YOUR VIEW: Small Town Coverage

3 years 1 month 3 weeks ago April 05, 2013 Apr 5, 2013 Friday, April 05 2013 Friday, April 05, 2013 5:45:00 PM CDT in Your View
By: Veronica Polivanaya and Jessica Reese

MOBERLY - In recent weeks, some viewers have said on Facebook that KOMU is giving small towns a bad reputation. In particular, viewers have pointed out our Moberly coverage. On Mar. 29, 2013, KOMU reported that Moberly school district officials took away students' lunches if students owed lunch money to the school. On Apr. 1, 2013, KOMU reported about a shooting incident that left one dead and three injured in Randolph County. 

These stories, among others, have some viewers saying KOMU tries to paint small towns in a bad light. In relation to the story involving confiscated school lunches, Diane Harlan commented on Facebook, saying, "Wonders why all negative stuff comes out of Moberly. Don't they do anything good or right? Wish I could hear something nice for a change."

KOMU-8's Executive Producer Randy Reeves explained the station's news decision process. "I don't think it's a small town thing," Reeves said. "I think, in general, news often includes a lot of things that didn't work out right. I think we're always looking for a story about something that works really well, but, you know, that often depends on people giving us a call and letting us know about something that's really working out well in their community."

Another viewer, Nick Barnett, blamed KOMU-8's student staff for the negative Moberly coverage. Barnett commented, "There are a lot of good things going on in Moberly. KOMU just likes to find the bad things. Good stories don't look good on resumés." Corey Harding sided with Barnett, referencing our story involving confiscated school lunches. Harding commented, "What KOMU has done here, through their over-eager student, is shoddy journalism at best. Moberly residents should be as angry at KOMU for doing such crappy work regarding our town as they are at the district for denying a meal to a student." 

MU Journalism Professor Gary Grigsby explained the Missouri School of Journalism's approach to honing students' news judgment abilities. "I don't teach, you know, go after this story because it's a good news story, or go after this story because it's a bad news story," Grigsby said. "Just go after it because it's a story. And again, what's good news for some is gonna be bad news for someone else."

What do you think? Do you think KOMU only covers bad news when it happens in small towns? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Then watch Friday nights at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. as we report "Your View" of the news.

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