For editors: When incorrect information was published, what was the call-back process? How did you ensure your audience was informed?
During the night of the manhunt, I sifted through Twitter reports from both our reporters on the scene and residents of the Watertown community. Each retweet or addition to the live blog was a judgment call. Like Teresa said, transparency and attribution were key.
We don't delete erroneous posts -- which is what I see some news organizations doing. That feels wrong to us -- trying to pretend it didn't happen. We just correct the record with the correct information.
We sent out corrections as quickly as we could and tried to respond directly to any "influential" people who may have retweeted, in hopes that they also would RT a correction. And like WCVB, we also do not delete items that need to be corrected. We leave a paper trail.
While Adrienne handled corrections on social media, I corrected misinformation by writing directly into the liveblog.
Agreed -- I think that was especially important on the day when there were erroneous reports about a person who was arrested and being brought to Moakley federal courthouse -- it was v. important to be super-clear who you were attributing that information to (i.e. other news organizations citing "federal sources") and when they turned out to be true, it was important to get correction tweets up right away
At one point one of our colleagues tweeted out information that should have been attributed to CNN that turned out to be incorrect - and was also not attributed to CNN. So we quickly sent a correction but still got an awful lot of unhappy feedback from our followers. But we left the original tweet.
And I remember that Adrienne was very quick on that -- e-mailing reporters who had RTed incorrect Tweets, asking them to write new tweets with corrections
We got a lot of pressure through phone calls and emails from viewers and online users wanting to know why we weren't reporting things that were on Twitter.
We got the same, Neil. Even inside the newsroom. So we tried to explain why we weren't reporting without sounding sanctimonious
Katie Cloutier, here on the chat, and her colleague Andrew Tran did a terrific job of vetting tweets from ordinary people and posting relevant and important information that we pulled into the liveblog.
And this is all happening at warp speed. The problem I think is that when so many people retweet something, it begins to resemble a fact.
Yes! The echo chamber can be dangerous.
Belinda responded to you all:
Especially as reporters and social media editors from outlets across the country begin weighing in by live-tweeting police scanners and what they're seeing on TV. So often people were texting/tweeting me and asking questions about things that were blatantly false - but that the journalism community on Twitter had been reporting as fact
On a different but similar vein to the one we were just discussing: On publishing content that is considered graphic.
When the bombings first happened, there were very graphic photos that came out immediately. I did see some organizations take them down very quickly – within seconds.
For reporters: Did you file every photo you took?
For editors: Where do you draw the line in publication? Do you give people any kind of a warning that they'll see graphic content?
We initially published the full version of Charles Krupa's AP photo of Jeff Bauman being pushed in the wheelchair by Carlos Arrendondo. We then took it down.
The first photo we used with a graphic warning was a long shot of people huddled around a bloody figure. The next was an overview of a bloody pavement. We were cautious but we could be, at a distance. We always publish a warning.
Even more dangerous, though, were the pictures surfacing that were faked.
We followed the decisions made by the Globe's photo editors. There were some bloody photos, yes, but no bodies. We did not issue warnings about graphic content first because we didn't publish anything that was shocking.
My experience on Thursday night (Watertown) is more relevant to this question than my marathon day experience . For much of the time, my Twitter feed was my filing system. Right after the shootout, I was able to get pretty solid photos of a man who had been taken into custody by police. He was escorted -- handcuffed -- away from the shootout by a dozen heavily armed officers, and put in the back of an ambulance. I was able to get photos that clearly showed his face, and emailed them into my editors back in the newsroom. We never ran with those photos and I never tweeted any of them, in part because we had no idea who this guy was or if he was one of the suspects. I'm glad we made that call - because that guy ended up being a local resident who had been taken into custody mistakenly.
We did have an interesting situation with a photo of the Richards, the family that lost an 8-year-old son and whose daughter lost a leg. The mother had head injuries and the father was hurt as well.
Teresa, are you referring to the photo that shows the family at the finish line before the bombing, with the suspect behind them?
The photo showed the family, including Martin, the little boy, watching the Marathon. The younger bomber had just dropped his backpack right beside the family and was walking away. You could see the family, the boy, the backpack, and the bomber all in one shot.
What did you decide to do? We wrestled with that, as well.
A blog published the photo, and the family asked news organizations to please not publish it because it was too painful. We did not publish it.
Before the request, however, we had cropped the family out of the photo and ran the portion that showed the backpack and the bomber walking away.
We blurred out their faces and published the photo. We felt that the photo was so newsworthy that it needed to be published in some fashion.
I think it's really interesting how Wesley used Twitter as his filing system (see his post below).
A question from Miles Kenyon, a reader and my colleague.
Miles, it was also very emotional for those of us in the newsroom. But you just compartmentalize it and do what you are trained to do. You deal with the emotions later.
You know, in the moment, your first thought is: "I have a job to do," and that kind of establishes some distance between your feelings and the immensity of what just happened.
As soon as I got to the scene, my thoughts were literally: "OK, let's talk to this person. Now, let's Tweet that. Now I need to call my editor. Now I need to walk to this intersection and take a picture. Now I need to send this quote."
But there would be moments when I'd be talking to a person who had been a block away from the explosions running the race, or who were still looking for their relatives, and when you ask them about how they were feeling, they would just, like, dissolve into tears. And in those moments, it's hard to stay cold and distant -- I would be welling up too, and give them a hug and ask if I could help them in any way.
It was chaos in Watertown. I've always said that I am wayyyy too much of a wimp to ever be a war correspondent. Watertown proved that. The police and federal agents were storming in with their weapons drawn and screaming about how they thought there were IEDs or could be snipers. I was horrified. For awhile they had us turn of our phones out of fear that the bombers may have had phone-activated bombs. Spent most of that time huddled, about a block away from the shootout, with a handful of local residents also trapped
In some ways, it made the reporting easier. I was trapped, the residents were trapped - so we went through the experience together. They trusted me and gave me great interviews
Miles, in the newsroom you're so busy that you don't have time to be emotional. But I'll be honest: I am still haunted by a photo of one of the victims, Krystle Campbell, lying on the ground, face turned to the camera, her blue eyes wide open, while a nurse/doctor leaned over her, fingers pressed against her neck, futilely trying to find a pulse. I'll never forget that photo.
Martine, Wesley, Neil, Teresa: How did you decompress afterward?
One month after the bombing I went to Utah ... to the open spaces of the national parks and it cleared my mind and refreshed my spirit.
I got home that night and sat in my car for about 90 minutes, called my parents, though I found it was difficult to talk about what had happened. I found it really hard to fall asleep that night, and ended up writing down some of my thoughts on that day, and about the Marathon in general -- not for publication or anything (though I think I put it on Facebook) but just to crystallize why I felt so angry and betrayed.
That week was too hectic for me to do anything except work. That was part of my coping process -- not allowing myself to completely process things in real time. The following week was a little rough - but then things got crazy at work again. Between the bombings (and fallout following), Senate race, Mayor's Race, Whitey Bulger trial, Aaron Hernandez case, and Mayor's Race, it's been a crazy summer in Boston. I finally took a little time off work last month and spent a few days in New York seeing friends and doing some writing. I've since gone back through all of my notebooks, photos and tweets from that week and started writing a series of essays about it. That has been huge in terms of processing everything