As News Director of WKBN,WYFX and WTYV, I take exception to this column. Mr. Franko is addressing the very real issue of how far the media should go in identifying victims of crime. The article revolves around the recent horrific apparent child abuse case in Brookfield Township.
Mr. Franko's column, while dealing with a legitimate subject, slyly uses the chosen soapbox to publish inaccurate and bias information. The sentence "The boy's name has been used consistently by the Tribune-Chronicle and WYTV/WKBN." is false. When WKBN broke the story on their noon news on Monday, August 24th, the decision was already made that we would not disclose the identity of the 8 year old victim. A script search indicates that neither WKBN or WYTV broadcast the identity of the victim. Furthermore I find it laughable that while Mr. Franko was able to determine to his journalistic satisfaction that two television stations, and three newspapers revealed the victim's name, he "could not determine whether WFMJ used the name." For those of you that don't know, WFMJ and The Vindicator share owners. Can you say free pass?
Mr. Franko admits that the Vindicator website did at one point reveal the victim's name, and the article has since been removed. WKBN.COM and WYTV.COM did the same thing, mistakenly disclosing the boy's first name when a web producer rewrote the story. The story was removed. However while Mr. Franko makes the distinction that the name was never printed in the Vindicator, he affords no such consideration that the name was never broadcast on WYTV or WKBN.
And finally, there is another inaccuracy in Mr. Franko's column that needs corrected. The alarm to authorities was not made by neighbors, but rather by an individual who we only described as "a man working on the roof." when we exclusively interviewed him. At his request we protected his name, face, and his total role in the saga from public disclosure. Gary CoursenNews DirectorWKBN/WYTV/WYFX
August 30, 2009 at 1:50 p.m.
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