Television is certainly a visual medium. Local news is about striking a balance between attracting viewers and reporting the story.
Tuesday night, WCBS reporter Weijia Jiang stepped over the line of decency.
In telling the story about a string of robberies in a Brooklyn community while some of the victims slept, Jiang spoke to an eight-year-old girl about the incident. Her mother also talked to Jiang, who translated from Spanish.
Many aspects are wrong about the girl being interviewed for the “exclusive” piece. For starters, the first taped clip showed the girl saying “I was about to cry,” as she became inconsolable. (Video clips of the report below)
As she continued to cry the girl belted out, “He was going to kill my ma.”
The scene was “inexcusable,” one veteran TV reporter tells Tuned In.
“I know I would not have done that,” the longtime city reporter says. “[It’s] shameful and exploitative.”
For a night, the cutthroat business of television news embraces itself at the New York Emmy Awards. Of course, some had more to embrace than others.
In one of the top awards of the night, Best News Anchor, Adriana Vargas from Univision 41/WXTV upset some big names: WCBS’ Chris Wragge, and a trio of WPIX talent– Tamsen Fadal, Scott Stanford and Sukanya Krishnan. Stanford, however, didn’t go home empty-handed, winning the Best Sports Anchor prize.
Channel 41 also was chosen Top Morning Newscast, defeating WCBS, and a pair of WPIX entries, while its rival Telemundo 47/WNJU won the biggest hardware–Best Evening Newscast.
WCBS’ Lonnie Quinn earned his fifth Emmy as top Weather Anchor.
Along with Stanford, Channel 11 gave newly installed news director Amy Waldman plenty to smile about, as the Tribune flagship took home 15 trophies. Mario Diaz and Jay Dow won multiple awards.
She’s been a mainstay on WNBC for a dozen years. But Ida Siegal is now finding a different audience. Siegal just penned her first children’s book series, Emma Is on the Air, which chronicles an eight-year-old with dreams of becoming a TV reporter.
Siegal’s idea came directly from her own experiences covering stories.
“When I’m out in the field and I’m in the NBC News truck, we get approached by children all the time,” Siegal tells Tuned In.
She says those inquisitive kids usually ask if Siegal is famous and how can they get on TV.
“There’s a real, genuine enthusiasm with these children, and it doesn’t matter who the child is, what the economic background is, what neighborhood we’re in; it’s pretty much across the board everywhere we go,” Siegal says.
She fills a void by teaching curious children about journalism, thanks to Emma’s make-believe reporter experiences. Siegal takes it step further, putting the lead character in the first person.