Tracinski advises the media on how not to screw up the next Ferguson, because they certainly misreported this one.
He covers 5 main points:
1. It’s not a story until there are facts (and claims aren’t facts).
2. Forensics is a science.
3. People are individuals, not symbols.
4. Legal procedures and privileges exist for a reason.
5. You are not the story.
Perhaps because I work in a technical field, I was especially struck by his comments on point 2:
"These days everybody loves talking about how they love science. Actually loving science is quite another thing... [T]he real, hard, verifiable facts about a shooting begin with the forensics. They begin with the ballistics, the autopsy, and the physical evidence from the scene... If the media had waited for these actual, verifiable facts to come out, they might have dropped the whole story before it became a national sensation. Because science."
The reporting proceeded in defiance