Medill panel analyzes Boston Marathon coverage

Prof. Josh Meyer analyzed the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings with Medill faculty and alumni in a Google Hangout Wednesday.

Source: Google+

Prof. Josh Meyer analyzed the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings with Medill faculty and alumni in a Google Hangout Wednesday.

Cat Zakrzewski, Campus Editor

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Medill faculty and alumni at the forefront of the Boston Marathon coverage discussed where the media failed and succeeded in covering the event and the subsequent search for the suspected bombers in a Google Hangout on Wednesday.

Margaret Sullivan (Medill ’80), public editor of The New York Times, and Jason Tuohey (Medill ’05), editor of BostonGlobe.com, joined Prof. Caryn Brooks and Prof. Josh Meyer for a discussion focused on how intense competition among news networks on social media led to factual errors.

“What stood out to me was the added layers of competition,” Brooks said.

Brooks explained that she saw ABC News publish incorrect information just seconds after CNN did. The journalists discussed the way the Associated Press and several other news outlets released reports that initially implicated the wrong man in the bombings based on information from a single source.

The New York Times was one of the few outlets that did not make that mistake. Sullivan wrote a column Sunday praising her organization for showing restraint and not making mistakes by rushing to publish information.

“The Times didn’t have it nailed down, so they just didn’t say it,” Sullivan said at the event. “It’s not like they did anything miraculous. It’s more what they didn’t do.”

Drawing on his 20 years of reporting experience at the Los Angeles Times, Meyer said such restraint is imperative.

“In my decade of covering terrorism, what I was most proud of wasn’t the stories I did right,” he said. “It was the stories I didn’t write.”

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