As news of the Ottawa shooting broke on a slow Wednesday morning, all news outlets, including Canadian and American cable news organizations, went into alert mode. But there was a stark difference in the way in which the neighboring countries related the information to their viewers.
Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, cable news changed the way in which it relates coverage of breaking news. We all know the drill, the alert logos and dramatic music, the scrolling updates at the bottom of the screen, and now new social media updates are all part of what Americans watch in the extremely competitive cable business.
The Ottawa shootings are what these organizations are in business for and whoever covers it best can earn big money for the station. So on Wednesday, they all did their thing covering the chaotic events in Canada.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) offered an excellent performance considering the chaos and confusion that ensued during and after the Ottawa shootings. Led by veteran host Peter Mansbridge, the CBC team related the little facts that were available at the time in a calm, not-dramatic way.
One of the hardest things to do for a news organization during a breaking news event, such as the Ottawa shooting, is get the facts right because of the fluid situation. Without panicking and confusing their viewers, Mansbridge related what they knew and in the process taught a lesson to their American peers.
At about 11:00 a.m. while the situation with the Ottawa shooting was still fluid, Mansbridge calmly reported.
“And so, the situation is, as we say, tense and unclear. And it’s on days like this — we keep reminding you of this and it’s important — it’s on days like this, where a story takes a number of different pathways, a number of changes occur, and often rumors start in a situation like this. We try to keep them out of our coverage, but when they come, sometimes from official sources, like members of Parliament, you tend to give them some credence. But you carefully weigh it with what we’re also witnessing. It’s clear that the situation is not over. It is clear the police are in an intense standby situation and continue to be on the lookout, and until somebody blows the all-clear on this we will continue to stay on top of it and watch as the events unfold.”
What separated Mansbridge’s reporting from others is that he took the time to confirm the credibility of his information and explained that to his audience. He narrated the news about the Ottawa shooting as it happened, without adding personal opinion or speculation.
Nobody can blame news agencies for misreporting during events such as the Ottawa shooting. It is something most viewers understand and expect, in this age of social media and 24/7 news cycle, but the CBC showed that it can be done. Relating events as tragic as those that took place in Canada on Wednesday with professionalism clearly impressed many. Take a look at the comments posted on Twitter.
If you were in Canada during the Ottawa shootings, did you watch Peter Mansbridge’s reporting for the CBC?
[Image via The Inquisitr]