Media Coverage of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 Accident in San Francisco

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 happened to be on my laptop scrolling through my Twitter client shortly after it occurred, and believe that I first saw it reported from the reputable @NYCAviation via @AirlineFlyer.

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.


  1. I just want to say I’ve become increasingly annoyed with some of the media coverage as well. From the self proclaimed experts offering little to no insight to the reporters constantly calling the runway 28 “L” (it’s pronounced “2-8-left”) Also some idiot meteorologist on Fox talking about microbursts (on a clear day, no less) with absolutely no mention of wake turbulence. What takes the cake was yesterday when I heard reports that the United 747 (that was short) was actually out on the runway and almost caused a collision.

  2. With no intention of being political, what do you expect from Fox. They consistently misquote and mis label news, as well as misrepresent. Wherever you lean politically, you deserve to get a correct version of the news. Mispronunciation 2-8 Left is pretty minor and just shows their reporter is not knowledgable about airlines, but indicating the UA 747 was on the runway, is bad reporting. Again I am nor surprised.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.