When KTLA TV News in Los Angeles discovered itself in the uncomfortable position of covering a vigil when the crowd turned its anger on the media, the station made that the foal point of its story. Was this necessary? Or hype? Is the main story that there was a shooting followed by an autopsy followed by a predominantly peaceful vigil, or was the story that a single loud-mouth protestor took objection to the cameras?
See for yourself. KTLA News opted to lead with the ‘threats’ in its anchor lead, its reporter’s on camera toss, and in the opening sequence of the video itself. A trifecta of self-indulgent ‘we are the the story.’
Only then – after that non-event was exhausted – did the story go on to cover what was a peaceful expression of the community’s sadness.
Maybe at worst this is poor judgment and self indulgent – the consequence of emotion running rampant over judicious news judgment. But – where were the elders of the news department? Where were those with more experience to know that the real story was not about the media, and never was, nor should it ever be. As witnesses to an event we are not supposed to become as important as the event itself. And when, for instance, does a stupid person’s threat become more important than the event itself?
The station may counter that the community’s rage was a part of the story… really? One loud-mouthed person now represents the entire community? It just seems lame to suggest that even as a supposed defense for poor news judgment. Just saying.