Our Opinion: Better to be right than first

Friday, October 5, 2018

The internet and social media have forever changed how we get our information, but it will not change our respect to investigations and the families involved in those investigations.

In the age of social media, we want all the information right now. Itís literally at our fingertips, so why shouldnít we get exactly what we want exactly when we want it?

Thatís because there is a protocol in place.

The last few weeks, Greene County has been hit with some bad news. On Sept. 18, a portion of Greene County was rocked when a suspected double murder-suicide was reported near Hendricksville. On Wednesday, just a few hours after it was reported to police, we learned there had been a shooting and someone was injured.

In both instances, we contacted police, who were in the very early stages of their investigation. Those investigating provided enough information to ensure there was no danger to the community, so we shared what information we had.

But, people instantly wanted more. Our Facebook page was a flurry of speculations and those wanting to know more.

That is now how this works.

It is important that we respect the law enforcement officials as they do an already-difficult job of investigating, sometimes with little to no information to go start with. Yes, they are used to our questions to provide answers to the community, but at the same time, they have a very important job to do.

Investigations usually arenít cut-and-dry. Several officers put a lot of time and effort into asking questions and analyzing scenes, and if we release the wrong (or too much) information, it can be detrimental to the investigation. We donít want to be the reason a criminal has to be let off the hook, or tipped off that police are looking for him or her.

Plus, Sheriff Mike Hasler said it perfectly in regards to the incident near Hendricksville, ďThe families are victims too.Ē

We would never intentionally release information about a serious accident or death before the immediate family knew. And we definitely will not allow people who only know bits and pieces of the story (and are sometimes wrong) to post that information in connection to our stories.

Itís frustrating to be left wanting more information, but when it comes to a incident with death or serious injury involved, itís about more than our want for more.

Even if ďeveryone is talking about it,Ē itís better to be right than first.