Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Subway Suicides and News Restrictions


This morning, there was more pandemonium on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway lines after someone had an "injury at track level".  It used to be that in order to not inspire more people to jump in front of subway trains, the media didn't broadcast "jumper" events when they happen.  Everyone at the scene still understood approximately what was happening when you heard an announcement that there was an injury at track level and the power was being shut off, but the news was largely self-contained.

Of course, today if you inconvenience a few hundred people on a single train, the story will break on Twitter or Facebook within minutes for those looking for it.  Inconvenience tens of thousands and everyone in the city will know within a very short time.    This traditional type of news ban has thus totally gone out of the window as it's now irrelevant because the public is making the news, not the traditional news media companies.

What now happens is the news media keeps quiet, until the story breaks on Social Media.  Then it's fair game.

Given that the story is now already in the public domain, you have to question why the TTC doesn't just put it's hands up and come clean in order to expedite communications and increase transparency and trust?  Instead, they perpetuate this air of secrecy and restricted communications like they're some crazy brotherhood, which just looks old-fashioned and prudish when the public has already inferred what's happening anyway.

I think it's time the news restrictions on this type of event is lifted so that communication with the public can be expedited, and trust be rebuilt.