Unconfirmed Sources Confirmed

Verifying the Unverified Reports for Confirmation

The role of sources in a lightning fast news environment

With the whole aftermath of the passing of the King of Music (no, not ‘King of Pop’, King of Music mofo’s), on June 25, 2009, there will sure be a debate on the issue of ‘unconfirmed’ and ‘confirmed’ reports/sources. Like everyone, I started to receive txt msgs, Blackberry messages, tweets about Michael Jackson being hospitalized; so immediately I wanted validation, my first instinct was to tune to CNN. At CNN they had confirmed that he was hospitalized, in parallel, TMZ was reporting he had already passed via their ‘unconfirmed report’. The BBC, CBC, all rushed to change graphics to that he was ‘dead’, and they cited ‘unconfirmed reports’. However, CNN didn’t follow suit; they did mention the ‘unconfirmed report’, but they always followed up with “CNN has not confirmed”. At this time, BET was already dedicating 106 & Park to MJ, Fox News was saying he passed; all based on an ‘unconfirmed report’; now allegedly not from TMZ, but from the L.A. Times (where their site went down due to traffic).

Unconfirmed vs Confirmed

I deduce that an ‘unconfirmed report’ is little more than ‘hearsay’ or ‘gossip’; originating from someone that is not an ‘official’ or ‘professional’, or has not been validated by secondary and/or external sources. As like many, I was flipping news sources to see any variations and/or similarities in the coverage, then something happened that cemented why CNN can really stand by the moniker ‘The Most Trusted Name in News’, CNN’s I-hate-immigrant-workers Lou Dobbs personality chick had a live interview with the L.A. Coroner’s office that gave the official statement – confirming the ‘unconfirmed’. Of course, as we have all found out, the ‘unconfirmed report’ was accurate
This is important in an ultra fast paced news dimension of tweets, internet, and cable news where information travels lightning quick; one’s sources are paramount in lending validity. I am sure CNN felt mounting pressure to follow their cable news network peers, but doing so would of undermine their journalistic integrity – as I am sure for many news networks and websites, the goal was to get the information first versus getting the information that was correct & confirmed. I have a new respect for CNN as they have help protect the journalism community, as with life as it is with journalism, “A man is nothing without his word”, exchange the obvious with ‘news organization’ and ‘sources’.


.:: LiBM ::.

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