Today I learned that the media has no boundaries.
I could dig up many stories from all over the world to support this fact, but today it was a local station that brought this to mind. Apparently, a reporter from KSDK (local St. Louis channel) went into a local high school and asked to speak to them about security, without disclosing him or herself as a reporter. When the reporter couldn’t be found or contacted after this first encounter, the school went on lockdown.
The news station released a statement that said this was not their intention while the school’s statement said they were just following protocol for a stranger who seemed suspicious. While KSDK did not mention anything about the lockdown on their Twitter feed as it was happening, their competitors and viewers certainly did.
So sure, people are mad. KMOV, another local news channel, put together a list of backlash, while the blogging staff at the Riverfront Times put together “9 Investigative Reports KSDK Should Work On Now After That Epic School Safety Story”. This isn’t the first time a news station has tried to test a school’s security, as the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported; the other incidents resulted in police investigations against the reporter.
After all the drama that took place yesterday, KSDK never actually apologized for what they did, only for the result. Like when a kid says they are sorry, but they are really only sorry they got caught. I understand what they were trying to accomplish, but schools practice safety lockdowns regularly, and after last year’s tragedy at Sandy Hook, practice is enough. The kids, parents and teachers don’t need to experience, what they perceive to be, a real threat to their loved ones.
The most tragic part of this is that KSDK lost their credibility. Today, in Hillsboro MO, a real lockdown situation took place and this time, KSDK reported it. Guess what their viewers had to say about this scary situation:
From this situation, we did learn that Kirkwood needs to have a look at tightening their security, but I do not agree with the news station’s tactics and I do not believe that it is the responsibility of a reporter or news station to create a story to report. What do you think?
To be fair, as we part, here’s the story KSDK ran as a result of their “tests”.
For more on this story and the PR reprecussions it resulted in, visit Between You and Me, There’s PR.