I nominate The Tribune for the “2016 Journalism Brickbat of the Year” award for unprofessional news reporting based on its coverage of the Aug. 25 officer-involved shooting in Arroyo Grande.
In its first article about the incident, published Aug. 26, The Tribune described a suspect in great detail, providing his name and considerable information about his activities and lifestyle as a local transient — all based on reports provided by employees of a business across the street from where the crimes were committed.
The next day, the Arroyo Grande Police Department issued a news release describing the event and providing the name of the actual suspect in custody. Through this, we learned the real suspect is not local. In fact, he is a completely different person than the one described earlier in The Tribune.
So did The Tribune gather its original, totally inaccurate information about the local “suspect” and print it without any verification? Apparently so.
And when The Tribune corrected its mistake Aug. 27, did it offer any apology for the error? No. It blamed its journalistic malpractice on those whose statements it never verified.
Clearly, The Tribune deserves the 2016 journalism Brickbat of the Year.
Robert Olson, Arroyo Grande