Thursday, August 14, 2008

Media coverage of Bill Gwatney shooting

I spent much of yesterday afternoon reading coverage on the shooting of Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney. I can’t make sense of the senseless tragedy, and I’m very saddened by it.

Constantly updated, almost instant coverage of news events like this makes the reader/viewer feel somewhat part of the story, and I found myself really pulling for Gwatney to make it through, then heartbroken when news broke that he died, about four hours after the shooting.

I very rarely watch TV news, and in fact did not watch any coverage of yesterday’s events. However, I did find that the Web sites of TV news stations were much quicker to offer the latest information. That’s not surprising, but the fact that the state newspaper of Arkansas was constantly scooped by
CNN and other media outside the state is very bothersome. In fact, the newspaper’s online story this morning is much less detailed than the articles of many national publications, and it includes several typos and other mistakes.

It’s well known that newspapers around the country are in trouble, finding it difficult to compete in the internet age. While I don’t expect the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to be the first with the story, I do expect the local newspaper to be the most accurate and in-depth. So far, I’ve been disappointed, at least with the paper's online coverage.

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