As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, Asiana Airlines flight 214 from Seoul to San Francisco had a major accident upon landing today.
First, please know that my healing thoughts go out to all of those affected.
I immediately created a #SFO column and within moments, it lit up with first-hand reports and images from passengers at the airport. And then more of the regular folks I follow began tweeting similar findings.
Turning on the TV yielded nothing for quite some time, far longer than I thought it would take. And when it did, the speculation began.
Some of the reporting was mind-numbingly erroneous, while some of it was matter-of-fact accurate. Twitter proved to be the timeliest outlet to monitor and I tried to only retweet findings that I found useful. But Twitter, too, wasn’t without speculation and hearsay, of course.
All of this reminded me of an interview Tom Brokaw gave on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (John Oliver, actually, sitting in for Jon), which focused on how coverage of major breaking events has changed over time.
It’s worth a watch, particularly starting at about 4:34 where Tom Brokaw says the temptation of mainstream media is to simply tell you what you’re seeing without adding context. Adding that context is certainly hard to do, in my opinion, since news these days is (typically) lightning fast. But several news anchors did “talk faster than they were thinking.”
John Oliver goes on to say that journalism has become gossip, in many cases, due to outlets such as Twitter. “How much of it holds up?” he asks.
Anyway, as I’ve just watched the latest press briefing at SFO that contradicts so much of what I saw on Twitter, my pledge is to attempt to only tweet and post factual and useful items related to this accident, and anything in the future.
Again, my sincerest healing thoughts go out to everyone affected by this horrible accident.