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monsoon

The Charlotte Observer

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Anyone notice, who go the printed version of the paper, the Charlotte Observer's Frontpage Headline this morning says

Miners' families cry: They're alive!"

While this is correct, the Observer then goes on to make the mistake of saying:

In an extraordinary twist of fate, 12 miners caught in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive late Tuesday, more than 41 hours after the blast.

This turned out to be absolutely incorrect but the Charlotte Observer chose to report a rumor as news. The information, as it turns out, was never verified with those responsible but the Observer choose to report it as fact by reprinting an incorrect Associated Press article on the front page. It would seem that not everyone go this addition, but this is what was delivered in Huntersville.

We don't have journalism anymore. It has been replaced by tabloidism.

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I have given up on cable news for providing anything accurate after the debacle of reporting, actually cheerleading, that led up to Bush's war on Iraq.

However I would expect something better from the printed Observer. The excuse that other papers did it doesn't mean they get a free pass for very bad reporting.

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I believe the mayor of that town is the one who made the announcement to the families, and then that got out to the press. Its the fault of those in charge up there for the misinformation. The family members cheered at 11pm last night (or whenever it was) because of info they got from people in charge of the rescue, not because they woke up and read the paper this morning.

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The point is the story was never corroborated by the paper which used to be a requirement before reporting news such as this. They reported it as fact when they should have waited for the supporting evidence.

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Not really fair, metro. Even the Elkins, WVA paper admitted that they got the headline right because they're an afternoon paper. Lest we forget "DEWEY WINS!!"?

Did you read the entire article? They also said they never updated their website with the incorrect informatoin and that if they had been a morning paper they still would not have printed the story without official notification. Official notification that never came.

Not all papers reported that Dewey had won the election.

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Even NPR reported that "sources" said that there were 12 alive. While it was a regretable error, when the NY Times, LA Times, and San Francisco Examiner all reported the exact same story, the Charlotte Observer doesn't look so bad.

And look at it this way, at least its still a better news source than fair and balanced Fox News.

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No doubt that is the problem. The Observer has stooped to the same useless news reporting that one finds most anywhere else. It is indeed the fortunate place where the local paper has the integrity to hold off on publishing sensationalism until they verify if the story is correct or not. We apparently don't have that any more in Charlotte.

Inside the front cover of the paper it says: "The Observer strives to be accurate and fair. Those values are crucial to our relationship with readers......" It does go on to say they will correct their mistakes.

Apparently the Observer knew it had an unverified story. First they went out with an addition that correctly said a body had been found the fate of the rest were unknown. They then apparently got caught up in the frenzy at the Church and changed their story to the one posted above, without getting any verification. It's tabloidism at its best, not journalism.

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Did all Knight Ridder papers print that story? I think the 'local paper' is just the stories about local matters. The rest are either AP or Reuters reports or are national stories by other Knight Ridder local papers. From what I understand, a factual story about something that occurs in Charlotte will be written by someone at the Observer, and then other Knight Ridder papers pick it up for reuse.

I doubt it was a Charlotte local reporter actually in WV that generated the story?

Outside the implications of the journalism profession, I actually think it was a net positive for the reading public to get the 'They're Alive' story and then the 'They're actually dead' story. I think that happens often to individuals in these types of tragedies. Cconsidering how jaded most people are now to tragedies in the news, where they only tune in for results and rarely get emotionally involved, this was a bit of a 'woah, they're dead!?!'.

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As I mentioned above it was an associated press story they decided to run as the headline story in the observer. It's the local editors that decide the content of the local paper including what stories from AP, if any they wish to put into the Observer.

The Boston Globe at least added the phrase "reportedly" to their story.

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It could of been a "bandwagon" issue. Most major newspapers and tv stations reported that they "were" alive so most other media oulets (newspaper,tv,radio) followed suit without thinking, is this credible enough (metro made a good point about supporting evidence [i would say that means visual proof]). Hopefully lessons are learned from this and i do not think we will see reporting like this happening again for a while.

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http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/14084350.htm

It has been in the news for a while that Knight-Ridder was up for sale, but now they have a deal to be purchased by McClatchey. It is good to see that they are known for focusing on quality journalism. It will be interesting to see how this turns out for the Observer, and whether there will be any major changes in how they report stories.

It will also be interesting to see if they do any consolidation of the Observer and the News & Observer in Raleigh, such as for reporting on state government. I kind of doubt it will change much as far as the editorial stand, but considering News & Observer does not typically put favorable tune on transit and urbanization, hopefully that will not rub off here.

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I think the Observer has been in so nervous about their declining circulation and need for cost savings, they haven't as focused on quality journalism. Hopefully this will stabilize them, so that they can pursue quality of stories.

I'm sure everyone there was signing a huge relief that their sources were correct about the Hall of Fame. That would have been a major OOPS. :)

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