Over the past few weeks, a couple of deaths have stirred up a lot of conversation both in the United States and in Cullowhee.

On June 25, Michael Jackson unexpectedly died in Los Angeles. Western Carolina University was struck with tragedy on July 8 with the untimely passing of junior defensive back Ja’Quayvin Smalls following a voluntary off-season practice.

Both of these deaths, currently without a definitive cause, have been speculated at length on online blogs and in the media—which is wrong. In Jackson’s case, it has been assumed that the pop star was addicted to painkillers, among other things, and died of a drug overdose—while murder has also not ruled been out. Smalls, although not quite receiving as much coverage as Jackson, has received some national spotlight, with many being quick to quip that heat exhaustion and/or sickle-cell disease played a role in his death.

Whatever happened to waiting for all the facts to come in? According to most journalism classes, that is one of the first rules reporters are taught to go by before compiling and publishing a news report is .

In this day and age though, with newspapers and television stations fighting to be the first to report a story, rules and codes of ethics are often thrown out the window. Instead of rushing, what the media should try to do is be accurate, thorough and correct—and not jump to conclusions—not only in cases like Smalls and Jacksons, but in general.

So many things look like something at first glance, but it is only after things are thoroughly examined in a situation that one can find out what it is actually all about. Once one discerns what is really going on, only then can they take the appropriate action.

This is how much of life’s problems should be approached. Often people, such as the media, jump to conclusions about things without carefully examining them—with most of the time the result not being as good as if one were have waited for all the facts or answers to come in.