Thursday, June 29, 2006
KY3 website has no mention of reporters' arrest
A quick examination of KY3's website shows no mention of Tuesday's incident in Clinton in which a reporter and a photographer were arrested when they did not move after Missouri Highway Patrol troopers told them to.
The Springfield station has six stories on the collapse of the Elks Lodge building in which one man was killed on its website, but no mention of the incident which has become a major topic of discussion in newsrooms across the state, and thanks to publicity from blogs such as Lost Remote, across the nation.
The station's coverage of the collapse was thorough, which is documented on the website, with stories and video links, and despite the hubbub over the arrest, the building's collapse and the death were the most important stories. Still, it would seem that KY3 should have something on the site.
What happened to reporter Sara Sheffield, pictured, and photographer Cliff Erwin, on the face of it, would seem to exemplify the type of cutthroat local journalism that I satirized in Small Town News, but a close examination of the situation shows it to be a bit more complex.
Ms. Sheffield and Erwin were not interfering with law enforcement officers and rescue workers. They were in a public section, just not the media section. Sure, it can be argued that they should have stayed where they were told, but wouldn't it have made more sense to let them do their job, get their footage on the air and perhaps keep other sightseers glued to their television screens instead of heading for the Elks building site.
While I can understand the necessity of keeping control when you have a situation that draws a swarm of media, wouldn't keeping them with the public have done the job just as well?
It is too easy to play the blame the media game and people are far too quick to get in line and take their shots. This one merits a closer examination and a reasoned discussion.
Here are some links to KY3's Clinton coverage:
Building collapse killed one man
Rescue took hours because of age of historic building
Elks Lodge leader was brother, father, jokester, friend
Elks Lodge collapse damaged building next door
Building collapse shows need to protect old structures
Elks Lodge building rumbled before it collapsed
Surprisingly, no mention of the incident can be found on the websites of the other Springfield television stations either. KOLR and KSFX, the Nexstar stations, have solid coverage of the building collapse, while KSPR has no mention of it.
The print media, of course, had the story