Ever changing stories may be Clue to why media is failing
The story listed below is a primary example why media may filing to perform the one and only job it has, to inform the public. When a story first hit, we tend to assume that it will be filled with facts so that we, who read these articles and then form our own opinions for the water cooler conversation, could do so and not look like a complete and utter fool. We read the article, compose our own ideas about the cause and effect then use these to exchange with our co-workers or family members. We only wish to sound as informed as we see ourselves to be but are often left completely holding the bag because of the unprofessional styling of those expected to report the news. We begin with a solid base of why we think things happened as they did only to read another take on that same story and find out more information that was not in the first one. This new information tends to sway our first thought but in order to change directions with those thoughts, you must first be willing to be wrong and many of us are not. Which may just make the statement of “if you use all you know to make a decision about something then you are right and no new information received after your decision could ever make it wrong because it was not something you knew then”, seem so perfect a fit.
Case-in-point this story by John Bacon for USA Today titled “Driver in Las Vegas Strip crash 'stressed' by security guards harassing her” It provides us with information not disclosed in the original reporting where it was implied that the driver were there in Las Vegas seeking to reconcile with the father of their child. Now we learn that the father was possibly in Houston, Texas which is not Las Vegas. So the immediate assumption of many that she was a despondent lover as the primary cause of her decision to plow people over on the sidewalk may not be entirely true. The article reports that “Lakeisha Holloway, 24, will be charged with murder with a deadly weapon and other charges related to the incident Sunday evening that left one person dead and dozens injured. District Attorney Steven Wolfson added that it was too early to determine whether the death penalty could or would be sought. Holloway lived in Oregon and had been in Las Vegas for about a week, apparently living in her 1996 Oldsmobile sedan and parking it at garages throughout the city, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said. After her arrest, Holloway "described a stressful period today where she was trying to rest/sleep inside her vehicle with her daughter but kept getting run off by security of the properties she stopped at," according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press. "She ended up on the Strip, 'a place she did not want to be,'" the report quotes her as saying. "She would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk but remembered a body bouncing off her windshield, breaking it." Holloway’s cousin, LaShay Hardaway, told the Los Angeles Times that Holloway was a hardworking fashion designer who doesn't suffer from any mental health issues as far as she knows. She said Holloway had gone to Las Vegas “to go and check out the economy, and some other things.” She also said Holloway “wasn’t homeless, she lived with my mom.” Hardaway said her cousin "makes a pretty good living." She said it was her understanding that Holloway had a hotel room in Las Vegas, contrary to officials’ remarks that she was living out of her car.
She said Holloway is a former fashion model who attended Portland Community College and had created her own fashion line. Oregon business records showed that she had started a women's clothing business in April called "Modeltype," the Times reported.
The point being, had those who wished to provide the public with all of the facts had done so, our water cooler quarterbacks would not be prancing around with egg on their faces right now and that organization that was so anxious to release the information so that they could be the first with breaking news, may now have just lost a few more readers who ae upset about being made to look bad.
Now no one expects media to get every story right because there will be things that will be learned later and some cases years later about a story but taking a few minutes to report all angles and not placing your own particular slant on a piece should be what journalism is all about. There is a major difference between reporting a slant as if it is fact and using the word “perhaps”. As an example, perhaps the driver ran out of money or never really had that much but made others think she did. Perhaps she did make contact with the babies’ father and he refused to have any further dealings with her and because now her little child was hungry with no expectations of finding a job quickly, she felt her only resort was to acquire notice by mowing over people on the sidewalk like she heard someone else did. We may never know the whole story for sure because perhaps not even the driver knows the true reason for her actions but at least we can safely assume with the few perhaps in this version, the conversations at the water coolers will not be about what they know but simply what they think.