Tri States Public Radio Staff
Justice for Chief
Tue January 31, 2012
Shop Talk - January 31
This week's discussion is about KWQC-TV from the Quad Cities and a Scottish Terrier named Chief from Burlington.
Chief's owner said someone came into his yard and kicked the dog, causing severe trauma. The TV station planned to come down to Burlington to do a story but changed its mind after Chief died. That led to creation of a Facebook page called Justice for Chief, which was used to urge the station to do story reporting that there is animal abuser in the community.
The station said it canceled the story because it could not be proven whether the animal was abused by a human or attacked by another animal. The Shop Talk panelists support that decision.
But panelist Bill Knight also pointed out another story could have been done - perhaps about why the neighbors cared so much about Chief or about why it was so difficult for a veterinarian to determine what happened to the dog.
The panelists also point out this is a good example of why news organizations need to be staffed with journalism professionals who can make well-informed judgment calls. Bloggers, citizen journalists, etc might allow their emotions to dictate whether and how such a story would be covered.