Your View: Coverage of a Planned Parenthood Rally Gets One Viewer Upset

4 years 1 week 4 days ago September 18, 2012 Sep 18, 2012 Tuesday, September 18 2012 Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:03:00 PM CDT in Your View
By: Elizabeth Miller & Kyle Tons

COLUMBIA - In August, KOMU 8 sent a live reporter to cover a Planned Parenthood event. One viewer was angered over how the live reporter worded her report on what was going on at the event. KOMU 8 takes a look back at how the reporter may have used a poor choice of words.

The live reporter said, "This election season has sparked Planned Parenthood's largest ever campaign efforts. We're getting all set up here, we have some t-shirt tables getting set up for everyone to come. We've got a few Columbia police officers back here."

The viewer who sent in a complaint chose to remain anonymous, but was angered at how the reporter associated KOMU 8 as part of Planned Parenthood and seemed to support the event.

The viewer's email read: "It was a prime example of slanted, one-sided reporting. The reporter repeatedly included herself, and consequently KOMU 8 in the Planned Parenthood group...The segment was very unprofessional and anything but accurate, impartial reporting."

KOMU 8 and its reporters attempt to remain completely impartial, but sometimes a slip of the tongue can give the report a different message.

So how did KOMU 8 address the live reporter's problem as the day went on? We asked the supervising producer at KOMU 8, Jeimmie Nevalga, about how fixing the error occurred. 

"When you're at an event that is very controversial for some people, it can make it sound like you're siding with the event, that you were there with the event. We then contacted the reporter and made sure she was aware that she was probably not intending to use the word 'we' during the entire hit but this is what it sounds like and this is how it's being portrayed on TV," said Nevalga.

The student journalists at KOMU are taught to be impartial and to keep themselves and their opinions out of their reporting. The reporter should not have used the word "we" because KOMU does not support Planned Parenthood or any other partisan organization.

Since KOMU 8 is a news organization that is comprised of mostly student reporters at the University of Missouri-Columbia, complaints from viewers in the community become lessons for reporters.

Please tune in each Friday at 6 p.m., as we bring you "your view" of the news.

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