The good people of Connecticut may not know much about Yucatán, but the good people of Yucatán are learning a lot about us.
On Friday morning, when I was expecting a fairly easy day in the newsroom, word came in of a school shooting about 30 minute up Route 25, in Newtown. I instantly, instinctively rebuffed reality. It’s just some shots fired, I told myself. In Newtown, one of our state’s most beloved small towns? This can’t be. I continued planning a gripping front-pager about service-sector employment levels.
Then, we learn two people have been sent to Danbury Hospital. Thank God! Just two people hurt, I assume. Then the news gets progressively worse over the next few hours. Twelve shot. Twenty shot, then 26, 28, mostly tiny children, all but one dead.
We are handed (and repeat) many more false facts and red herrings over the next 48 hours. Websites have turned newspapers into live 24/7 broadcasters, no different than the ABC affiliate that shares part of our newsroom. We don’t have the luxury of a single daily deadline to weigh the facts.
Social media is a source of crackpot speculation, cruel hoaxes and sanctimony. And even though the police are extremely cautious as they examine multiple crime scenes, trying to find surviving witnesses, what little they tell us is often incorrect. Later, those same police [Read more…]