WIUM Tristates Public Radio

News Department Tells Viewers to Take Action

Jan 10, 2017

A Florida TV station had its live New Year's Eve coverage interrupted by a young man who ran in front of the camera and shouted a derogatory comment about women. 

The reporter on the scene and the anchor in the studio both apologized to viewers for allowing the offensive language to air. A few days later the station used social media to criticize the man’s actions, adding, “If you know this guy, thank him for showing southwest Florida his true character.”

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said that generated some discussion in journalism circles as to whether the station should have made a call to action against the interloper. She said older journalists she knows generally disagreed with the station’s decision while younger reporters she knows did not seem bothered by it.

Crighton said she helped run a TV station’s social media sites a few years ago. She said employees were not allowed to respond to comments from the audience – the station simply posted its content online and allowed people to talk about it if they so desired.

Panelist Will Buss said the Florida station should have taken the high road instead of responding several days after the fact. He said the station did not exercise good judgment in deciding to make the matter an issue. 

Panelist Rich Egger also questioned why the station waited several days to issue its call to action.  He said it might be understandable if the station reacted angrily in the heat of the moment, but he felt most people had probably forgotten about the matter after a couple days so why bring it up again?