DISCLAIMER: The following views are the sole views of Jeremy Moses, and are not necessarily the views of any local television station, reporter or station ownership.
There are times when we here at Tri-State Media Watch cover the human side of TV news, such as food drives, coat drives, and other things like that.
Then...there are times when we have to cover the negatives of TV news...firings, departures, and deaths.
This is a bit of both.
If you live in Cincinnati or northern Kentucky and you watch local newscasts, you know that a fire broke out in Ludlow, Kentucky last night. That's just across the river from Cincinnati, and a few minutes west of Covington. The fire took the lives of two children and their grandmother, who have since been identified. We won't reprint those names, so as to avoid causing more pain to the family.
The human side of TV news came through when WKRC-TV 12 traffic reporter Bob Herzog decided to cancel the popular "Dance Party Friday" segment for the day, saying that it just "wasn't the right time", to paraphrase his statements.
The negative? That, according to viewers, came through when reporter Angenette Levy got an interview with the father of the deceased children "just minutes", we hear, after he found out about their deaths.
I can see both sides of the latter, and commend the former. Mr. Herzog is right...doing a lighthearted segment just after news of a deadly fire doesn't look right, doesn't reflect well on any news station, and doesn't feel right to me either.
As for Ms. Levy... it might seem insensitive at first glance. But, if the father hadn't wanted to talk, he could've simply said, "No comment" or something to that effect. I suspect the reporter wouldn't have pressed the issue in this case. It's that simple.
Reporters have a human side, too. They AREN'T, despite what some people may think, trained robots sent to get the news at any cost. They're humans. They breathe, eat, sleep...and feel emotions, just like any television viewer.
I can imagine that Levy probably did NOT, in all actuality, even WANT to get those comments. If it were up to yours truly, I wouldn't want to do it. In fact, I probably would NOT have made that attempt. But I can't blame her for trying. Was it the wrong time? Yeah, probably. Could she have waited several days to get the story? Yes. It still would've had the same impact.
But again...the father wanted to talk to the station...and did so of his own free will. He's since granted interviews to the other 3 stations in town.
We have to add: This fire took place 4-5 hours before this morning's newscasts, according to news reports, happening just before 11 PM Thursday night. We don't know when Levy actually did the interview. It could have been minutes, or it could've been an hour or two. Or it could've been this morning. For all we know, Levy works early mornings - so it would've been this morning.
We don't know the family involved. But the loss of two four year old girls and their own parent has to be hitting the family hard.
As such...we do extend our sympathies and prayers to the family. And we hope that, if indeed the interview was minutes after the fire as we've heard, TV stations perhaps learn something from this...that sometimes, getting the story first will mean some backlash...
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