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Reactions to TV Reporting

Posted: Mar 12, 2011 12:54 PM by Sarah Hill
Updated: Mar 12, 2011 1:00 PM

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Often on TV we have to find a way to explain a product or service in the fewest possible words. But sometimes we're accused of over-simplifying. MU's safe-ride program, "STRIPES," received more than 500 applications to fill a mere 150 spots for the Spring semester.

After KOMU aired this story, the STRIPES public relations manager, Andrew Worrall, complained KOMU did not describe the organization accurately in the web version of our story. The original web story said: "STRIPES" is a student-run, volunteer organization that provides free, safe and confidential rides home to MU students who've been drinking.

"The program isn't designed to only take intoxicated students home," explained Worrall. "We're a program that's just a safe ride program for anybody out there that needs a ride. If they're working late, on a bad date, anything like that. In addition to being inebriated, that's what we're there for."

KOMU rewrote the web story to read: "STRIPES is a student run, volunteer organization that primarily provides free, safe and confidential rides home to MU students who've been drinking."

"It's definitely more accurate," Worrall said. "I still think it emphasizes that we're there to take people home who've been drinking. We generally don't like to generate drinking as much as possible when we talk about ourselves. So we're a safe ride program. We're here to take people home safely, but that's it."

KOMU8's Executive Producer Randy Reeves explains the complaint was a little critical.

"I understand that they want to do other things but there's one thing they're primarily known for," he said. "In fact, it's in the first line of their vision statement on their website. They want to make sure the people don't have to wait and then make a bad choice to drink and drive."

The first line of STRIPES' vision statement says "STRIPES strives to become the most efficient safe ride program in the nation, with a continual focus on decreasing wait times...Thereby, decreasing the likelihood that a patron may make the choice to drink and drive."

"I think it just comes down to how you define primarily use our service because I would say probably close to half if not even more than half of our students," Worrall saidl. "The students that we take home have not been drinking."

"The students that I come in contact with, only know them for one thing," Reeves explained. "And that's what we said. That they take care of folks who've had too much to drink."

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