News report template

How to achieve a 100% score for news report completeness.

All media reports (including Internet website reports) of abnormal events at amusement rides should include:

  • Date and time it occurred (not merely “yesterday” or “this afternoon”)
  • Specific business or event, e.g., name of theme park, family entertainment centre, waterpark, fair, or festival. If the rides are operated by a different company (such as at a carnival), ALSO name the company owning the ride.
  • Location city, state, and country of the event. Since many news reports are posted on the Internet, many readers are not local and familiar with local events and places.
  • Name of the specific ride involved. If the ride also has an alternate name, this may also be given. Avoid using incorrect alternate names, such as “roller coaster” for rides that are not roller coasters. Try to include in the article a photo of the specific ride (even a photo taken before the accident). Do not use illustrative photos of a different ride at the same operation.
  • Differentiate a ride accident involving structural failure, mechanical malfunction, collision, impact, drowning, or other injury from events where the ride stopped and was either evacuated or restarted after a delay, without injury or with injury due to the delay or evacuation. 

A news report about a ride accident (injury or near-miss) should include:

  • Nature of the event. Even if the cause of the event will not be known for days or months, the nature of the event can be described immediately. For instance, did a rider fall out or jump out of the ride with the ride intact? If a rider fell from the ride, was the restraint device open, broken off, or still closed when the ride stopped? Did a ride vehicle or part of the ride separate from the rest of the ride (and, if so, which part)? Did the ride strike a non-rider who had entered the enclosure of the ride? Did a rider slip, trip, or fall while moving around the ride? Did a rider feel ill or lose consciousness during the ride or after riding? 
  • Stage of the ride cycle when event occurred. Did it occur during the injured person’s ride, or while queuing, loading, unloading, walking past, or watching others ride? For delayed effects such as illness, where was the person when the illness was experienced, and how was the connection to this ride identified?

A news report about a ride stoppage or evacuation should include:

  • Origin of stoppage, if known: was there a power failure, or were safety sensors activated to trigger a stop, or was there a mechanical malfunction that stopped the ride and prevented it from continuing? 
  • Number of people on board during the stoppage. If unknown how many people were on the ride when it stopped, report the capacity of the ride vehicle, e.g., the train, and the number of vehicles stopped, if more than one.
  • The duration of the stoppage (time until restart or completion of evacuation)
  • Whether ride was restarted and unloaded at the normal unload station, or evacuated from the stop location.
  • Whether any patrons were injured in the process and the nature and severity of injury.

Reporting the context:

Context used to make the report more engaging for the audience must not substitute for description of the nature of the event and the ride.

Context reporting may quote the rider, their companions, operators, witnesses, and business spokespeople about the sounds, appearance, maintenance history, behaviour of the injured person, operator behaviour that may account for why and how the event happened, and other description and speculation. Likewise, patrons often provide colourful statements of compliment about emergency response or evacuation procedures, complaint about post-event communication, or dissatisfaction about rides being unavailable pending investigation. These are often of interest to readers or viewers, but do not replace description of what happened in this event.

Context also may include reference to previous accidents involving the same model of ride at other venues, the same ride at this venue, or other rides operated by the same operator. Avoid implying common causation for dissimilar, unrelated past events, even those that coincidentally involve the same ride. The article should make the transition from current event to past event(s) clear to the reader.

For comments and guidance for use of this reporting template, please email
kathryn [dot] woodcock [at] ryerson [dot] ca