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.”
Ironically, two adult women were also interviewed by Jiang for the story. They were not named; only one was identified as a “23-year-old.”
Jiang’s report concluded with one more dramatic quote from the young girl, still visibly shaken.
“He’s going to come back and nobody’s going to hear us when we knock on the walls,” she said.
For an industry that lives and dies on stories with sensational value, this was as inappropriate a moment as I can recall. Jiang led into the quote saying the girl was afraid, but the station showed no concern about retaliation against her family.