A necessary sacrifice: Confirm first, publish later
by İsmail Selim Eşsiz
ISTANBULJan 12, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by İsmail Selim Eşsiz
Jan 12, 2015 12:00 am
Today we mourn a heinous attack against the people at Charlie Hebdo and are saddened by the deaths of journalists and others. We condemn those responsible and wish this to be the last attack against journalists exercising their right to express.
During the morning of the attack I was with the Daily Sabah web team and a couple of things drew my attention when watching their coverage of the events. First of all I want to congratulate them because even though the story was still breaking and constantly developing at a rapid pace, they never abandoned to seek confirmation from several sources. This was especially evident when it came to the number of dead and wounded. During the morning many agencies around the world as well as French newspapers differed in their report on the number of victims, and those reporting based on their reports, especially Turkish channels always chose the highest number to broadcast. I am afraid this stems from a more basic desire toward the sensationalism of media. Doing this without a shred of consideration for the families of the victims or those who have loved ones working in or near the Charlie Hebdo offices, was rather ruthless. Because each time the number increased gave the families more reason to fear. Daily Sabah didn't follow down that road and sought confirmation every time a new scrap of information arrived. They didn't get as many hits as their counterparts who follow the "publish first, edit later" approach but they did it right and that is more than enough for me.
Another thing to point out is that Daily Sabah chose to avoid releasing the video of the terrorist wounding a cop and later killing him. Most media released the footage as soon as it was uploaded on the Internet. Also most of them didn't have the time or interest to blur the necessary parts and the video shocked the entire world. The Daily Sabah editorial board prefers not to release gory or violent videos and photography and in that decision I applaud them. Of course entire coverage of the events wasn't spotless but apart from some small mistakes it was quite competent.