Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Reporter's Side of the Story

Yesterday, we criticized KMTV and KETV for running interviews with the mom and brother of a Council Bluffs boy run over and killed by a school bus. Channel 3's Michelle Bandur posted the following comment in response:

There is nothing I loathe more about my job, than to interview a grieving family or cover a funeral. It's difficult enough when horrible things happen to your OWN family. I'm sure Brandi would agree with me. Then why do we do these stories, you ask?

First of all, if a family doesen't want to talk..I don't push. I tell them I'm sorry for their loss and leave them alone. Justin's family had a story to tell. They wanted to share their love and grief for their family member. Justin's mother and his older brother, Jake not only had a message, but they wanted the world to know what a sweet boy they had in their life. They wanted everyone to know about Justin and for everyone to look at his adorable face. Jake asked me to tell my viewers to be careful..to watch for kids when you're out driving. Who better to send that message than someone who knows? He asked me to tell people to be careful so another kid doesn't die needlessly. It's powerful stuff. and if we, as reporters, can get one driver out there to listen to a grieving kid...and slow down and watch out... I have no trouble sleeping at night.

We still disagree with the practice and would like to see all news stations back away from expecting reporters to go after these families. Nevertheless, we appreciate Michelle's willingness to share her point of view publicly.

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