COLUMBIA - In February, KOMU 8 aired a three part series on the Steven Rios case. Rios was convicted for murdering Jesse Valencia nearly a decade ago in Columbia. Two KOMU reporters worked for several months, traveling to South Dakota to interview Rios, his ex-wife, his in-laws, and lawyers.
KOMU received feedback from viewers that reporters should have interviewed Valencia's mother and that by not doing so, KOMU glamorized the story of the perpetrator, instead of the victim. KOMU8 reporters have interviewed Valencia's mother in the past, but she was not interviewed for this series.
In this 'Your View', KOMU8's news director explained the decision making process behind the most recent Rios story. "This was a story to see whether the system worked or not. Here's somebody saying he's not guilty and there are other people saying the same thing, and they do not have a reason to," said KOMU 8 News Director Stacey Woelfel.
Since the story aired, Valencia's mother has reached out to a KOMU reporter who will be interviewing her this week.