Information in today’s technologically-minded society is immediate. This can be a curse and a blessing. Last Wednesday, all of you received a series of WiscAlerts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department regarding a gun that was fired on Langdon Street near the Memorial Union. In a breaking news situation such as this, students and community members immediately affected by this situation are going to want to know information immediately.
With media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, not to mention websites with the capability to denote breaking news in banners and pop-ups on webpages, the public has the capability to access that immediate information. This is a benefit to the public especially when determining the threat of a situation such as a possible gunman on campus. In last week’s incident, it was determined that there was only one shot fired, and the incident was a result of a robbery gone wrong. Police later identified the suspects. In this situation, immediate news is necessary and a benefit to society.
But as with all things good, there are drawbacks. In many breaking news situations where the public demands immediate information, the media can jump the gun and report inaccurate information because of the pressure to provide information. In the most recent shooting at the Navy Yard, the media at one point misreported the identity of the shooter. These incidents of inaccurate reporting have happened more than once in breaking news situations, and I think, are somewhat of a result of the immediate news cycle.
Did you think the WiscAlerts, Tweets from local newspapers and updated stories on media websites were accurate and informative during the incident last week on UW-Madison’s campus? Do you think media jeopardizes accuracy for immediate information?
Let me know what you think!