Thursday, June 21, 2012


WAITER, THERE'S A REPORTER IN MY SOUP: Daily journalism is a tough job. As they say, the news, like rust, never stops.

Print is hard enough, but when it comes to TV news reporting- with a much more limited number of words to get the idea through, and the loss of control that comes with producers, editors and anchors all getting a stab at your work- gaffs are not only more common but inevitable.

But Kristine Uyeno's "Action Line" report on KHON's 6 o'clock News yesterday contained more than a simple mistake. It actually made the "scam" being reported upon minor in comparison with the potential for a future re-rip-off of the 89-year-old grandmother who thought she had won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

The story appeared first on Tuesday and told of how the granddaughter couldn't stop her grandmother from sending off $30,000 in order to receive her prize- an all too common scam since legitimate sweepstakes and contests do not require people to send money in order to receive their winnings- until the grandmother saw the story on the news and finally acknowledged that she had been robbed.

We were busily engaged in a Bob Morris novel and so barely paying attention to the followup report on Wednesday night but we just happened to look up for a moment (see the 1:29 mark on-line) to see a "B-roll" shot of a piece of paper with a whole page apparently containing the accounting for all the payments the grandmother had sent out to the thieves.

And thanks to the magic of the DVR we were able to go back and see where, smack in the middle near the top, there was a listing saying "Card #" with a string of numbers starting with 8100- as many credit cards do- as well as a full page containing what appears to be lists of bank account numbers as well as, apparently, grandma's other financial information.

So, for those who may not be as criminally-minded as others, the poor old lady who had gotten scammed for $30,000 now stands to be a victim of identity theft- if not direct theft- all because someone edited in a shot the videographer caught on his camera and gave no thought to what information it might contain.

It all seems symptomatic of the new "stripped down news," produced by newsrooms that are filled with half as many reporters who are being asked to do twice as much work at half the wages. Many have fled journalism for the PR field and, although those that are left are usually the best and the brightest, this kind of thing shows what happens when they're spread too thin.

It's bad enough that this has led to a dearth of investigative and enterprise journalism. But it's simply unacceptable when even the crime reporting that remains is only a watered down gravy-substitute of pseudo-news, containing not just lumps but unknown and unidentifiable substances that can regurgitate causing heartburn aplenty for the already-ill.

1 comment:

KimoRosen said...

Andy, start your own paper, everyome would buy it including me.

The reporter who edited the copy should be fired...