Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pray for the Church

Tuned In: After suicide, stations should rethink 'gotcha stories'
Monday, November 06, 2006By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The "sweeps" months, when local TV news promotions and "special reports" are at their most over-the-top, have become a routine annoyance to discerning television viewers. Less than a week into the current November sweeps period, they've taken a tragic turn.
The Rev. Brent Dugan, pastor of Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon, committed suicide last week after KDKA-TV aired a series of promotions for a Marty Griffin report that suggested Dugan was involved in illicit behavior.

Some viewers sent me understandably emotional e-mails that were as hyperbolic as the TV news promos they decry (one subject line: "KDKA's Assassination of Ben Avon Pastor"). That goes too far. It was Dugan's choice to overdose on aspirin and alcohol in a Mercer County motel. But this tragic outcome ought to make reporters and news directors in all newsrooms, particularly KDKA management and Griffin, take a contemplative look at the impact salacious, fear-mongering sweeps-month promos and reports can have. (click the title for entire story)


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