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Bad journalism - hope for survivors of boat disaster fades

This AP story talked about the worse boat distaster to hit Haitian migrants trying to flee their country due to poor living conditions. The story reported that U.S. Coast Guard ended efforts to find 40 missing Haitians after Wednesday disaster in which 36 migrants died after a boat they were on capzised with 160 passengers. The accident happened on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Local authorities on the Turks and Caicos Islands, however, were continuing the search a day after the deadliest maritime disaster to befall Haitian migrants in years.

This was a hard news written in an inverted pyramid style. There were very little room for improvement because the writer did an excellent job. It was balanced, and all attributions and quotes were done in a professional maner.
Read this story at:

The same story by Reuters was very confusing and poorly constructed. The lead said; "A sailing boat packed with up to 150 Haitian migrants capsized while it was being towed by a police vessel from the Turks and Caicos on Friday, and the U.S. Coast Guard said 20 people had died while another 58 were missing." This lead suggests that this disaster was a result of police action.

In the second paragraph, the Reuters said the vessel 'flipped oveer," making it to seem that indeed that this accident could be avoided if police had intercepted the boat. To the contrary, the AP story indicated that the boat capzided as a result of strong storm it encountered.

The only useful information Reuters provided readers was the number of migrants the U.S. Coast Guard has rescued so far in 2007: 909. Everything else reported by the Reuters was either inaccurate or confusing. For instance it said 20 died and 58 were missing. AP discounted that.

I think part of the challenge the Reuters reporter faced was sitting in Miami to file a story that occurred hundreds of miles away. It was better not have even attempted. It was a disservice to goog journalism. Read this piece at: