The July crash of an Asiana Airlines jet at San Francisco International Airport led to a notorious false report of the pilots' names. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The July crash of an Asiana Airlines jet at San Francisco International Airport led to a notorious false report of the pilots’ names. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

When a big news story happens, who and what should you believe about the unfolding events? It’s a question for everyone, whether you’re a news “consumer” or someone who’s responsible for reporting a breaking story, editing it, and making sense of it for your audience. If you’re a journalist, you have other questions, too: How do I know what I think I know about this story? How do I make sure I get this right? All those questions seem to come up again every time a news organization stumbles in the midst of a major story. (This week’s example: In the chaotic aftermath of the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard massacre, CBS and NBC misreported the name of the shooter.)

So here (by way of Eydar Peralta of NPR’s The Two-Way news blog) is something we all can use: a “Breaking News Consumers Handbook” from WNYC’s “On the Media” (here’s the handy, downloadable PDF version).

KQED Public Radio broadcasts this week’s “On the Media,” including a segment on the breaking news handbook, Sunday at 2 p.m. and midnight.

What you need to remember when you're listening to or watching breaking news, from NPR's "On the Media."
What you need to remember when you’re listening to or watching breaking news, from NPR’s “On the Media.”

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage and specializing in topics ranging from California water issues and the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several web startups. Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. Dan has shared in two SPJ Norcal "Excellence in Journalism" awards at KQED: in 2012, for reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California; and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the South Napa Earthquake. In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree. Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org Twitter: twitter.com/danbrekke Facebook: www.facebook.com/danbrekke LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/danbrekke

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