By ALEXANDRA SILVER
In today’s day and age, word travels fast. When a breaking news story is unfolding, journalists want to be the first on the scene and the first to receive information, causing false information to be shared with the public.
We have seen this occur many times when it comes to stories such as the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut. At first, the public was told there were multiple shooters, but later one we were to find out there was only one man.
The Boston Marathon bombings pointed the finger at a young male student without having hard evidence that he was the bomber, but proceeded to alert the public of this man; showing a photo and giving out his name. These mistakes are monumental and create confusion.
This is the major issue journalists face today. The pressure to present valuable information first has caused many to listen to bystanders rather than go straight to the source.
Scott Pelley, CBS Evening News anchor, openly blames the Internet for this issue journalists face, due to the fact that social media sites have caused information to spread like wildfire anytime something is shared, tweeted, or posted. Pelley stated that “we are getting big stories wrong, over and over again.”
He believes that people have too much access to the wrong information and to information in general. Pelley believes that social media sites are simply geared towards gossip, although the public does not seem to understand that concept.
These statements are true, but this trend can be reversed. As long as this toxic gossip stays out of the established newsrooms, we can prevent gossip to spread and focus on getting information straight from the source.