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Boston: When the media gets it wrong

As journalists scrambled to cover the bombings, some reports hit embarrassing and even dangerous new lows.

Last Modified: 27 Apr 2013 15:46
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The twin bombs that turned the finish line of the Boston Marathon into a scene of devastation and carnage also sent shockwaves through the US media.

In the rush to fill the airwaves and column inches, claims about the identities and motivations of the bombers told us more about the mainstream media and its audience than the events on the ground in Boston.

As journalists scrambled to relay the least significant developments, coverage by outlets such as CNN, Fox News and the New York Post hit embarrassing and sometimes dangerous new lows.

In what way did the mainstream media, hungry for sales and ratings, struggle to appear on top of a story that was yet to take shape?

And with one of the suspects silent in death and another tight-lipped in custody, was it right for the media to fill the gap with speculation?

Answering these questions for the Listening Post’s News Divide this week are the columnist Michael Cohen; Steve Engelberg, managing editor of Propublica; Janine Jackson from FAIR; Sean Aday from George Washington University; and the writer and analyst Murtaza Hussain.

In our Newsbytes: Another journalist dies in Somalia bringing this year’s body count to four, China moves to ban all reference to foreign sources by domestic news outlets, and Bahrain deports UK journalists for focusing on anti-F1 protests rather than the race itself.

Our feature takes a look at the changing business of print journalism and the attempts of big name newspapers to make money from their online presence.

The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips takes a look at the paywall - Can the reading public be convinced to part with their online pennies for news that is available all over the internet?

As finally, we close the show with our Video of the Week. The name of the track is ‘Tuna Melt’ by the producers A-Trak and Tommy Trash and the video is not your average display of dominos. It's an imaginative explosion of colour and fun that has been watched more than half a million times already.

 
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Click here for more Listening Post.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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