YOUR VIEW: Covering Michael Sam's Coming Out

4 years 2 months 1 day 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 - On Monday, more than 100 volunteers began the week-long effort to deliver more than 5,700 meals to raise... More >>
30 minutes 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 >>
11 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 >>
12 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 >>
12 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 >>
13 hours 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 >>
14 hours 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 >>
14 hours 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 >>
15 hours 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 >>
15 hours 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 >>
16 hours 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 >>
16 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:56:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JOPLIN - More businesses, new schools and new homes- one drive through Joplin reveals a clear transformation from devastation to... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:20:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Lawmakers in Missouri added a $3 million dollar line to the Attorney General’s budget for sexual assault... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:11:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on shooting at Tennessee restaurant that left four dead (all times local):... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 1:22:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - When it comes to losing weight, many of us start with looking at our diet. Are we eating... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 12:21:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Weekly Wellness
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens say they will seek to disqualify prosecutors in the... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 11:37:40 AM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Only one week old, Molly was outside in the snow and sleet. She was found in a... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 11:14:00 AM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A former volunteer at a small Missouri museum has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars' worth... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 11:04:00 AM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 50°
8am 53°
9am 55°
10am 58°
11am 64°