Story Behind The Story

Fatal Plane Crash And Meetings About Violence: All In A Day’s (or two) Work

Sorry to not have a blog update for you to read last night.  I spent my entire day in Delaware covering that plane crash that claimed the life of a city council member. After spending hours (and I mean, hours) writing scripts, sending updates and pictures of the scene back to the station from my blackberry, I don’t think my thumbs could have taken the punishment of writing a blog on those tiny keys.  (I hope you understand)

About last night, I will say it was a hard story to cover. (Stories involving deaths always are, but this one was particularly difficult)  I will admit this, I know more about the crash than what I reported in my story. That isn’t to say I didn’t report the facts. I did. However, it is to say witnesses told me details about the crash I wish I never heard. (Details I refuse put on the air or even the web)

There’s been a little controversy from viewers as to why we didn’t publish the name of the victim. It’s actually pretty simple, but will take me a paragraph to answer. See, to identify the victim, investigators had to rely on dental records.  While we all heard the rumors and had a pretty good idea who the victim was, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, (whom we refer to as OSP) refused to confirm the name until they were 100% sure. (Which is exactly how they should operate)  Personally, I refuse to be in a rush to report the name of a victim until we get that 100% confirmation. I refuse to say someone has died, until I am sure of it. (The last thing I want is to report is that someone has died then something happens where it turns out the ‘victim’ is actually alive and someone else has died.) I won’t put a family through that. It’s a decision that must be made by the reporter and station management. That was our choice. Other news media outlets made another decision. But hey, that’s the way news is.  You play by your own rules and do what you think is right.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Moving on… Today we worked on a story in regards to the violence that has plagued the city of Columbus for about a month or so. In response to the violence, one thing a lot of communities are doing is setting up meetings to try to find a solution. Tonight, there were two such meetings we attended.

One meeting was on the east side. It was actually held in the same church two homicide suspects were found hiding in last week. (Would that be considered irony or a coincidence? I always have trouble with that) The second meeting was on the west side in the Hilltop. Aside from speaking with community members, (as we always do) one thing we wanted to find out for this particular story was what community leaders think actually comes out of these meetings. In other words, are these meetings just an avenue for people to voice their opinions or does it actually translate to safety on the street. Of course, I understand that recognizing a problem is the first step in the problem solving process. We’re in no way knocking on these meetings; we just want to know what these meetings are leading to in terms of results.

At both locations, I asked community leaders that very question and I got intelligent answers back.  Combine those answers with what community members had to say and we’ve got a story!

And hey, wudyaknow, I’m not standing out in a field sweating like crazy being eaten alive by mosquitoes for hours on end! All in all, I’d say today turned out pretty good!

Posted by Tom Brockman  on 07/29 at 08:14 PM



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