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We're not in the business of withholding information, but the other day -- at least in the early hours of a developing story -- that's what happened in the name of safety. Safety for the hostage and safety for the officers.
This is a bit of an inside look at our decision process and ethical questions during breaking news.
When we are live at a scene, I'll often post updates to the story on WOWT.COM, Facebook and Twitter. I'll tell people about a crash scene or shooting incident.
The other day we were covering a pickup that was eluding police for miles. Eventually, police flattened the tires and the driver ran into a home. Officers believed he was armed.
It didn't take long and we learned it was a hostage situation.
We have long erred on the side of caution in these situations regarding live video of police tactics and such.
We don't want to give the bad guy any insight into what is going on outside. Here is my first posts to Twitter and Facebook the afternoon of May 18.
Police chase ends here in an Omaha neighborhood...waiting to see if they have the driver. Stand by for updates http://ow.ly/i/DsCK
I count at least 20 cruisers here. Deputy chief Schmaederer just arrived. Chase suspect appears to be on the run.
As I'm getting ready to write another more benign update, we learned the man on the run may have had a scanner while he was running from officers. In fact, it was relayed to me by the newsroom that they heard this over the police radio: "Well, I believe we're gonna have to go to an event channel. Every time we give out his location he's turning."
In this age of social media, we had to assume he may be monitoring reporters descriptions of the situation on Facebook & Twitter as well, so we made the decision to back off when it came to updates.
I didn't post anything for about an hour while we waited for police to make their move. When the Emergency Response Unit was inside and in control we resumed our tweets and status updates.
42 and spaulding update....60 year old woman who had been taken hostage is out of the house and apparently okay..say police.
Just saw a second person loaded into squad-from a block away and based on reaction it looks it could be the suspect. We will let you know.
We have not heard any gunshots. Red cross just moved closer to the scene at 42/spaulding. Bomb squad putting stuff away.
Here's the suspect's dumped the stolen pickup. It appears he tried to kill himself by cutting wrist when arrested. http://ow.ly/i/Du1n
Our stories later in the day didn't withhold information but in the moments they were happening -- we held back.
News is being produced and updated so quickly these days, this was a good reminder of how we sometimes have to put on the brakes.