Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When 1 news organization is wrong, we all look bad

8:02 p.m. update:
FOX News stands by its reporting:

The University of Colorado Denver issued a statement Wednesday evening confirming that a suspicious package was found but calling the July 12 timeline "inaccurate." The university said it was delivered Monday and found on the same day. However, it wasn't clear if the statement was referring to the package from Holmes or the harmless package from someone else.'s source reaffirmed that Holmes' notebook arrived before the massacre.
The university also denied Wednesday that the package "sat on a loading dock," even though reported it was instead found in a mailroom.

Read more:

Original post:

I’ll admit, I was worried today when FOX News reported details about a package that I hadn’t reported and didn’t know. I called sources like crazy. No one could back up the entire FOX News report.  Hours passed and still no verification.

Believe it or not, I started to breathe a sigh of relief.

I began to question the report. But it was also a relief in a way because that meant the package hadn’t arrived long before the shootings and it wasn’t the one thing that could have prevented the killings.

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus just sent out a statement that says, “The anonymous Fox News source that the package was received on July 12 and sat on a loading dock is inaccurate.” (read full statement after the jump)

The news release says the suspicious package (that I reported was sent by the suspect with a return address of his) was delivered July 23.

I work hard, along with my co-workers in 9Wants to Know, to double check our facts and question our sources when they tell me something.  It’s uncomfortable to ask someone (who is nice enough to give you information) ‘How do you know this? Did you actually hear this or did someone tell you this? How are you in a position to know?’

I have no idea what steps FOX News took and I’m hesitant to throw stones. Gathering news responsibly and accurately is very tough – especially when there is a gag order.

One thing I will say: we in the media all lose when a media outlet makes what appears to be a mistake.

Some might argue that the university is trying to save face by discrediting the FOX News report. I don’t understand how that would be beneficial since the facts will eventually come out anyway.

Comments I received on social media. (Updated 12:28 a.m. Thursday. The full release is below.)

Update on suspicious packages discovered at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
      AURORA, CO (July 25, 2012) –  Officials at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus can confirm that the suspicious package discovered at the Facilities Services building on Monday, July 23, 2012, was delivered to the campus by the United States Postal Service that same day, immediately investigated and turned over to authorities within hours of delivery.   This package prompted the building’s evacuation at 12:26 p.m. and employees were allowed to return by 3:06 p.m.

The anonymous Fox News source that the package was received on July 12 and sat on a loading dock is inaccurate.

We remain unable to discuss anything further on this package in accordance with the order of Judge Sylvester on July 23, 2012.

Jacque Montgomery
Executive Director of Media Relations
University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus
University of Colorado Hospital
(phone numbers removed)