KTVO posted an article to its website and social media Jan. 24 with the headline “AR-15 giveaway held on Truman college campus.” The article prompted a lot of controversy, with many community members and students concerned about the possibility of a gun being on Truman State University’s campus.
We, The Index Editorial Board, believe the article does not reflect the truth of the situation. The article implies that the giveaway was organized by the local chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, even though it was actually an effort by the national organization. The local chapter was only a part of promoting the giveaway.
We, The Index Editorial Board, also believe this article is a representation of careless, unethical journalism.
While there was a lack of effort on KTVO’s part in regard to gathering multiple sources and conducting extensive research on the topic, the press release itself is also to blame for misrepresentation of the situation. The KTVO article appears to pull most of its information directly from the press release, which was worded in such a way to imply that the event was local.
The first sentence of the press release states that YAL plans to organize an “AR-15 giveaway,” followed by, “The group will set up a table in McClain Hall.”
By making a clear distinction between the national organization and Truman’s chapter, the press release could have created a much more accurate picture of the event.
That being said, we believe the ultimate responsibility of informing the public of news rests on the shoulders of journalists. By reporting a misrepresentation of the event, KTVO did not carry the weight of that responsibility. A press release is a great place to begin a story, but there should be additional effort to gather the most information possible and tell the full story.
As a news organization, we understand the desire to bring our community the latest news as promptly as possible, but promptness is not as important as the quality and accuracy of the reporting.