR a great news organization run by HUMANS.

Be last but be right.

Jan. 24 2011 04:29 PM
Greg Slater

The easiest way to protect yourself is simply to GIVE YOUR SOURCES. Thus:

"There has been a shooting incident in Arizona. We have obtained an unconfirmed statement by Deputy Sheriff Homer Noodleman that Congressman Snort is dead. We are working to verify this statement."

It's that easy!

Why is this mistake, which was embararssing, but did not, and could not, effect anything, so much more scandalous than NPR and Scott Simon and OTM dutifully embracing and repeating lies about Iraq month after month in the run up to the illegal US attack on Iraq that resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, with their brains all over the streets of Baghdad, a nation in ruins, trilions of dollars lost, millions of refugees, four thousand American dead, etc, etc. In other words, this journalistic distortion, incompetence, and gutlessness actually cost many lives and enormous resources. The Giffords blunder cost nothing except embarrassment. But there was no contrition whatsoever for NPR's part in propagandizing and legitimizing the criminal attack on Iraq that actually had horrific consequences. Please explain.

Jan. 24 2011 04:52 AM
Aaron from Tempe, AZ

More on KJZZ:

The local programming director promised to dedicate more resources to investigative reporting. I believe he even said they were hiring reporters to do this. However, national NPR scooped KJZZ on the American Legislative Exchange Council's ties to state senator Russell Pearce and S.B. 1070.

Step it up, KJZZ! Do your job!

Jan. 23 2011 11:22 PM
Aaron from Tempe, AZ

I first heard the news of the Giffords shooting on our local NPR affiliate, KJZZ 91.5.

The first reports, as I remember, came from an AP report. KJZZ went back to its regular programming after the usual news run down at the top of the hour.

I stayed tuned for news. The information was slow in coming. KJZZ broke in to the usual Saturday morning program with scattered reports. After thirty minutes of repeated information, I switched to 92.3, a local news talk radio station. They were on top of the story with current updates. While KJZZ was reporting the suspect was at large, 92.3 was reporting that a suspect was in custody.

I believe the mistake was a result of KJZZ's inability to report local news. Time after time, KJZZ is just rips and reads AP reports or press releases (often with porr editing). They often read the same story in the morning as they did the previous evening.

KJZZ lacks the dedication and sources to report on local news. This is a serious failure for a public radio station in America's fifth largest city. KJZZ's purpose is not just to play NPR's national programming, such as Car Talk and the Dianne Riehm Show. It should provide a local voice to local news and issues. KJZZ fails to be an important voice for Arizona news and issues. I could get the same programming from NPR's website.

I don't know if this a problem for all NPR affiliates, but it is a serious and inexcusable problem in Arizona.

I would like KJZZ's news director and NPR's ombudsman to address this problem.

Jan. 23 2011 11:15 PM

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