My last post focused on media misuse of homonyms during recent coverage of flooding near my home. I noticed that many of the reporters who handled those stories also seemed to have a problem with geography.
I’ll freely admit to being a map geek. When other toddlers were drawing pictures of giraffes and clowns, I was carefully delineating the borders of the lower 48. Every time our family took vacations, I was the one who had the map on his lap and pointed out where we needed to turn. Facebook may be a diversion for most people, but I get lost in Google Earth.
So I’m actually offended when someone entrusted with reporting the news is unable to describe their current location with any accuracy. I saw one story in which a TV reporter interchanged three local communities – Plainfield, Mooresville, and Brooklyn – as though they were one. I saw several other stories in which the dam that breached and contributed to the flooding appeared to be in multiple locations. There was even one newspaper story in which the same break appeared to be happening to two different dams simultaneously, one of which was moved a mile and a half to a different location.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I think the primary culprit is the rush to post stories online faster and faster. In the old days, nothing would have been put out for public consumption until it was reviewed and blessed by at least one editor and perhaps several. But I think some of the blame also has to go to reporters to whom accuracy seems to be a quaint but unnecessary concept. Sad.