Case Study7.1: BBC vs. RTE

19 Mar

The BBC and the RTE publications used two very different approaches to covering the story on the deadly grenade attack.  RTE seemed to be playing it safe, only reporting the facts and not speculating about anything.  Its story was straight forward and did not include any witness testimony or outside reports.  It simply told what was known to be true at the time.  BBC’s report, however, included several eye-witness reports and outside media sources in its story.  Its account of the attack is much more detailed.  Although it lists sources for everything, there is no way to be sure that these people’s accounts of what happened are accurate.  I would instead rely on police reports or video footage to tell the story of what took place, rather than relying on eye-witnesses accounts, which could be inaccurate.

The main difference between the two publications is that BBC has a comment section where anyone can give his or her account of what took place during the attack.  BBC uses these comments as credible sources of information.  This opens the door for people to say anything, true or not.  BBC would have no way of knowing who is being truthful, and posting these comments without knowing for sure is a breach of journalism ethics, in my opinion.


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