Thursday, July 19, 2007

Leaps of faith

Sometimes in the go-go world of television journalism, there’s no time for cogent thought before leaping toward a sweeping assumption. When tragedy strikes, it’s best to take these blind leaps before the competition does during the evening news, as the thinking goes in the broadcast world. And there’s no news organization that is better at taking these lunges than the 24-hour-a-day gurus at Capital New 9.

Such was the case Monday, when the “your-news-now” team leaped into action on a story about car safety devices on the market. Just two days earlier, an accident claimed the life of a 17-month-old infant in the city of Amsterdam. The infant was strapped in a car seat sitting in a driveway when a woman, not seeing the youth, ran over him with her car. Though tragic, city police ruled the incident accidental, as the driver couldn’t see the infant from the driver’s seat.

While the other news agencies were penning and filming the grief, an enterprising Mohawk Valley reporter from News 9 decided to confront the accident story at a car dealership. Wheeling down to the local Nissan dealer, he found all kinds of safety features designed to prevent such tragic accidents. Far fangled devices like rear view cameras where the driver can view what's behind him on a dashboard monitor. Or a sonar system that alerts the motorist when something is obstructing the rear.

Yes, these aftermarket items could save hundreds; even thousands of lives. Maybe even the maimed 17-month-old child in Amsterdam right?

Wrongo, junior. Amsterdam Police determined the child was struck while seated in front of the vehicle and not in the rear, as the News 9 reporter assumed. Essentially, this makes his story a glorified advertorial for the dealership, which should be sporting enough to buy the chap a beer or three for the free publicity. Even sadder is the fact his own news station initially reported this fact when the story broke Saturday.

The truth is accidents happen even with technology; sometimes they’re unavoidable. Just because someone with a bit too much money buys a system designed for a nuclear submarine doesn’t me that person will get a free ticket to elude fate.

However, taking blind leaps of faith into a news story is avoidable. In this case, the reporter from News 9 could have saved a bit of face had he taken a moment to get the facts straight before basing the premise of his story on an assumption.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone at the station had bothered to read the original story they would have known that backing up had NOTHING to do with the horrible accident.
TV news is a bag of moronic shit. Do yourself a favor and read a paper, it's the same stuff that'll be on the crapital news 9 two days later anyway, only without as many errors and stupid puns.

12:30 PM  

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