Brother’s plea shows up online failings crows the Sydney Morning Herald over social media’s role in misidentifying the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
The problem for the SMH is that social media wasn’t responsible for the story. As the Washington Post reported, CNN and various other outlets misidentified the shooter as his brother who had to take to social media to correct the record.
For the mainstream media, the Sandy Hook shooting was not their finest hour; not only did they misidentify Ryan Lanza as the shooter, but they mistakenly reported his mother had worked at the school. When the Daily Mail does a better analysis of the story than many outlets, you know something is wrong.
Something is certainly wrong at Fairfax as the cutting of resources results in the Sydney Morning Herald being three days behind the story and factually wrong on key aspects – not to mention adding a smug headline that is embarrassingly incorrect.
While the writer of the SMH article should be held to account for sloppy work and poor research, the real responsibility for this embarrassment lies with the paper’s editors and management who should be ensuring what appears under the masthead is accurate and reliable.
Both The Age and Sydney Morning Herald are essential to the fabric of their respective cities, this story is a good example of the important role the SMH has in shining light on the arcane dealings of the city’s business community. Fairfax can, and should, do far better than a poor, badly researched story on social media.
Ironically, the mis-identification story quotes media academic Julie Posetti as saying “anyone with an internet connection could now contribute to and comment on the breaking news cycle without going through the filters of the traditional media.”