Orlando Shootings Test Local News Crews

By Andrew Gauthier 

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Orlando Sentinel

Breaking news is a real education for viewers. It’s like watching sausage be made, and you can learn some not-so-appetizing details.

Breaking news is a real test for reporters, who are scrambling to share accurate information.

The shootings at the Gateway Center in downtown Orlando were a real test for everyone, because the information was so fluid.

Most early reports put the toll at six injured and two dead.

At one point, WFTV-Channel 9‘s Kathi Belich reported that 17 were shot. Orlando police spokeswoman Sgt. Barb Jones said that the number wasn’t correct. And Belich later offered a clarification that 17 people had been treated.

The real count, as of 3:30 Friday afternoon, was six shot, and one of them had died.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m., WESH-Channel 2 reported that the suspect had been apprehended and showed him being taken into Orlando Police Department. Anchor Martha Sugalski said the station was offering “apparently live pictures,” from the station’s chopper, of suspect Jason Rodriguez. “He surrendered without incident,” anchor Jim Payne said. More…