Sacrificing accuracy for speed in the news media and online


I’m sure there will be a lot of lessons out of the Asiana Airlines crash. One of those lessons/reminders for public information professionals should be that we should definitely try to be fast with our information, but not so fast that we publish incorrect information.

As you can see in the video above,  KTVU-TV out of Oakland, California, announced the names of the crew on the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed. The problem? The names were incorrect and offensive. To be fair, someone at KTVU did check with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), but, according the NTSB’s public apology, “a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.”

News media as well as public relations professionals and other public information officers are under tremendous pressure to deliver news and public information fast. But time and time again we are seeing stories of how moving so fast and not checking accuracy can do some real harm, especially in the age of Internet sharing including social media.

The Asiana Airlines KTVU-TV reporting incident is a good reminder to us all: Check your information and then double-check your information prior to releasing it.