Ready for prime time

Adirondack Bureau chief Brian Mann (left) and Plattsburgh Bureau reporter Zach Hirsch.

Adirondack Bureau chief Brian Mann (left) and Plattsburgh Bureau reporter Zach Hirsch have been telling the prisoner escape story on the ground for NPR listeners around the world.

I love it when NCPR reporters get some time in the national spotlight. Not that I think we should have more prison breaks or child abductions or train explosions or murders. But when something does put the region front and center on the world stage, NCPR has people who are ready for prime time–solid, well-sourced, capable in the field, quick on their feet, and unintimidated by their fly-in national press colleagues.

In fact, their work has compared favorably with almost all the other coverage I have seen, heard or read on the Dannemora prisoner escape story. Time and again in the last week, I have seen the “big guys” forge ahead on rumors and misinformation, and then have to walk back on their reporting.

From my privileged position astride the back channel as reporters talk about how to cover this for NCPR and for NPR, I have seen that while they, too, are privy to the same unverified rumors and bad information, they show their professionalism and discipline by either chasing it back to better information or by holding off, despite the relentless pressure to be the first, until they are certain they have the right information.

We may not have the resources to put up a helicopter to give our audience a real-time overview of a grid search, but we also won’t be narrating stuff that just ain’t so over the top of the glitzy footage.

I think that’s a trade-off the public media audience has always been willing to support.


6 Comments on “Ready for prime time”

  1. Jane W says:

    Yes! Am just now listening to Zach Hirsch on the NPR news. Great job.

  2. mollie luna says:

    NCPR reporters are BETTER than anyone else I’ve heard on this subject. I hear ‘North Country Public Radio’ on Morning Edition and I know it is quality work.

  3. Mitch Edelstein says:

    I am so proud of the work that NCPR is doing on this story. Kudos to Brian Mann & Zach Hirsch, and all of the people who are behind the scenes.

  4. Totally agree, Dale! I first became aware of the prison break by reading a NCPR post on Facebook and have since gone to the website or listened to the station via the Internet to get updated and accurate information. So much unnecessary hype via the national TV news outlets! I considered it a local story but all of a sudden it went viral!

  5. Ted Champagne says:

    Thank you, Dale! You have very succinctly described the type of journalism that I grew up with in the Sixties, where stories had to be verified by at least two independent sources before they made air (or print). What passes for journalism now in most of the national media is what would have been in the National Enquirer when I was growing up. Kudos to Brian Mann and Zach Hirsch for their good work!

  6. Janet McFarland says:

    Hear, hear, Dale! I am proud, once again, of NCPR and its remarkable news team. We are so fortunate; they distinguish themselves time after time.

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