Q13 not the norm

One of the things that drives me most crazy is when people’s unfounded suspicions, superstitions, magical thinking and faulty logic is confirmed by real world events. Q13

These coincidental alignments of fantasy and reality are often responsible for this country’s voodoo culture which encourages bad science, prayer in place of study, misappropriated authority, litigiousness and the evolution of the Nanny State.

With that said, please don’t leap to a lot of conclusions about TV news when considering the scandal at Q13. In a quarter century involved in journalism one way or another, most of it in TV, I have NEVER worked in a situation where some sort of overarching institutional bias has dominated newsgathering decisions.

I will go as far as to say that incidents like the cover-up at Q13 are extremely rare. Strangely enough, the times that I have seen it also involved owning the Most Wanted or Crimestoppers franchises – and those were only hunches we had based on our observations of the competition’s behavior.

I guess what I’m hoping you take away is the idea that most local TV news operations are pretty straightforward operations. We don’t send people out the door with an agenda in mind. Yes, local TV is probably too business friendly because of the built-in conflicts with advertisers, but that’s about it really. Very rarely does a sales monkey or GM show up in the newsroom asking for a little consideration. Usually, they’re patted on the head and sent packing back up stairs.

Yes FOX and the rest of the nets are defined ideologically, but by-and-large, your local news team is out doing the best it can with what it has.

As a 25 year member of RTNDA, a graduate student at the biggest J-School in America, a follower of the industry and as a practitioner – I can tell you that what happened at Q13 is one of the most egregious examples of news gathering and ethical negligence ever – joining the ranks of other case-studies around the country that are the stuff of term papers and post-mortems at seminars.

Standards have been heading down hill for a long time, but believe it or not, there is still a long way to go before the industry sinks as far as Q13 fell.