The Risk of Breaking News: Things are Not Always as They Seem

L ast night, I reported on what was considered at the time breaking news of reports of shots fired at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in two terminals. Multiple credible media outlets were reporting on this news, as information was being posted on social media such as Twitter by people who were at the airport at the time. At least one terminal was evacuated; access to the airport via the Van Wyck Expressway was closed; and flights were affected.

The Risk of Breaking News: Things are Not Always as They Seem

Was this a terrorist attack? A crazed lone gunman who lost it and was taking his frustrations out on innocent people? Someone with a vendetta against something or someone else? Were additional incidents going to happen?

None of the above, actually. Speculation is that the sounds which emulated those of gunfire may have been caused by reactions by spectators watching an Olympic event which was broadcast via television somewhere in the airport last night.


“I am reporting this to you in case you may be traveling to or from that airport in New York tonight or tomorrow, as there may be a possibility that your travel plans might be interrupted depending on the circumstances of these alleged incidents.”

That part — which I wrote in this article last night — became a reality. Flights have indeed been delayed — and some have even been canceled — as a result of an incident which never happened.

I remember first hearing about the terror attacks upon the World Trade Center in New York almost 15 years ago; and my initial thought was that an airplane flew too close to one of the twin towers on its approach to LaGuardia Airport in a horrible case of misjudgment on the part of a pilot — but as unlikely as that scenario would be considered, so would the magnitude of the terror attacks which occurred on that infamous day in history.

One just never initially knows what becomes a legitimately verifiable story versus one which turns out to be a false alarm — especially if one is not actually witnessing what is being reported. All I can say is that I would rather the reports of shots fired be false — with no fatalities, injuries or destruction having occurred — than anyone experiencing the alternative.

As originally intended, my hope in this case is that the article I wrote last night was helpful to you if you were planning on traveling to or from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and you needed to be alerted of any irregular operations which occurred as a result of what happened — or did not happen — last night. If the article was helpful to even only one person, then it was worth posting.

Other than that, please accept my apology for any inconvenience caused by posting that article last night.

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2 thoughts on “The Risk of Breaking News: Things are Not Always as They Seem”

  1. Captain Kirk says:

    Brian…no biggie. I saw on ABC7 and NBC4 New York and they were reporting the same. No need to apologize.

  2. linmoron says:

    apology pending acceptance

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