Media blitz over mine tragedy unnecessary

Although the Sago mine tragedy happened more than two weeks ago and the victims of the incident have been laid to rest, the entire incident itself has yet to be buried.

The disaster that happened Jan. 2 has received non-stop news attention since the explosion trapped 13 men in a gas mine. The media blitz on this West Virginia town has been relentless and caused a great deal of pain for the people directly affected.

The coverage on 24-hour news networks featured reports from field reporters, mine experts and even brought CNN reporter Anderson Cooper out. Into the late hours, the continuous speculation about the miners’ likelihood of survival and dark footage of what looked to be machinery played over and over.

The recent burial of the 12 men who were killed should have brought an end to media coverage. Many media members asked grieving family members the dreaded question, “How do you feel?” That’s a question with an obvious answer. To cover a family’s moment of grief is one issue, but to cover it poorly can be damaging to a family’s well-being, not to mention a reporter’s reputation.

Those who were close to the victims of the tragedy were forced to deal with their loss in front of news cameras and in front of the world. No matter how much time has passed, death is still difficult to deal with. No one will ever truly be able to get over the tragedy until the news stations stop making a spectacle of the people coping with the loss of their loved ones.

Not only has the media kept the issue in newspapers and o the incident was handled.

Newspapers across the country took the news that 12 miners were alive and ran with it. Some were able to stop the presses to fix their mistake, but others continued to print a story that gave false hope. The nation went to sleep that night with faith that everything was going to work out. But with the morning came the truth.

Although officials, including the West Virginia governor, intend on discovering the source of the incorrect information, nothing can heal the damage that has been done. Internet news sources and 24-hour news networks emphasize the importance of being the first with the story and forget to check their facts.

Mistakes are always possible when handling a situation like this, when information is limited and reliable sources are scarce. But there are certain expectations that accompany being a journalist. Good journalists should report the truth and recognize that they have a duty to their audience. These are just some of the principles that get lost when speed is the name of the game.

The Washington Post of Jan. 17 explains that there will be an ongoing investigation into what exactly caused the explosion and if there were as many safety violations in the mine as the reports claim. There will be no easy end to this incident and the search for what actually happened will only prolong the media’s fascination with the Sago mine.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.