December 14, 2012 |
Like many fast-moving news events of the past, the mass shooting in Connecticut on Friday proved that speed can be the enemy of accuracy when it comes to news reporting. Many news organizations misreported the identity of the suspect in the elementary school killings, and at least three - Fox News, Huffington Post and Slate - posted the wrong man's Facebook page. “News outlets are torn between the pressure to be first and the obligation to be right, and 11 times out of 10 it's the pressure to be first that prevails,” said Marty Kaplan, a journalism professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. "And yet each subsequent news story that illustrates the danger of doing that fails to stop it, just as each successive shooting fails to raise the issue of gun control to the level of salience it needs to be. I think the sad truth is, we will never learn our lesson.” PHOTOS: Connecticut school shooting Many media outlets - including CNN, ABC, NBC, the Los Angeles Times and Fox News - initially cited law enforcement sources as identifying the man responsible for the shootings as Ryan Lanza, 24. The suspect was later identified by authorities as Adam Lanza, 20, whom many news outlets identified as Ryan's younger brother.