Tuesday, September 15, 2009
CNN, the 24-hour news channel, is being excoriated for making a mistake late last week about a Coast Guard training exercise in the Potomac River. It seems that CNN let the basics of reporting slip. In its rush to report news, it failed to find out whether a police scanner report was right or not. CNN's failure is a reminder to everyone that no matter how interconnected we become, the basics of news reporting still apply. These can be summed in three words, "Accuracy. Accuracy. Accuracy." Nothing substitutes for getting facts right in the first place. The network is red-faced about its error -- and should be. PR practitioners should use CNN's error as an occasion for a bit of self-examination. How accurate have we been in reporting or have we allowed a "creative" use of facts to creep into news releases and story pitches?