Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Shafted

Sad beyond words.America went to bed believing that there had been a miracle in a West Virginia coal mine; they woke up to the news that all but one miner was dead. Many papers, like the TU, showed up on the doorstep with headlines like 12 Found Alive Inside Mine.
This will go down as a case study in what can go wrong during a complicated and emotionally charged story. Ultimately, blame can mostly be placed on those in charge on the scene. It needs to be made clear, over and over to everyone, that there is only one reliable source of official information. Under the National Incident Management System, instituted after 9/11, an event like this will have a public information officer who reports only to the person at the top. Nothing gets out unless cleared by the incident commander. I know that sounds onerous and may go against your nature, but it helps prevent horrendous screw ups like the one last night.