YOUR VIEW: Covering Michael Sam's Coming Out

5 years 2 months 3 days 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
KANSAS CITY - Missourians looking to avoid long drives between the state's two biggest cities may have renewed hope after... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 10:38:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - The city aldermen voted to hold a special election after a 35-35 tie for the Holts Summit... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 10:25:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Heading into Thursday night's NFL draft, MU's Drew Lock is surrounded by family and friends in Nashville for... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 6:30:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
NASHVILLE - Former Missouri quarterback Drew Lock did not hear his name called Thursday night, to the surprise of his... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 6:10:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Target 8 discovered more than 16 sex offenders living at Columbia's Welcome Inn, which an online map shows... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 6:07:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in Target 8
JEFFERSON CITY  - Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry has now installed phone-charging equipment on two of the five solar... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 5:30:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Several bottles of wine from an Eldon winery have exploded, according to federal officials. The Missouri... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:27:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Oakland Middle School held its "Stronger Together," a multicultural festival to promote diversity with students and teachers Thursday.... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 3:42:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
MOBERLY - The Moberly Police Department is looking for a white box van after a young girl told her parents... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 3:31:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri legislators are working on a tax incentive in hopes of bringing movie production back to the... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 2:48:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Hundreds of veterans gathered at the Capitol Thursday to be honored 50 years after the Vietnam War.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 12:37:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – The first of several bargaining negotiations between MU and its workers to increase minimum wage to $15 is... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 3:07:00 AM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Mizzou head football coach Gary Pinkel formally announced the launch of his foundation, called “GP M.A.D.E.” Wednesday... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 9:47:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The city's Airport Advisory Board met Wednesday for the first time since Columbia Regional Airport had to close... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:01:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- A proposed wind project in Harrisburg is now getting the local government involved. The Boone County planning and... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:55:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People gathered in downtown Jefferson City Wednesday evening to walk for Rape and Abuse Crisis Service or... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:48:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House will hold a public hearing Thursday morning to allow people with disabilities to renew... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:29:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that allows the state to sell Rice Hall,... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:25:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
1am 53°
2am 52°
3am 50°
4am 50°