Saturday, January 7, 2006

More on the miners

Reputations tarnished!

News media invalidated!

The public crushed!

Such are the over-hyped reactions to the coverage bobbled involving this tragic story. I doubt any of them stick.

Everyone I know of (myself included) simply wanted to tell the story accurately. Newspapers fell between the cracks of deadline. TV coverage could simply update its stories; Web sites could replace their front page information.

As I wrote a few days ago, newspapers simply don't do this kind of story as well as other news media. That doesn't mean we cover them terribly; it means we have to scramble to make our product competitive. We have to deal with the limitations of a media that publishes once every 24 hours.

As long as we create newspapers that reflect daily events, situations like this will crop up. The situations may be rare, yes, but they will still appear. News happens. Things change. Paradigms shift (to throw in some jargon). We will struggle to stay up to date, and we will keep working.

If newspapers transform themselves to value considered storytelling more than the daily report, situations like this may trouble us less. We would refer readers to Web sites and other media that could report instantaneously.

But would this transformed product be a newspaper? Beats me. That's a question for another time, context and blog.

Ultimately, we do our best. Nothing I've read about mine coverage makes me think people acted in incompetent or vicious ways. Everyone tried to report the news. The news turned out to be wrong.

We correct ourselves and move on.