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Opinion

Gloor: Here's why you might see different versions of a breaking news story

Lindsay Gloor
Lindsay Gloor

It’s no secret that media organizations nationwide, including The Herald-News, are working hard every day to maintain their readers’ trust.

Americans believe 62 percent of the news they see on TV, read in the paper and hear on the radio is biased, according to a recent Gallup and Knight Foundation survey. Those consumers also are more likely to see news on social media as biased, the study found. But going past the bias, Americans think 64 percent of news on social media is inaccurate.

The Herald-News not only strives to ensure any and all bias is kept out of our reporting, but we also have layers upon layers of fact checking in place to provide accurate, in-depth content for our readers.

Here’s how:

You likely saw coverage developing this week regarding the death of 38-year-old Joliet resident Bruce Carter, whom law enforcement suspected was involved in a bank robbery Wednesday morning.

Herald-News reporter Felix Sarver arrived on the scene of the reported bank robbery and spoke with police there. He later confirmed with the FBI that a robbery had occurred. Several hours later, members of the newsroom were informed shots had been fired on Des Plaines Street.

Editor Joseph Hosey and longtime reporter Bob Okon went to that scene. Back at the office, it was a team effort to make calls and write the first version of that story.

We reached out to Joliet law enforcement, the FBI, Joliet politicians, the Will County Coroner’s Office, other law enforcement leaders in the area, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office and interviewed witnesses in the area of the reported shooting. Nothing was published until editors were confident information was corroborated, and calls from some authorities would not be returned in a timely manner.

Later in the day, numerous legitimate sources confirmed the bank robbery and alleged shooting might be linked. Late Wednesday, Joliet police released a statement confirming there was an officer-involved shooting during “part of a follow-up investigation” for the robbery.

Sarver visited the scene of the shooting Thursday morning and spoke with a man who identified himself as Carter’s brother. Marcello Carter, 37, had a different version of the story, which Herald-News staff followed up on with various authority figures once again.

Eventually, the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force, who is investigating the shooting, released more information that seemed to contradict parts of the original story.

As breaking news develops, journalists are trained to act quickly and accurately. We promise nothing is posted to our website or printed in our newspaper without careful attention and fact checking.

Carter’s story will continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months, and The Herald-News will be there every step of the way.

Do you have additional questions about the news writing process? Email us at news@theherald-news.com.

• Lindsay Gloor is the associate
editor of The Herald-News. She can
be reached at 815-280-4090 or lgloor@shawmedia.com.

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