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Journalists jump the gun in race to report Amanda Knox appeal verdict

October 4, 2011

Confusion: the verdict of Amanda Knox's appeal was wrongly reported numerous times

With breaking news coverage becoming ever-more fast-paced, news organisations across the world are going to desperately extreme lengths in order to remain at the forefront of the international media.

This evening marked one such media frenzy as journalists across the world waited with baited breath for the much-anticipated verdict of the Amanda Knox appeal in Perugia, Italy.

Between the language barrier and the confusing delivery of the judge’s verdict, media coverage of the appeal was thrown into utter chaos, particularly when a number of reputable news organisations – in their haste to be the very first to report the story – jumped the gun and reported the wrong verdict.

The Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Sun and Sky News – to name just a few – were all caught out when their hasty attempt to beat the masses lead to some embarrassing online slip-ups and sparked a wave of criticism from readers and journalists alike who expressed outrage and (at times) pure glee at the glaring mistakes.

Both the Sun and the Mail made embarrassing blunders on their websites

The Daily Mail in particular was on the receiving end of some extremely harsh criticism after a number of Twitter users accused them of not only reported incorrect facts, but also of fabricating details in order to pad out their story.

After quickly publishing “intimate details” of the Knox family reaction to the alleged failure of Amanda’s appeal, the Mail were not so speedy in removing the false story from their website and it wasn’t long before their error was being broadcast across the internet for all to see and lambast.

Indeed, the reaction to the scandalously inaccurate media coverage of the appeal gained as much interest on Twitter as the appeal itself, with numerous journalists taking to the social networking site to express their disappointment at the lack of care taken in reporting such a delicate matter.

As a newly-qualified journalist – in academic terms at least – it seems to me unbelievable that such seasoned news organisations could be so careless in their coverage of what is undoubtedly one of the year’s biggest news stories.

The Guardian were quick to report the wrong verdict

Accuracy is, surely, vital to any journalist and after the number of scandal-ridden stories relating to the reliability of UK journalists that have come to light recently, I should think that accuracy and reliability would be at the forefront of every journalist’s mind at this point in time.

It seems a great shame that the frenzied race to report has seemingly overtaken clear, careful and well-researched news reporting in today’s media. Let this serve as a lesson to us all – taking the extra second to publish an accurate and correct story is well-worth it, particularly if you are able to avoid the barrage of shame and criticism that will most certainly be rained down upon you should you neglect to fact-check!

While many news organisations came under fire however, one journalist stood out from the crowd, wowing viewers and fellow journalists alike with her poised and clear coverage of the verdict and its aftermath.

Sky News had a ready-prepared report which contained incorrect information

Reporting from outside the courtroom in Perugia, Luisa Baldini provided BBC viewers with an impeccable insight into the goings on throughout the appeal verdict, even breaking into Italian – while translating for the viewers at home – in order to conduct an impromptu interview with Sollecito’s lawyer.

Her report was highly commended across the Twittersphere this evening, with many journalists complimenting the broadcaster on her cool-headed approach to the frantic media chaos outside the Perugia courtroom.

For those of you not glued to your computers/televisions/smartphones/tablets at the time of the verdict, it would most certainly be worth catching up with the BBC’s coverage of the event.

Luisa Baldini's coverage of the appeal was highly commended by a number of journalists








2 Comments leave one →
  1. emma permalink
    October 4, 2011 12:51 am

    I was avidly watching luisa and checking my bbc news app in the run-up to the verdict. I thought Luisa did a superb job and cannot believe that such huge papers and news channels could get it so wrong! I’m sure there are a lot of people kicking themselves over at the mail and sky news, etc, and so they should!


  1. Guardian,Sun and Mail report wrong Knox verdict -

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