By Ken Storey
The 1990s are known as the “Disney Decade” because of the massive growth at WDW under Eisner. Now we are in the early stages of another Disney Decade. This time, though, the massive growth here in Orlando will be paired with significant changes throughout the Disney corporation including the likely retirement of Disney’s current CEO and the complete restructuring of the media juggernaut ESPN.
With this in mind, I want to speak directly to my colleagues in the Central Florida tourism citizen journalist field. We must ensure that we continue to improve our accountability, our accuracy, and our overall quality of reporting.
Over the next few years many projects throughout the Disney corporation, and especially here in Orlando, will begin. Anytime a project, especially a local construction project, in under planning or construction many of us are given details before official confirmation on them. Often these details are afforded to us by our friends, coworkers, and Central Florida neighbors. It is our responsibility to ensure that any of these details we deem as necessary to publish are done so in such a way as to not put anyone’s employment in question or to share details that would be a danger to public safety. It’s better not to be first with a story than to cause a person their job.
These details are shared to us by those who we trust but even in such situations we, as a citizen journalist, must take a page out of our siblings in the mainstream media and verify details multiple times from various sources before announcing them.
Also, understand that as projects evolve plans do change. Just because someone might share something that later on proves to be incorrect doesn’t mean that person can’t be trusted, it only means they don’t know the whole story, but few people rarely do.
Anytime construction projects happen here in Central Florida details, and sometimes documents, are shared with many of us. Never publish these documents. They are usually specific to a group of subcontractors and sharing them could not only cost a single individual their job but could easily cost hundreds of locals their jobs. These documents also typically show both public and back of house areas. Sharing details on these back of house areas can be used by individuals who are seeking to cause harm to the public. It is our responsibility with the knowledge we are given to share it in such a way to that provides accurate recording while also protecting the general public from unnecessary safety lapses.
With website and social media rankings ever changing it’s important that we keep our heads when information and events are provided to us. No longer is being first most important. Quality, clarity, and trustworthiness is much greater than uploading a post mere seconds before someone else.
It is paramount that as we head into this new Disney Decade, we do so with plans in place on how to properly cover the endless tsunami of news that will define this great time to be a Central Florida tourism citizen journalist. Remember that we are all in this together, no story is worth someone’s job, and accuracy is more important than being first. With these things in mind we can make this Disney expansion era even greater than the last one because, unlike then, we can cover this like never before.
I hope you’re as excited as I am to be a part of such a great time in Central Florida history.