YOUR VIEW: KOMU 8 responds to complaint on MU bias

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COLUMBIA - On September 18, KOMU 8 News reported a car accident involving four MU football players.

We posted the story to our Facebook page to get viewer feedback. One of our viewers thought the story was not worth covering.

She wrote, “There are much bigger things happening in CoMo than some football players getting in a wreck. Doesn’t appear anyone was injured.”

In addition, the viewer felt the story reflected a conflict of interest toward the university.

She continued, “So does Mizzou now control the media also? Just wondering cuz I’m more worried about people killing each other on my streets instead of a car wreck.  Just sayin’.”

Though KOMU 8 News is owned by MU, staff members remain vigilant to stay independent.

Kent Collins, chair of the radio-television journalism department at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the university affiliation has never influenced the station’s news judgement.

“We don’t have to re-define news judgment based on the story, or the source, or the influence...  We play it very straight,” Collins said. “Missouri journalism sometimes isn’t as good as it should be, but it’s always straight. We don’t get influence from the outside, hardly ever.”

Tom Warhover, Executive Editor for the Columbia Missourian, said journalists are able to be independent from an outside interest, without being separate from it.

“We are members of a community, we are members of many communities,” Warhover said. “To be totally separate would actually impede our ability to cover those communities. There's a difference from being independent and being separate, and too often we conflict the two.”

Warhover said the university does not have as strong a grip on the local news outlets as many people believe.

“Mizzou does not control the media,” Warhover said. “The best source to find that out is to go to the administration at Jesse Hall and ask them if they control the news. I think they will tell you just the opposite.”

We want to hear from you. Did KOMU 8 News do right by our viewers by covering this topic? Could it have been done 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.