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Showing posts from February 3, 2008

To News or Not to News; That is the Question

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©2008 by LeeZard


Here’s a media ethics question: where is the line between news and the invasion of privacy? We all know the cliché about local TV news, “if it bleeds it leads.” But, the issue goes beyond the tube; all branches of the news media trade in personal tragedy, big and small. Murder and mayhem are relatively cheap and easy to cover. Additionally, they appeal to our societal hunger for gossip, which means ratings and readers.

Granted, big tragedies – commercial plane crashes, train wrecks, earthquakes, major weather events and the like – are news. What troubles me is when those in the news business go overboard in attempts to “humanize” these major stories or, when they make someone’s individual tragedy – a hit-and-run-accident, an assault or some other crime – “news.” Let me give you a couple of examples – one from my earliest days in broadcasting at a three-station radio network on Long Island and the other from my last posting as a reporter in the late 1990's for KIRO N…