Aircraft Accidents and Getting It Right

This past week I was interviewed for a story on EgyptAir’s flight 804. The interviewer was looking for someone who could speak to the progress of the investigation as it stood. It was very professional and for one very good reason: it was aimed at possibilities, not sensationalism.
I have spoken in the past on this blog how I feel it is dangerous to jump to conclusions, that for the investigation to be successful, all avenues must be looked at without arriving at the easy go-to cause. I’ve never seen a journalist give time to common sense interviews and almost half-expected that my interview, which was taped earlier in the day, to be edited to death before showing. Gladly, I was wrong.
Not only did the young woman who interviewed me ask probing, logical questions, but the interview was left untouched as far as content is concerned. I was hoping her technician would have been able to ‘touch-up’ my background – I was taped on Skype with a sheet covering the wall behind me; my office was being painted – but all the creases in my background were there for all to see. Oh, well.
The interview focused on the possible; she asked the expected question of a bomb, but she steered the focus away from what every other interview went to and allowed me to answer the unasked questions: If not a bomb, then what? I followed her lead and we spoke about other similar accidents and allowed the audience to see that solving the accident with sensationalistic theories did nothing for improving safety, but instead confused the investigation.
It was a most professional interview and I was proud to be asked to participate. My interviewer, in my opinion, did more for educating people to the dangers of drawing attention away from probable cause.

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