It’s not too often that a small-market newspaper goes after another small-market media outlet, but that was what happened in Great Falls (MT) on July 2. So before this Viewpoint from the Great Falls Tribune Editorial Board is placed into the archives (and we have to pay to read it), I wanted to comment about it.
The Tribune Editorial Board was bothered that “one local media outlet” released the name of an accident victim before (they contend) all the relatives were notified. The Tribune was also miffed that that the same media outlet reported that an alleged beating victim from Great Falls had died in a hospital in Salt Lake City. The Tribune contends the beating victim was still alive at that time and even Tweeted on June 25:
Reports that the 2-yr-old who received massive head injuries died can’t be confirmed. More soon. For accurate info see gftrib.com
Ouch – “For accurate info see gftrib.com”
There are only about three media outlets in and around Great Falls (MT) that report the news regularly and use Twitter and Facebook. They are the Great Falls Tribune (a newspaper), KRTV (a CBS television affiliate), and KFBB (an ABC television affiliate). I have my suspicions about which media source the Tribune was referring to because I follow them all on Twitter (and two of the three follow me @TheWesternWord).
Oh…to be a fly on the wall during all this – but it must not be too bad as the local meteorologist from one TV station is still on the back of the Tribune!
I do agree with the Tribune that “being sensitive to the feelings of shocked and grieving fellow humans…” is important for news organizations to follow. It seems to me the larger the media organizations are the less sensitive they become.
I don’t know if one of the other two media outlets in this small town actually crossed the ethical line or if the Tribune was just upset that they were beaten to the news.
To me the local newspaper seems to be the stoic uncle who has done things the same way for years, who wears a tie to work each day, belongs to the country club and hates change – whereas the local TV stations are the fun and frolicking cousins you love to hang out with who show up for work wearing flip-flops and shorts and seem to enjoy their jobs just a little more – and they are always looking for new and better methods to provide their services. Each has their own audiences. Each must be correct in their reporting of the news, too.
Being one that is little older (don’t call me grandpa) I know very few people my age who have a Twitter account – but that is where I get most of my news and sports. Most of the local media outlets don’t tweet the news and sports enough for me. I have been on Twitter since September 2008. I do start my day with a fresh copy of the Great Falls Tribune – but that is after I check Twitter and after reading about 30-40 Google Alerts I have set up to provide me with information.
It’s not too often that we see a feud between smaller market media outlets get into the public – and it’s kind of amazing it does not happen more often as there’s only so much of the audience to draw from.
The good “news” is that, as consumers, we get to reap the benefits from this (mostly) friendly competition.