In reference to the local media obsession with “shock n Awe” style reporting – I say “Res ipsa loquitur” another words, please avoid pandering to lurid curiosity…….


I figured out why I did not remember WKMG, in my youth it ws known as WDBO.
the fact that, the station change callsign to WKMG in honor of longtime
Washington Post publisher, Katharine M. Graham. Why, I'll get to that later...

With that out of the way the reason for this post is to address my on going
disagreement with how the media covers local news issues.

When does a story become News? Why is one story covered more than another?
Do commerical and recuitment advertising revenue trump our communities right
to know the whole truth, whether the person whom the story is about fits the criteria
the media outlets want populated on their websites. Do website revenues mean more
to editors and publishers, than mental, physical or social wellbeing of community,
when they claim to be looking out for us, or are they really looking out for Number 1.
As in ranking number 1.

I have written more in the past six months, than I did althrough grade school.
I think if I am to learn anything from the news programs, is that the local stations
ratings hungry as their big brother affiliates.  The media, while covering the recent
suicides/homicide by two central florida residents chose to air the security video footage.
The airing of the video may not fall under any legislative law, but in a cynical attempt
to increase ratings, it place them on a slippery slope.

The story posted on the TV stations respective websites and in their evening broadcast
stated what happen, "Res ipsa loquitur", adding the video footage was not unnecessary.
So when 26-year-old Jason Kevin McCarthy, was found Monday at the same shooting/pratice
range in Casselberry, FL., with a gunshot wound to the head. At the time of the story was first aired,
the video footage was not released by FDLE.

The TV station that originally broke the story, offered, that they would update their website,
if the video footage was be made available. I found this paragraph, in which  it addressed,
the ever increasing diregard for the vitims and their families.   I refer to this -

               "The privilege of broadcasting carries with it a fiduciary duty
 (an assumption of trust) and a mandate to act in the public interest.
 Broadcasters, then, are subject to the same or more stringent limits
 as private citizens—there is no “extra” protection afforded them.
 The law on intentional infliction of emotional distress, while vague,
 involves behavior so outrageous that it “shocks the conscience”
 and therefore doesn’t have a place in a “civilized society.” Standards
 have also been created that address “depraved indifference”
 towards a victim or the “reckless disregard” of another’s well-being." [1]
 

Another example is The latest attempt of "on air" trump game, I titled -"One friend sent
the email, The friend who recieved the email, subsequently threw the sender of the email
under the perverbial bus.

WFTV-Channel 9, reported in its noon news on Tuesday that Orlando might have its first
case of swine flu. The swine-flu information came in an e-mail from Florida Hospital's
chief medical officer, who was addressing another flu strain, when content of Dr. Lauran Hauck's
email was taken out of context and posted on twitter.

WFTV's news director Bob jordon, posted -
"UPDATE: Orlando Swine flu patient is Mexican tourist who visited Walt Disney World."
- - And mean while, back at the south street ranch, WFTV reporter Kathi Belich said.

The patient: a tourist from Mexico who was visiting Disney." as if repeating misconstrued
information again, would make the story come true.

While it took over eight hours for WFTV to Update their story on the web, it took only half that
time for the competition to offer blame, even though for they themselves followed the twit,
twittering into the Internet abyss. As of this writing, the search found 6,190 links, sending
people to websites all over the globe.

  "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect
   a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.[2]

When will the TV News stations adhere to the principle of limitation means that some weight needs
to be given to the negative consequences of full disclosure. To Recognize that gathering and reporting
of the news may cause harm or discomfort, to avoid pandering to lurid curiosity. The pursuit of a news
story is not a license for arrogance.

I figured out why I did not remember WKMG, in my youth it was known as WDBO. the fact that,
the station change callsign to WKMG in honor of longtime Washington Post publisher,
Katharine M. Graham. Daughter of Eugene Meyer, and owner of record in 1933 of the Washington
Post Company.  WKMG is owned and operated by Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc a subsidiary
of the Washington Post Company. 
By honoring Ms. Graham, they also have the duty to uphold the honors that were bestowed upon her,
including but not limited to the "Elijah Parish Lovejoy" award. The award represented Mr. Lovejoy's 
dual commitment to both freedom and freedom of the press , in his supported the freeing and emancipation 
of slaves. During his career as a journalist and owner of the Alton Observer, his well known protest 
against the hanging of a free African American man, whom at the who was jailed in suspicion of murder.
  
Based on the judges instructions to the Grand jury, no legal action was taken. At the time of his death, 
by murder,  Lovejoy had been chased, shoot at and his press was set afire. Lovejoy was considered  
a martyr by the abolition movement.  The Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award, given annually by Colby College,
Lovejoy's alma mater, honors a member of the newspaper profession who has contributed to the nation's 
journalistic achievement.... 
I do not think Ms. Graham, or Mr. Loyjoy would approve of the format  the local TV stations have 
adopted, least of all that of WKMG.

[1] Preston Coleman, PhD
[2] Aikens v. Wisconsin, 195 U.S. 194, 205, 206.
[3] orig. WFTV 19311020 story Id.
Posted: 10:41 am EDT April 28, 2009
Updated: 6:38 pm EDT April 28, 2009
[4] Society of Professional Journalists, SPJ Code of Ethics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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