Thursday, October 15, 2015

The plane crash in suburban Lake Worth and the bungled reporting by local media vis-à-vis the crash location

Within minutes of learning the news of the tragic plane crash last Tuesday I knew exactly where the location of the crash occurred; and it's not magic. When it was confirmed it was the Mar Mak trailer park as the location I googled it and found the address then proceeded to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser and there it was: "00". The numbers '00' indicate it's a property in unincorporated, or suburban PBC. It's that simple. You can teach any teenager to do the same thing in a few minutes.

I suspect (but don't know for sure) that Charlie Keegan at NBC5/WPTV found the same information in a similar manner. WPTV remained consistent throughout the day that the location of the crash was in suburban Lake Worth. Kudos to WPTV. And also kudos to Fox29/WFLX; here is a report from Andrew Ruiz:
Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news 

But what did ABC25/WPBF report?
Note the video has "Palm Springs" and the dateline has "Lake Worth".
And my good friends at CBS12/WPEC took it to a whole new level of confusion:
WPTV seems to be trying to cover all the bases: "Palm Springs", "Lake Worth", and "near Lake Worth".
Here is an image from PBC's municipal map with labeling I added showing the location of the plane crash:
Yesterday had an entertaining back and forth with Gary Widom at WPEC on Twitter. Here is one of those Tweets:
Widom asserts that because Lake Worth is the largest municipality in the area reporting that the crash occurred "near Lake Worth" is acceptable. You can debate that all day and night but I'll show in a little bit why "suburban Lake Worth" is the proper way to report the location and minimize public confusion.

First, by the numbers (per the U.S. Census): Palm Springs has 21,728 residents. Not what one would call an insignificant city by population. Lake Worth has 37,097 residents and Greenacres has more people at 39,157. By land area Lake Worth is larger than Greenacres by a whopping .08 square miles. Anyone could make a legitimate case saying the crash occurred near Palm Springs, near Lake Worth, or near Greenacres.

If you're going to use near as the yardstick, with city size being the baseline, then why not say, "near West Palm Beach"? No one would do that because it's inaccurate. But logically it makes all the sense in the world.

Here is why suburban Lake Worth is the most accurate description of the crash location:
  • The crash didn't occur in any municipality (incorporated area)
  • The crash did occur in an area that is in suburban PBC (unincorporated)
  • The crash was in the Lake Worth Corridor
  • Hence the accurate location of "suburban Lake Worth" 
Even CBS4 in Miami got the location correct:
Understanding what is suburban, or unincorporated PBC, takes a little research. Two, maybe three minutes tops, when you get the basics down. There simply isn't any excuse for not getting the location correct for A PLANE CRASH.

And for those of you interested, here is the definitive explanation of what is and what is not the City of Lake Worth.
If you're west of John Prince Park you can safely say you are not in the City of Lake Worth.