COLUMBIA - In March, KOMU 8 News reported a bus driver who was seen on surveillance footage hitting a child across the face with his bus route list. Columbia Police arrested Robert Harris Braid, 55, on third-degree assault charges. He was later released with a summons to appear.
The story was critiqued by viewers on both Facebook and the KOMU website. One viewer commented on Facebook saying, "From what I've read on here KOMU should be banned from reporting news and cited for igniting a riot. They just wanted to get everybody fired up and congrats they did just that," Patience Fox said. "I remember when reporting, you had to express ALL the view points for an article to published."
KOMU spoke with Content Manager Matt Johnson about the newsworthiness of the story. He ultimately decides what stories KOMU covers. "Anytime there are accusations that the police, and the school district and parents all are taking seriously, it's our job to take those seriously as well," Johnson said.
Another viewer said, "KOMU is supposed to report the news which requires both sides of a story. You need to report both sides of a story before you start ruining reputations and portraying individuals as cold hearted child beaters."
Missouri School of Journalism Associate Professor Tim Vos said the goal of journalism is always to report fairly and show both sides of a story, but added that stories are constantly evolving. "It's not uncommon for stories to evolve through the course of a day. So you don't have all the information in the beginning of a day that you have at the end and in that sort of situation you are building a story over time," said Vos.
So what do you think? Was our post about the bus driver assault too sensationalized? Was it balanced?
Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then watch KOMU 8 News on Fridays at 6 for your view of the news.