Basic Tools and Knowledge Would Help Journalism

KOMONews.com Joins the Sloppy Journalism Club

On May 7, 2017 KOMONews.com (KOMO TV, Seattle) posted this short story.

Example of sloppy journalism by Seattle's KOMONews.com

Example of sloppy journalism by Seattle’s KOMONews.com

SEATTLE — A man was fatally wounded in an overnight shooting in White Center, Seattle police said.
Police say a fight broke out around 2 a.m., near E Madison Street and 17th Avenue.
Someone opened fire, and a man was found shot in the head, police say.
Detectives have not released any other details on what led up to the shooting, or information on a possible suspect.
This short story is full of errors to the point it does not make any sense, and the use of fundamental Internet tools would have prevented this terribly written story.

Problems with this Report

The report begins with a man shot in White Center, which is a city south of the Seattle City limits.

Then the report says a fight started at an intersection in Seattle (about 7 miles north of White Center).

Then someone was found shot in the head — in Seattle or in White Center? According to the text, a reader would believe the person was found in Seattle.

How is it then that he was shot in White Center, shot in Seattle, found in Seattle, and died in White Center?

None of this makes sense.

Basic use of mapping tools on the Internet would help any reporter determine the seven mile distance between the intersection and White Center, which should raise concerns for how the story is put together.

Additionally, Seattle Fire Department responds to medical issues, such as gun shots. Had the reporter taken the time to check the publicly available dispatch log, the reporter would have found that the time for the incident near E Madison St and 17th Ave was 12:49am, not 2:00am.

Seattle Fire Department Dispatch time for the incident.  Courtesy SeattleFire.US

Seattle Fire Department Dispatch time for the incident. Courtesy SeattleFire.US

Aside from the basic inaccuracies of geography and time, the story just does not make sense because of the different jurisdictions. If indeed the event involved different jurisdictions, how? The reporter has led the reader into confusion, not clarity.