Making the News a Story

Maybe I wigged out a bit about KSTP’s story of a two-year old girl drowning at an Elk River campsite.  Maybe I didn’t.  I’m sticking with my opinion either way.

I understand that telling the news is about telling a story, but I think my tolerance for the melodrama has reached its limit.  Newscasters are almost comical in their performance, shifting easily from phony grave concern to skippy enthusiasm with the turn of a cue card.

But too often that performance involves children dealing with tragedy whether the children are held in the arms of a distraught parent being interviewed by a reporter or the children themselves being put before the microphone.

The trauma is bad enough.  I doubt it is good for kids to be put under the added stress of media coverage, especially staged as props in a story.  It seems exploitive and manipulative.  More importantly, it adds a layer to the experience that isn’t necessarily genuine.

Can some joker reporter know how a child is dealing with a tragedy?  It could be the case that the kid is coping well, but then sees adults falling apart and the child in turn starts to rethink and re-experience the event.  All for the camera.

Let kids be kids.  Show them some respect.  Meanwhile adults should try to get a grip.  A very young girl drowned in a river.  It is a sad story.  Respect it.  Stick to the facts.



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