Tuesday, November 14, 2006

After suicide, stations should rethink 'gotcha stories'

KDKA issues apology, Owen calls for restraint - (11/7) Was the suicide of a Ben Avon church pastor the fault of KDKA-TV (2)? Some viewers seem to think so. The station ran promos last week for a story that claimed investigative reporter Marty Griffin had uncovered "illicit, possibly illegal" activities by a minister. Though the minister wasn't named, the picture was of the Rev. Brent Dugan of Community Presbyterian Church. When the station learned that Dugan was suicidal, it pulled the story, but the damage was done; police say Dugan took his own life. Rob Owen of the Post-Gazette says the "activity" KDKA was going to expose was Dugan's trips to an adult bookstore --- seedy, but not "illegal" or "illicit." "There's not much in it to serve the public interest," says Owen, who asks if "TV station promos for stories of wrongdoing have to be so licking-their-chops sensational? They're designed to lure viewers, but clearly they can have unintended consequences as well."

Hat Tip to PBRTV


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