Following Boston Bombing, Some Houston Media Outlets Shirk Duties

Categories: Crime

Chron Twitter.jpg
Do some leg-work, guys.
After two bombs exploded at today's Boston Marathon -- with a third reportedly detonating at JFK Library minutes ago -- Houston's local media scene has attempted to gather the facts of the fast-breaking story. However, instead of doing the traditional legwork that, you know, delineates the media's responsibilities and activities, a handful of local news outlets have outsourced their work to the readership that is attempting to turn to them for a fuller perspective on the story. Over a half-dozen outlets across the state have decided that now was the right time to turn over their reportage to their readers and viewers, instead of, or at least in addition to, attempting to flesh out something carrying the dimensions of a terrorist attack.

It's one thing to crowd-source, guys. It's one thing to ask what your audience's "worst pet peeves!" or "favorite kind of ice cream!" or "all-time best Astrodome memories!" are. There's a time and place for all of that. But this -- with the dead, and the wounded, and the blood and viscera and video still abounding on each and every channel and feed across the nation -- this isn't the time. This is the time to do some damn work on your own.

Here are the more egregious examples across the state, with the lion's share coming from within Houston:

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14 comments
TCH13
TCH13 like.author.displayName 1 Like

The major TV news stations in Houston immediately sent crews to Boston, what did your outfit do?  Besides take cheap shots at the real newsrooms, I mean..

Just accept the sad fact that your rag only exists to make money by bringing together whores and the lonely losers they service, okay?  You are more of a bottom feeder than anybody else in town.

Ogden
Ogden

@TCH13 Accept the fact that local TV newsrooms can never effectively cover national or international news. They have a tough enough time just doing a competent job in this city. There's no need for them to fly to Boston. What insight can they bring that a national outlet can't. At least the Press knows its place in the news game: hyper local.

traceysteele.kc
traceysteele.kc

@Ogden Which is it, though? Casey's post took them to task for not doing more to cover this national story, and now you're contending that they shouldn't try to cover it at all because it's not "hyper local."  Of course, by trying to find Houstonians who were there, that's exactly what they were doing: attempting to localize a national story.  

If reporters were on the scene, they would do it by asking in person & hoping someone would recognize their station logo on their mic flags (in the cases of the TV stations), but since they don't staff the Boston Marathon and there's no teleportation option to get there instantaneously, Twitter seems like a reasonable way to try to find the local angle.

claiborne
claiborne

@traceysteele.kc @Ogden

Have at it local tv news! Get the scoop that someone from our locality has been injured. Wow! Describe the carnage that everyone in every news outlet describes, pretending it's local news. Then go to sleep, hibernate from the story and never investigate the possible causes or non-causes and just report the stuff they wire to you in the future. Great public service. And play the out-takes during ratings month like you were right there....shameless

traceysteele.kc
traceysteele.kc

@Ogden @traceysteele.kc I agree - there's way too much trivial coverage of trivial matters.  And the need to "localize" a story like that has always driven me crazy.  Worse is what one of my old assignment editors used to call the "COULD IT HAPPEN HERE" story.  It doesn't change the fact that for a lot of viewers, those are likely a lot more compelling than simply running the story off of the national feed.  And, to bring it back to the original post, sometimes there is a real local angle - what if the 8-year old had been from Sugar Land and you're late to learn because you didn't reach out on Twitter but your competitors did?  Best practices have to include using all the tools at your disposal and using them creatively, not just by formula.

Ogden
Ogden like.author.displayName 1 Like

@traceysteele.kc @Ogden My point is that local tv reportage is generally trivial, about trivial matters; it even manages to turn real news into trivial news. Here's the extent of the coverage:

"One of our very own from Katy was in Boston when the terrorist incident took place, and says that a lot of folks were running scared after hearing a loud boom, and seeing some smoke....some were, however, showing signs of courage by rushing to help.". Thanks TV news, good to know the local connection...otherwise I couldn't empathize.

Twittersucks-but
Twittersucks-but

Speaking of lazy -  somehow I'm not surprised that the Press (nothing personal, any Voice publication) put this in "TOP SEVEN" list form.

oldenburg
oldenburg

Tweet the details to Houston Chron? That's a very funny line on it's own.

I don't think it's a bad tool to generate news leads, as in human interest stories; however, knowing the news outlets here, they'd be too lazy to verify and authenticate claims, and you'd end up with something like the famous Chron  piece about great onion rings at Da Marco.

brentclanton
brentclanton like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sorry, Casey, but I've got to disagree with you on this one.
Twitter IS changing the way the news business operates--it's how news is being made (example: Arab Spring Uprising). If reporting the news accurately and rapidly (which should not be mutually-exclusive criteria) is predicated on the best information you can get from all sources, why would not casting a net into the Twittersphere be any different than making a bunch of phone calls?

whatevs
whatevs

I don't see anything wrong with it. I think it would be stupid to not use the tools at their disposal. Also, I think you mean resounding, not redounding, in that second paragraph.

HPboredathon
HPboredathon

As opposed to the era before tweets, when you used a phone?  And I'm guessing you also know how they didn't do that? This is just shit-stirring from boredom. Exactly how many reporters is the vaulted Houston Press sending? I'm guessing zero. 

miss_msry
miss_msry topcommenter

Well, they save so much money by not having reporters, who sometimes have sources in other cities, this is all that is left for them.

EB12
EB12 like.author.displayName 1 Like

terribly hypocritical post. how is using social media considered to not be doing leg work?

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