Recently I noticed a couple of things about reporting, one of which is the inaccuracies that I have heard when listening carefully. Subtract from this all political commentary please although I think some of my friends might have thought that’s where I was going. Watching some coverage of the latest storm that dumped a couple of inches of April snow on the northeast, a local New York City weather expert was discussing the irony of the tulips blooming in the snow. Obviously the flowers she posted a photo of were not tulips but daffodils. This on its own is not an egregious error except for the fact that people on the news should check their stories before they blurt out things they think most people won’t even notice (in my opinion). Not worth stressing over I thought.
Then, on my drive into the city last weekend, I was listening to WNYC — New York public radio — do a piece on climate change. It was not actually reported by WNYC, rather it was a feature that they took from somewhere else. That I did not pay attention to, but I know my friend Kim will be disappointed that my reporting is not more accurate. The reporter was interviewing the mayor of Nome, Alaska, about the depth of the harbor and how it had changed over time. The basis for this was that enormous cruise ships could now enter the port and actually double the population of Nome. All this because of global warming of course. At the start of the interview, she said, “I must admit I have never even heard of Nome!” Stunned, I listened more carefully. The mayor very gracefully said, “Our slogan is There’s No Place Like Nome.” Regardless of the worth of the piece I was surprised that any reporter would admit not having heard of a city ANYWHERE much less in her own country. I am now on the lookout for other examples of careless reporting (still not counting political reporting and analysis for obvious reasons!). I’d love it if you would share your own examples!