Monday, October 19, 2009

There's a Boy Floating Away! Call the News!

THE BOY IN THE BALLOON situation from Colorado last week is sounding more and more like a hoax. Law enforcement in that area are investigating the whole event.

The father's first call when he discovered his helium-filled balloon was aloft and his 6 year-old son was nowhere to be found was to a television station. Dad, after all, had been featured in an episode of Wife Swap. He's TV savvy.

After the kid was found, the family started appearing on newscasts across the country. The kid dropped the dime on his father on live television in an interview with Wolf Blitzer. Oops.

The media, especially the 24-hour cable news stations, went crazy with the original story when the boy was believed to be helplessly floating in air.

My question is: would you have been able to resist covering the story, even though it smelled fishy from the start?

10 comments:

NewsNut said...

HONESTLY...I would have reported the story. Even the slightest possibility that there was a young boy injured in such an freak accident would have been enough for me to do it. Of course I would have gotten as much information as possible before running it. Though,now it is being reported that there is a news outlet that may have paid the family money for a possible t.v. show. This is becoming even more of a spectical every day. Obviously the decision to run the story has cast a shadow on not just on the Heene family but also the news media. Sorry to say I would be one of them. But there is always room for growth and more journalism classes. lol

Lisa Jiang said...

With stories like these, you always have to be very careful because there are so many people out there looking for attention. I probably would have had second thoughts about running the story and would've done a little more investigative researching before deciding.

Justin Verterano said...

I watched it unfold via a video stream on CNN's Website. The thing is just too bizarre, and those parents are psycho. After today, no one should talk about this family ever again.

Did make for a good meme though...

Don Hoegg said...

The networks were right to run a story on it, but I don't think it deserves all the time that has been spent on it since then.

Samantha Srolis said...

Although, the situation with The Balloon Boy turned out to be a joke on the media, I would have covered the story. The circumstances of the incident may have been questionable, however, if the six-year-old boy had actually floated away in the hot air balloon, I would have wanted to have all of the facts. Stories like this one result in mockery and loss of faith in the mass media. While people place blame on journalists for doing their job, the father who fueled the false reporting gets to enjoy his 15 minutes of fame. As a journalist there is always a question of whether a story should be reported to the public. Sources help to validate stories and find the truth behind the news. It makes sense that journalists trusted the boy’s father as a reliable source. They were fooled, but at least this incident proves that when news surfaces, journalists will be there, ready to serve the public.

Steph Ferretti said...

I think that I would have reported the story, but I definitely would have done some more in depth research. There are a lot of people out there that just want attention and this could probably be the main motive for this family.

Kristen Gillette said...

I think I would have reported the story as well, but I would definitely not done any follow up coverage on it after reporting that it was a hoax. These people don't deserve any more attention than they have already gotten.

hannaaaa said...

I probably would've covered the story, although fishy, if I had to. But in my coverage, I'd definitely state any suspicious areas and let the readers decide what to think of. My job is to give the given facts (assuming they are true) and let the audience decide what to think of it. Now I'm not saying,it doesn't have to be true, it just needs to be facts from the story. I believe a journalist has every obligation to seek the truth and with the information that is assumed to be the truth will be the coverage of the story. I believe CBS covered the story very well, how they gave the given information to and stated more information will be updated.
I personally thought this story was and still is just a publicity stunt by the father/family. The poor kids are being used as instruments to achieve the ultimate goal.

Wafai.Dias said...

I didn't follow this story at ALL. However, I do think that I would have covered it with better information then the news stations did.

Anonymous said...

FELICIA TOPSALE SAYS.............. I would have tried to stay away from this one because if I suspected the boy was lying and his paerents were involved, I would have been afraid of causing the boy public humiliation.