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Give KTVU a break

Original post made by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly, on Jul 15, 2013

By now I think everyone in the U.S. and China has heard about the ill-fated Asiana flight that crashed in San Francisco and the ill-fated KTVU news report that reported false names of the pilots.

Everyone is asking how such an epic failure could happen. How did the news anchor, Tori Campbell, not know the names were made up?

Being in journalism for more than 25 years, and watching how the Internet has changed the way news is reported, I can see how it would happen. All media organizations are racing to be first with breaking news. I would bet money the reporter who wrote the script got the information - or confirmation of the information from a National Transportation Safety Board summer intern - shortly before the newscast. So, being in a rush, the KTVU reporter failed to check the credentials of the source.

Then, even if the reporter included phonetic spellings of the names, which would have done in a hurry, it was "cold copy," meaning the anchor didn't have time to read the script before the newscast.

And anyone who has ever read from a teleprompter knows it is difficult to focus on how to say what is scrolling rapidly on the screen and comprehend what the words say at the same time. That's why phonetic spellings are often provided.

This is all speculation on my part. I don't know exactly what happened, but I can absolutely see how it happened. In the day and age of "get it out first," the media - print and broadcast - is setting the stage for failures to occur.

Let's use this as a reminder to slow down and check our information, whether it's from a person or (especially) a website.

And give Campbell and KTVU a break. We've all made mistakes, just not ones so public - with video that can be replayed over and over (for a majority of us anyway). "There but for the grace of God" go we.

Comments (9)

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Posted by Charlie Chan
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Nope. No pass here! There is absolutely no excuse for this to happen. ALL American media is the same. It's about being first not accurate. This station, staff and reporter deserve what they get.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Cholo here: I agree with Charlie Chan. NO EXCUSES PLEASE.

If you wanna report the news, tell The Onion all about it. They'll tell your story.

i rest my case...


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Posted by yup yup
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jul 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

i agree with the previous two posters. no pass for KTVU. being first should never trump being right.

no surprise that PW would come to their defense. they regularly post stories with little to no fact checking (most recent example is glen woltzman's "article" about the marine band playing at the scottish games).


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Posted by Gina Channell-Allen
president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Jul 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Yup yup, It's not the Pleasanton Weekly's position to defend. It is my position that we should be a little less apt to condemn and a little more forgiving, because we all make mistakes.

Oh, by the way, you misspelled Glenn Wohltmann's name. You should have checked the byline on that article.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I guess I could forgive the anchor right up until she read the first name and saw the second. Just watching the video clip projecting the names, you can tell something is wrong. It would be nice if talking heads actually used, well, their heads. She must have realized at some point, any point, that she should stop and say, "I'm sorry; there seems to be a problem."

I think that is less important than the KTVU personnel who actually produced the copy, even under a time crunch.


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Posted by Talking Heads
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I could see how it could happen reading a teleprompter but how did the graphic on the screen pass muster?


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Posted by yup yup
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jul 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

gina, i can't be bothered to learn how to spell [removed] correctly. i rather like misspelling it on purpose.


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Posted by agree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Place the initial blame where it belongs.....the NTSB. Another govt agency that cannot find competent employees. Although, they did manage to find one with a sense of humor. Something the rest of you crabby people should figure out how to acquire.


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