6 months ago
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.”
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?