Thursday, April 29, 2010
News director "astounded" others followed his lead
Just spoke with Steve Schwaid, the Atlanta TV news director who apologized for his station showing video of the wife of the Branford, Conn., slaying suspect falling to the ground and sobbing.
Schwaid, (inset) who worked in West Hartford at WVIT-30 in the mid-1990s, said the wife didn't even know her husband had been arrested the day before.
"One would hope the system would have alerted her," said Schwaid. "If we had known she didn't know, we wouldn't have been there."
Schwaid said he knew it was wrong to show that scene right after it aired.
"This was video you didn't need to see," he said. "Sometime with war or crime stories. you use video to illustrate a point. ... But we could have written that she fell to the floor. We didn't need to show that. We're having a very serious conversation here about (such issues)."
Schwaid said in a time of senior people leaving the news business and young people entering, it's a "tough time, a challenging time" to maintain a level of good news values.
"You do far better by taking the high road. If you have video that makes you feel uncomfortable," he said of news producers, reconsider it.
As for WTNH-8 and other state stations picking up that footage and running it (from the CNN news feed service), Schwaid said, "It's one thing we made a mistake, OK I can deal with that. But in the case of TNH or others, they've taken it off the feed... the material was sitting on the server (with time for consideration). Why would you run it? ... I'm astounded."