Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Should The News Orgs Do Stories About Their Own Staffers?

Someone harassed a pregnant meteorologist in Oklahoma City on twitter recently:

“How much longer till the grotesquely pregnant weather lady goes on leave,” wrote someone using “nvrqt” as their handle. “She covers 1/2 the screen.”

This comes just four months after Philadelphia meteorologist Katie Fehlinger experienced the same type of harassment. After appearing on air delivering the weather while pregnant, she found a comment posted to her Facebook wall that said she looked like "sausage in casing." Another commenter said, "Sticking your pregnant abdomen out like that is disgusting."

In a facebook retort, Fehlinger wrote:

Frankly, I don't care how "terrible" or "inappropriate" anyone thinks I look. I will gladly gain 50 pounds & suffer sleepless, uncomfortable nights if it means upping my chances to deliver 2 healthy baby girls.

News organizations began writing about her reaction.

Her own station talked about her pregnancy frequently on air - presenting her situation with the online commenters, visiting the nursery she set up for the yet-to-be-born twins and then reporting when her twins were actually born.

Clearly, being pregnant on air should not evoke such negativity - despite some people suggesting women present themselves in a certain way, regardless of the weather or other factors.

But should the station have done stories about their own staffer?

First of all, there is a conflict of interest in reporting on your own team. Can you be fair and objective? Second, by doing stories after the hype of her Facebook response, following up with other stories about her pregnancy seems almost exploitative.

On the other hand, her response to the online haters evoked a powerful response from viewers. And journalists should be providing information pertaining to what people are interested in, right?

Would you do a story about a colleague?


Dominic Barone said...

It's hard to be objective and speak your mind about a co-worker, especially one who is pregnant. Would you really tell this woman to her face she doesn't belong on TV? If so, how big of a dickhead are you? And if someone in your news station IS the story, I think there's somewhat of a problem there whether or not it was provoked. You should be diverting attention away from her, supporting her, and moving on. We should be talking about other things like the poisonous water in Flint, or the countless other stories that deserve 2397089752987 times the attention a pregnant weather woman is receiving.

Nadira Goffe said...

I don't think I would do a story about a colleague because not only is hard to be objective, but I wouldn't want to put my opinion out there and jeopardize anything else hanging in the balance. Especially, if the news is based off of something as stupid as what this is based off of. If my coworker didn't commit a horrible crime that was breaking news or a big story, than I probably wouldn't choose to cover it.