Oops! Anyone watching the live TV coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on the new healthcare law can understand the pressure on the media to quickly understand the ruling and report it correctly.
No matter how many reporters with law degrees are covering the case, or how prepared they are, it’s a race to broadcast the results first. Apparently, a couple of cable networks— Fox News and CNN—got it wrong, and even the Obama administration initially thought the law had been struck down.
Perhaps the media’s handling of the Supreme Court's decision is a cautionary tale for those of us issuing news releases for our clients, whether they’re in the private, public or nonprofit sectors. It demonstrates how easy it is, even for experienced reporters, to get complex information wrong. It’s a good reminder to us in the business to communicate clearly, so there’s no room for speculation or misinterpretation.