You did WHAT?!?

Facebook reveals many things about your acquaintances – it’s a fun way to socialize and remember old friends and play catch-up. But I saw a posting today that I honestly cannot believe.

A former co-worker at KOVR (CBS affiliate in Sacramento) posted:

“So is it bad that I covered an accident involving a big rig over turned loaded with onions, and then brought back giant sacks of onions to the news room? The purple ones AND the white ones.”

In the words of my (former) students – WTF?

What was he thinking – or was he even thinking? That is an accident…basically a crime scene and he is scavenging. Of course if the corporate boss or even CHP asked him to help clean up the mess by doing that – I can almost understand. Almost. But in all my years in news I never even THOUGHT about what he did.

And he might reply, “but, hey, you took stuff” and my response would be, “yeah…a gift offered. A bottle of wine, a meal sitting with a family we’d been working with all day. Produce from a farmers’ group (shared with the newsroom).” And or course, each of these “gifts” could be questioned…but they were offered, not just taken.

Sound off folks. Was he right or wrong? Let me know.

(What bothers me – ten of the eleven or so responses to his posting thought it was okay.)

Update: This was a minor accident too. Here’s the link.

And yeah, I’m pissed at this unethical behavior and yeah, I’ve taken him off my friend list.

5 thoughts on “You did WHAT?!?

  1. I suppose I can understand why reporters, especially young ones, at small TV stations might be tempted to do this. So many young reporters today are coming out of “communications” programs, not journalism programs. They also work for dirt pay at these small stations, which makes it hard to resist handouts, freebies and food. This trend will continue if conditions at local news stations keep getting worse. It’s not ethical, but ethics are the first thing out the window when you’re not paid or trained properly.

  2. We are not talking young, inexperienced. This guy is a few years younger than me probably making ove $60,000+. He is not hurting for money – this was “just for the fun of it” from what I can tell. And his co-workers and seemed to think it was funny. My problem is public perception – the media has a bad enough rap without them seeing someone in a marked car hauling off stuff from an accident.

  3. wow, not only was it wrong to do it, but to “brag” about it? WTF? is right.
    Now back in my TV news daze I remember getting a case of fruit from a wholesaler after we did a story on a group of their workers winning the lottery, but again that was a gift offered. and it was taken back to the station and placed out in the “lounge” for everyone. But to just take?

    I remember when the NYT bought one of the competing stations, ethics rules were so tight that while doing a story on a water crisis, the crew had to stand by watching two seasoned citizens gabbing at the water buffalo, jugs in hand, and even as deadline approached they could not ask the gentlemen to draw water from the tanker. (so someone else did) Something like this would have been grounds for an escort out the door.

  4. I cringed when I saw this in my RSS reader. Especially since any intern in that newsroom who witnessed that would learn that it was “okay in the real world.”

  5. I don’t wish that on my (former) co-worker. But he does need a good talking to. Unfortunately, from what I’ve heard, ethics is at an all-time low at the station. Anything goes to win the ratings game.

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