Working with Words

6 years 5 months 1 week ago Saturday, March 12 2011 Mar 12, 2011 Saturday, March 12, 2011 9:40:00 AM CST March 12, 2011 in Your View
By: Sarah Hill and Robert Kessler

Our storytelling process involves a lot of research and when topics we cover are unfamiliar, mistakes are a possibility. As journalists, we often report on topics outside our personal expertise and no matter how detailed the fact checking, we don't always get the terminology right. A viewer named Jennifer Smith was offended by our usage of the term "alligator-infested" last week in a national story from Florida.

"Alligators and snakes, herps, are demonized a lot in society, and I feel like when things are demonized it makes it easier to do harm to them, thoughtlessly," Smith said.

When terminology comes up in our coverage, we always reference experts or guides to make sure we're using the right words and phrases. In this case we picked up the story from the NBC network database where the Today Show and MSNBC also used the same term.

"While we try not to offend anyone, animal rights activists or whomever they may be, we don't always succeed," KOMU 8 Today anchor Megan Murphy said. "We take stories from other affiliates, obviously that story wasn't in our viewing area, so we took it from another affiliate. MSNBC actually reported that story as alligator-infested, so that's what we did. And like I said, we do try to not offend anyone, sometimes it's impossible."

Journalists rely on expert sources to provide us with accurate information and deliver that to our viewers.

"I think maybe a better word to use would have been alligator-inhabited," Smith said.

If you would like to comment on or question the way we cover the news, click the link on the left.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Gov. Eric Greitens' surprising decision Tuesday to stay the execution of Marcellus Williams put a spotlight on executions... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:26:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - In an era in which brick and mortar retail stores are falling by the wayside, Columbia's I-70 Business... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:22:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is holding a question-and-answer session on Facebook. The governor will... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:17:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri Poison Center said snake bites are up this year compared to last. From January to June... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:10:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A dozen protestors dropped off a petition with 200,000 signatures to Gov. Eric Greitens' office Tuesday urging... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:00:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Lt. Gov. Mike Parson called on the Missouri Senate to go into a special session with the... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:04:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The District Downtown Columbia had decided to give people the chance to remember the total eclipse forever. Anyone... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 5:02:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – School is back in session for Columbia students, but some school districts across the country are struggling with... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 4:57:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Commission issued abatements for three Boone County properties Tuesday. One property is located on... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:55:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - As part of Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes’ proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, paratransit rides will... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:43:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler visited the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital Tuesday to talk to local veterans.... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:13:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A national organization doesn't want people to trash their special glasses from Monday's eclipse. Astronomers Without Borders... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:29:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker who temporarily posted a social media remark hoping for President Donald Trump's assassination... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:26:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The family of a 15-year-old who was incarcerated for three weeks despite dash cam video proving... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 1:27:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Vice President of Human Resources for the UM System, Jill Pollock, has resigned, according to the University... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 12:56:00 PM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
THEODOSIA (AP) — The Latest on a girl whose burned remains were found in rural Missouri (all times local): ... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:08:00 AM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on Missouri's planned execution of inmate Marcellus Williams (all times local): 5:45 p.m.... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:30:00 AM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA — Thousands of people traveled to Columbia and the surrounding cities to view a once in a lifetime event,... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:28:00 AM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 58°
4am 58°
5am 57°
6am 56°
7am 55°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00a
Mad Money
4:00a
Early Today
4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
3:00a
Paid Program
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
8:01p
Marlon
8:30p
Marlon
9:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld