I want to end on something positive. I want to give News 7 a pat on the back for not giving ourselves a pat on the back. Last weekend, it appears News 7 was the only tv station to have video from the car crash on Route 460 that killed a Liberty University professor and her son. In our editorial meeting, we debated do we say that on the air, "News 7 was the only one there" or do we call it an exclusive. In the end, we decided because two people died this wasn't the time to do that. I am glad News 7 went this route and it is one reason I like working here. We are not going to do something just because the tempetation is there or because we know our competitors would have done it if they were in this situation.
August 4, 2010
Common Courtesy/Conspiracy Theories
I've been wanting to write this for awhile but I've been reluctant. I don't want to come off as holier than thou or a hypocrite but two recent incidents forced me to complain. I've been amazed how rude and angry people have been lately. Let me give you a few examples.
I was recently at the City Market Building in downtown Roanoke. This guy came up to me and ranted how no one in Roanoke knows that Lee Plaza is dedicated to our veterans. He feels that is the news media's fault. He then said over and over again WDBJ had an obligation to put it on the news every night and the network news. I heard him out but he became so persistent that I had to walk away. Less than five minutes later, he came up to me again and started all over again. This gentleman, who is a World War II vet, may have a point. We should honor our vets but he was so rude I couldn't take him seriously.
This week this woman called to say FOX News wasn't coming in clearly on her TV. She thinks it is a conspiracy, that someone doesn't want her to watch Glenn Beck. I explained to her that she needed to call her cable company because it was probably a problem on its end. She yelled "you are obviously a liberal" and slammed the phone down. Btw, several stations including CNBC weren't coming in well so it wasn't just FOX News.
I also recently got an e-mail from a guy questioning why we ran a particular story. He said he was "suspicious" and wondered if someone told us to cover this story. I hear this every once in awhile. People think a politician or a government official order us to cover or not cover a certain story. In my twelve years in the news business, this has never happened. It wouldn't matter if they did. We don't allow politicians or a government official tell us what to cover.
I am writing this hoping to convince you not everything we do in the News 7 newsroom is based on an X Files episode. I also realize when many of you call or e-mail us you are angry but there's no need to swear, yell, or hang up the phone. If someone called you up and started screaming what would you want to do? You would probably hang up the phone yourself. There's a saying "kill them with kindness." I also remember my parents often saying when I was a kid "do unto yourself what you would do unto others." It still rings true today even for me.
July 29, 2010