Assignment 2 – Domestic Shooting Case Study

Domestic Shooting
From RTNDF: Newsroom Ethics (Fourth Edition)

Following a shooting in Lebanon, Ohio, a WKRC-TV photographer was sent to the scene to shoot video. Station officials requested a copy of the 911 call. It was received just 15 minutes before the 6 p.m. newscast. Station officials had strong reactions to the very emotional call where Rhonda Ricketts told the dispatcher she shot her husband in self defense  and that he had abused her. Some were strongly opposed to using the tape. Station officials had fought legally for hours to get the tape, knew their competition might have it as well, questioned the value of the audience hearing the call and weighed that against any harm that could come from airing it. They decided not to use the tape at 6.  Instead, they aired a story with the key information that Ricketts had shot her husband and she had said she was a victim of abuse. After assigning a reporter to the story and discussing it for several more hours, station officials decided to let the reporter use significant  portions of the tape in the 11 p.m. newscast and a short segment in a topical promo for that newscast.

After viewing the video in its entirety, use your decision memo guide to set up the problem, offer a solution, identify the dilemma, weight the alternatives and cite an ethical rationale in justifying your decision.

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