Letter from the Editor: How we covered the car wreck Sunday


Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

Multiple questions have been brought to The News about how we covered the news of the car wreck Sunday afternoon and why we chose to cover it the way we did.

As Editor-in-Chief and one of the three people who went to cover the wreck, I feel it is my responsibility to explain how we make the tough decisions in those stories.

Getting down to the basics, we determine if something is newsworthy based on the news values: timeliness, proximity, impact, prominence, oddity and relevance. This story checked most of those boxes.

For timeliness, we covered the story immediately because we wanted people to be aware that there was an accident, and, if possible, the area should have been avoided. If we had waited, the information may have been interesting to some, but less helpful.

In terms of proximity, our main coverage area is Eastern and parts of the Charleston community. We covered this story because it was well within the area our readers would be located, and something they should be made aware of if they planned to travel on Lincoln Avenue.

The impact of this story is that there were injuries and (at the time rumors of) a death and traffic was shut down on Charleston’s main road. Events like that impact the communities they happen in.

As off-putting as it may sound, this story was also an oddity. It was an oddity in the way that Charleston rarely sees car wrecks of that magnitude, and because of human nature, people are curious about those things happening.

This story was relevant to our publication because we strive to keep our campus and local community as informed as we can on things happening in this area.

Conflict applies in this situation because there was a conflict between the police and the driver of the vehicle that drove into oncoming traffic leading up to the wreck.

With that news lesson out of the way, I want to address the photo originally posted on our Facebook. Many people were unhappy with the photo and I can understand why.

It is not easy seeing your fellow man in that condition. When I saw the wreck and took that photo, my stomach dropped. It was hard to not cry seeing the pain and confusion people were in, but I knew that image would best convey the situation at hand.

I do not regret publishing that original photo, nor do I believe there was anything wrong with it.

Our goal is, and always will be, accurately portraying the things we cover. That photo did that.

It wasn’t easy to look at, but, unfortunately, it was what happened. There was nothing that my staff, or anyone else for that matter, could have done to reverse the situation.

When we go out to cover stories, it isn’t to get views or likes on social media. We care about this community and we believe the best way we can show that care is by giving our community the coverage they deserve.

Lastly, I know some were looking for an apology for the photo, but you won’t find that here. I stand by our coverage and I believe we did the best with the situation we had in front of us.

My door is always open to those who want to voice their concerns and our telephone is always available for people to call, and I would strongly encourage people to take advantage of that.


Corryn Brock is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].