YOUR VIEW: Covering Michael Sam's Coming Out

4 years 2 months 2 days ago Thursday, February 20 2014 Feb 20, 2014 Thursday, February 20, 2014 7:23:00 PM CST February 20, 2014 in Your View
By: Hayley Buck and Taylor Barth, KOMU 8 Reporters
loading

COLUMBIA - When former University of Missouri football player Michael Sam released a statement announcing that he was gay, the news made national headlines.

KOMU 8 News chose to cover the announcement extensively, and the story led several newscasts. Coverage continued online and on-air as KOMU 8 News invested time and effort to search for community reaction.

Sam had spoken with The New York Times, and interviewed with ESPN. The story broke nationwide, but as a former Missouri Tiger football player, KOMU 8 News investigated the local impact, and the response from the university's athletic department.

Some viewers felt that a man's sexual orientation did not warrant coverage at all.

"Anything for a story...Really KOMU?" said viewer Tonya Turner on Facebook.

Viewer Barbara Johnson said, "I don't feel that someone's sexual preference should be considered news. What he did was probably hard for him and took a lot of courage but it's his business not ours! There are more important things going on in this world than whether a person is gay!"

KOMU 8 News Director Stacey Woelfel said because Sam is a public figure in the community, his announcement was of public interest.

"It's one of those rare stories where the source controls the newsworthiness a lot," Woelfel said. "Usually we think that we'll decide what's newsworthy and in this case because the source decided to make this a public announcement, he's already a public figure, a celebrity if you want to call them that, that gave it newsworthiness when he decided to make it a public announcement."

Other viewers understood why KOMU 8 News included this story in its news coverage, but argued that the subject matter shouldn't be of public interest to begin with. Viewer Beau Hammel said to those who argued a lack of news value.

"You are right it shouldn't matter. But it does due to the inequalities and hate that LGBT people face in our country," Hammel said.

In response, KOMU 8 spoke with Dr. Cyndi Frisby, an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. Frisby teaches a course focusing on minority coverage in journalism. She said the way this story breaks stereotypes is what makes it newsworthy.

"It shouldn't have been news, but at the same time it has to be to kind of challenge our culture in perhaps what we consider to be, and I keep saying this, masculine," Frisby said. "It challenges us to think of the stereotypes."

Let us know what you think about our coverage of Michael Sam's announcement. Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or email us at news@komu.com.

 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The People for Ethical treatment of Animals, PETA, protested Tuesday against animal research on MU's campus. Organizer... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 5:01:00 PM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
MISSOURI - A new report from the Violence Policy Center, a non-profit group advocating for gun control, shows that Missouri... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
ASHLAND - As prom season begins, Rock Bridge High School said it will be breathalyzing its students upon entry to... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 2:04:00 PM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS — The legal battle between lawyers from Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and St. Louis prosecutors is escalating, with... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 1:19:00 PM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As prom and graduation seasons approach, underage drinking has become a hot topic in schools and amongst the... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:24:00 PM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County deputies arrested a man on Monday after he allegedly tried to meet up with who he... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 9:01:30 AM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society is celebrating its 75th anniversary, but its leadership isn't content with where the... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:44:00 AM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - On Monday, more than 100 volunteers began the week-long effort to deliver more than 5,700 meals to raise... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 7:04:00 AM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council met Monday night in a work session to discuss ways to improve Columbia's water... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 8:00:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA – Hundreds gathered at the first ever Japanese Spring Festival on MU’s campus Monday afternoon. Student Momoko Tamamura came... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 7:21:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY – One local woman is reflecting on her decision to vote for President Donald Trump after some have... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 7:00:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The law firm representing the ex-husband of the woman who had an affair with Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 5:45:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Democratic Missouri state lawmaker says he won't step down despite facing backlash for repeatedly calling... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 5:21:20 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - MU staff members spent Monday afternoon discussing how the university could become Columbia's "employer of choice" again with... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 5:05:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Residents moving into the Lynn Street Cottages in Columbia not only obtain four new walls, they also receive... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 4:14:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Students at Rock Bridge High School will be attending prom this weekend, and for the first time ever,... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 4:13:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Continuous News
JOPLIN - An EF-5 tornado struck the city of Joplin on May 22, 2011. The next day Jeff Neal, a... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 3:29:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Tax reform in Missouri is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Missouri House Ways... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:56:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
6pm 72°
7pm 70°
8pm 68°
9pm 66°