WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Giving Hugs to News Sources

Dec 3, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss whether it’s appropriate for a reporter to hug a news source.

The RTDNA reported on an example involving a TV reporter from Missouri who covered a wrongful conviction case. The RTDNA said the hug “…sparked a vigorous debate over the appearance of media bias.” 

Panelist Rich Egger said reporters should avoid such actions, which he thinks cross a line. He also believes a TV reporter is much more likely to hug a source than a newspaper or radio reporter.

Panelist Lisa Kernek acknowledged reporters sometimes become emotionally attached to a story, especially one they’ve covered for a while, and she thinks it’s okay to occasionally show some emotion. But Kernek was troubled by a Tweet from the reporter seeking donations to benefit the wrongfully convicted man.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia said TV reporters are encouraged to Tweet such information and are encouraged to play up their human side. She said the audience doesn’t like cold, hard journalists that don’t show any emotion. She said a reporter’s “likeability” is important in TV.

Garcia believes people are making a bigger deal out of the hug than they should, and she doubted the hug was included in any of the reporter’s news coverage.