Around the world: Canadian coverage of Ottawa shooting praised by international media

By Adam Jönsson and Jake English, for the International Reporting Bureau at Humber College

The shooting in Ottawa on Wednesday drew major attention from news outlets around the world.

In London, The Telegraph’s Harriet Alexander showed the stark contrast of tone, reporting and style between Canadian and American networks in a piece published online Thursday.

Alexander pointed out that CNN’s website ran the headline “Terrified Capital” all in caps. CBC, on the other hand, ran a more sober headline: “Soldier dies after Parliament Hill attack, gunman also shot dead.” CNN’s chief national security correspondent praised the bilingual Canadian coverage calling it “Normal for Canada, otherworldly for US” in a tweet Wednesday.

Alexander noted CBC’s Peter Mansbridge received particular praise for his “thoughtful live coverage of a confusing situation.” Throughout the broadcast, Mansbridge refused to speculate despite the uncertainty of Wednesday’s events.

TVNEWSER, a website devoted to “the news. . . about TV news,” gave similar praise to the Canadian broadcaster under the headline “Canada’s CBC news shows what thoughtful breaking news coverage really looks like.” The article noted that CBC, unlike the U.S. coverage, did not self-aggrandize its reporting and did not “dip even a toe into the waters of self-promotion.”

Mark Joyella, of TVNEWSER, argued Mansbridge was “thoughtful, took his time, and seemed at times to pause, and to consider his words,” while U.S. networks were “frenetic” and “breathless” in reporting.

The CBC was consistently beaten on releasing breaking news on Wednesday, Joyella wrote, particularly when the death of the honour guard at the war memorial was confirmed. CBC refrained from reporting that news until it was confirmed despite circulating reports of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s death. When Mansbridge did deliver the “bad news,” he explained how the CBC arrived at that fact, Joyella wrote. Joyella emphasized the CBC’s commitment to being right, not first.

In an analysis written by James West on the American website Mother Jones, the CBC’s coverage of the Ottawa attack was praised as a ‘‘master class in calm, credible breaking news reporting.’’ The analysis under the headline ‘‘Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame’’ talked about the way the CBC presented the news and the accuracy of the broadcast. ‘‘For the six-some hours of CBC broadcasting I watched off-and-on (mostly on) today, I never once felt lost in the wall-to-wall speculation that has characterized so many recent breaking news broadcasts in the United States,’’ wrote West.

Ottawa shooting makes headlines worldwide

The shooting in Ottawa was front-page news in many newspapers around the world.

Illustration courtesy of Tamara Baluja. Images obtained from Newseum.

Illustration courtesy of Tamara Baluja. Images obtained from Newseum.

The Guardian ran its Ottawa coverage on the front page with a throw to the inside. A three-column picture of police ushering people to safety ran above the headline “Soldier killed in attack on Canada’s capital.”

U.K.-based The Times ran a large, five-column picture on its front page with the headline “Soldier shot dead as terrorists attack Canadian parliament.” The story was reported by David Taylor and Will Pavia and focused on several details of the shooting. The story had a throw to the inside.

The New York Times ran its Ottawa coverage above the fold on its front page with a throw to the inside. The paper ran a four-column photo of a police officer running with his gun drawn. The story used the headline “Gunman’s attack on parliament shakes Ottawa” and was reported by Ian Austen and Rick Gladstone.

The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the attack was placed above the fold on its front page with a throw to the inside. A four-column picture ran above the headline “Terror hits Canadian capital.”

In Johannesburg, the South African Times ran a four-column picture showing two RCMP officers on its front page with a throw to the inside.

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3 Responses

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