YOUR VIEW: Was student collapsing newsworthy?

1 year 1 month 4 days ago October 29, 2015 Oct 29, 2015 Thursday, October 29 2015 Thursday, October 29, 2015 7:29:00 PM CDT in News
By: Conner Handel and Chris Gothner, KOMU 8 Reporters

COLUMBIA - In early October, KOMU 8 News covered a story about a Centralia middle school student who collapsed on a mile run. 

The girl wasn't conscious or breathing, but luckily, she survived.

The day KOMU 8 initially reported the story, some viewers wrote on Facebook that they did not think the story was newsworthy. 

Felicia Mae Rateliff said, "I do not understand why this is news. This is a personal matter for that student and her parents. This seems to have been posted to generate some kind of controversy and it is poor journalism". Amanda Green said, "If this was my kid I sure wouldn't want KOMU reporting it."

KOMU 8 reported the story after hearing it on the scanner and receiving a press release from the district.

"The conversation our news director and I had is because the school sent out a news release and because this girl was unconscious and not breathing, this is different than just passing out," KOMU 8 Content Manager Matt Johnson said. "That's a near death experience."

Katherine Reed, the public safety and health editor with the Columbia Missourian and MU associate professor of journalism, disagreed. She said the story KOMU 8 reported was not newsworthy.

"For me it does not raise itself to the level of a story," Reed said. "Just because a thing happens, and we hear it on the scanner doesn't mean we need to write about it."

But Johnson said there was enough public interest in the story to make it worthy of coverage.

"There was enough public interest," Johnson said. "You could tell that specifically because of the way the school was proactively trying to publicize this."

We want to hear from you. Was this story worth covering? Could we have covered it better?

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or email us, then watch KOMU 8 News at 6 p.m. Fridays to see our Your View segment.

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