Conflicting news reports about who pulled the trigger in today's deadly elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn., once again has pundits and those in the business calling for greater restraint by reporters rushing to get the story out.
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik tweeted: @davidfolkenflik
A terrible day. All the more reason for journalists to be last, and right, than 1st to air/post/publish specifics w anon sources & be wrong.
I don't know of any journalist who would agree with Folkenflik's sentiments. But anyone who's covered breaking news -- especially a story of this magnitude -- knows how difficult it can be to get things right in the wake of an unfolding tragedy.
That, of course, doesn't excuse reckless reporting. There's never an excuse for that. But part of me empathizes with the reporters who are out there busting their humps to give the public the information they want -- and they want it 10 minutes ago. Such is the nature of today's instantaneous news cycle. And until that demand dies down, which it shows no signs of doing, the pressure will be on to deliver the news at lightning speed. Mistakes will be made. Which is why Folkenflik's and others' reminders to reporters to put accuracy over speed bear repeating.
As for television's plans to address the shooting ...
Deadline.com reports that ABC will anchor a one-hour edition of "World News With Diane Sawyer" at 5:30 p.m.. Sawyer and Chris Cuomo will anchor a special edition of "20/20" from 9 to 10 p.m. Cynthia McFadden will head a one-hour edition of "Nightline" from Newton. The "CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley" will expand to one hour tonight from 5:30 to 6:30, added Dateline.com. Pelley will anchor a primetime "CBS New Special REport" at 9. NBC's "Dateline" is schedule to air at 9, too.