Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gold Star Plates, death of a TV newsroom, and an ethical debate

Big news last night from Columbus where State Senator John Husted says that the Ohio House will pass Senate Bill 25 which creates special license plates for our Gold Star families. The GS groups have been quite hurt that the issue had stalled in Columbus and looked to be delayed until next year. The target date to cross the T's and dot the I's in Dec. 12th.

While the local GS mothers are certainly pleased, some are still quite ticked off. Seems the letters they wrote to members of the Ohio House explaining their personal grief of losing their sons in combat were greeted with "To Whom It May Concern" letters as a response from one State Rep. Steve Reinhard of Bucyrus.

Wouldn't you be offended if you were those mothers? I'm working on a story .. so stay tuned.

Yesterday's tragedy in Hinckley certainly put local broadcast outlets in an ethical dilemma. How much of the 9-1-1 call is appropriate to play on the air? The mother on the other end told the dispatcher that she needed help as she tried to talk her adult son into calming down .. moments later, he stabbed her to death. The entire call, as I understand, was released to the media yesterday.

So how much of the call do we air on the evening news? Any of it? All of it? Should we air more at 11 than 6 because kids have gone to sleep? Should we put all of it on the Internet? In the end, we used only two short clips in our 10 and 11 p.m. stories .. and left the graphic ones on the cutting room floor as they say. Still, these are the ethical debates that tie newsrooms up in knots because the business is so competitive.


And finally, My heart breaks for my TV brethren to the East ... looks like consolidation will put a bunch of hard-working, underpaid crews in Youngstown out on the Street. I'd heard rumors already but Ohio Media Watch has the goods.


Anonymous said...

I thought Channel 3 did a great job regarding the 911 call. I appreciate their restraint. We did not need to hear the graphic and disturbing words to get a grasp on the tragic story. It was tragic enough without it. Sometimes I think that the extreme violence and the media attention after the fact, desensitizes the public.


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