YOUR VIEW: Covering Michael Sam's Coming Out

5 years 9 months 2 weeks 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
TIPTON — A shooting suspect is in the hospital after authorities shot him five times, according to a news release... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 8:50:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
FULTON - Police are investigating after shots were fired at a Break Time in Fulton Friday night. According to... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 1:25:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU spokesman Christian Basi, confirmed the man who died after being hit by a car on College Ave... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 9:34:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society is waiving adoption fees this weekend, just in time for the holiday season.... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 6:36:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
MISSOURI - Missouri’s minimum wage rate is set to go up again soon. The state minimum wage will increase... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 5:21:41 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson are inviting families to join them at the Governor's... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:50:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
BOONEVILLE - The Cooper County Sheriff's Office is asking travelers to find an alternate route on Highway 41 going to... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:02:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Columbia police chief Ken Burton has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after originally being charged with driving... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 2:45:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
HALLSVILLE - Kari Hallowell, the mother of 17-year-old Hayden Holt, who died in an overnight car crash after being chased... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 2:04:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP)- Two U.S. officials have identified the shooter at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola as a second... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 1:53:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - This weekend, 47 high school basketball teams from five states will go head-to-head in the 2019 Norm Stewart... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 1:24:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Former MU Quarterback Drew Lock is set to make his second start with the Denver Broncos this Sunday versus... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 12:28:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in Sports
BOONE COUNTY- A 52-year-old male suffered two gunshot wounds Thursday night after getting into a fight with two people at... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 10:53:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
RICH HILL- Relatives of a missing Missouri mother say they are growing increasingly concerned after deputies found the woman's phone,... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 10:22:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed Hayden Holt, a 17-year-old from Hallsville, died in an overnight car crash... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 6:41:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
MARSHALL - Police arrested a man Thursday after they said he tried to rob a loan office. Employees of... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 4:23:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Soon, every fifth grader in Boone County will have the opportunity to learn math, history, language arts and... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:44:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Last winter saw major snow storms, ice, and extreme cold. This winter could see similar systems, however, the... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:00:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in Weather
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 24°
11pm 25°
12am 24°
1am 24°
2am 23°