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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Prayers and deepest condolences for the miners and their families and friends, and sadly as well, this represents another warning for the rest of us:

"Many newspapers relied on the Associated Press for their stories."

- N.Y.Times News Service, on the blatant and harrowing mistake by most major news media sources incorrectly reporting that 12 miners were alive in the West Virginia coal mine, as published in The Connecticut Post, Jan. 5, 2006 but nowhere online, at least not yet.
And therein lies the rub.

My son came down to breakfast yesterday as I read the paper, saying he just heard on the radio that 12 miners perished. I showed him the newspaper headline "12 miners found alive" and said, "Well, one of them is wrong. Wouldn't be the first time."

At least The Atlanta-Journal Constitution
rushed out a special edition after 3 a.m. with an updated front-page story: "12 miners dead: erroneous report raised false hopes"
and at least USA Today issued an apology and at least The New York Times reported on some of the "stop-the-presses" successes and failures across the nation.
"For those people who already believed we weren't careful enough as journalists, this gives them more reason to believe that," said Al Tompkins, who teaches writing and ethics for journalists at the Poynter Institute.

"Press even further," he said. "Even when the governor says it, you say, ' how do you know that?'"
I'd really like to know: if The Atlanta-Journal Constitution can rush out a special edition at 3 a.m., why can't The Associated Press? It appears AP's last report that night was at 12:25 a.m. on Governor Joe Manchin's quote "They told us they have 12 alive."

I can't help but wonder what more it possibly will take for "many newspapers" to learn to do their own reporting or demand a better source?

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