Covering a Potential Terrorist Attack? Keep These Things in Mind

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Media Outlet: Columbia Journalism Review

The Columbia Journalism Review covered Resource Security's "Covering Terrorism" event, quoting Shane Harris and Peter Bergen: 

We are all driven by the desire to get a scoop, but these scoops are highly, highly perishable,” said Shane Harris, a correspondent at The Daily Beast, at the New America event.
“There’s a lot of pressure to find out what the motivation of the person behind the event is,” said CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. He added it is the responsibility of the journalist and the government to make explicit that the story “is surely going to evolve.”
To take the Chelsea bombing as an example, Bergen noted that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio initially said the incident wasn’t related to terrorism, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said there was no link to international terrorism. Those positions have since become debatable. Similarly, Bergen continues: “Government officials were saying, at least on background, there was probably a cell involved,” a statement that was later revised. “It’s not that they were wrong to say that,” he acknowledges, because that’s the logic of having four bombs in four different places. As they learned more, “they wanted to reassure the public and say there wasn’t a cell.”

In the News:

Peter Bergen is a journalist, documentary producer, vice president at New America, CNN national security analyst, professor of practice at Arizona State University, and the author or editor of seven books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers and four of which were named among the best non-fiction books of the year by The Washington Post.

Shane Harris is a fellow with the International Security program at New America and a member of its Future of War team. He is a senior correspondent at The Daily Beast, and the author of @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex.