The lead story on the noon news in St. Louis on May 31 on both Channels 4 and 5 was the same…but the details were very different.
It was the latest carjacking downtown to get a lot of attention, including the killing at 11th and Washington. This one was close to Busch Stadium.
Channel 5’s Jason Aubrey reported basic details on the event-but there were no references to the report the carjack victim had a gun and used it. Instead, after a brief description, he moved on to an angle with officials showing a lack of confidence in police chief Sam Dotson. Even though a reply from Dotson would have made the story more balanced, there was none in this story.
Channel 4’s Anthony Kiekow, on the other hand, had clearly worked harder on the story and had many details Aubry failed to find.
Kiekow told viewers specifics Channel 5 did not report about how the victim was shot in the leg but pulled his gun and returned fire. An interesting sound bite from a police official discussed how much blood was on the scene and why that might be significant in catching the carjacker.
Kiekow also did a better job of showing where the carjacking happened and how close it was to Busch Stadium. While Aubrey also discussed the location and mention the proximity to Busch, Kiekow understands he is on teleVISION. Aubrey did the “tell” part. Kiekow did the “vision” part – a far better use of the visual medium.
Kiekow did take himself down a notch by beginning his story with, “I’ve been piecing together the details of this crime all day.” So what? That is your job. Saying that to let viewers know how cool you are is a fail.
Channel 5 General Manager Marv Danielski defended Aubrey saying “We only report on confirmed info. It wasn’t confirmed information to us.”
When I said Channel 4 had more information, he said, “Bully for them.”
As I continued to press him about why Channel 4 was so far ahead, he said, “Don’t bother calling. You clearly have a bone to pick on this story like other stories. I know what you are going to do.”
But to his credit, he called back with new information saying they got the incident report at 12:12 and that is when it was confirmed.
Channel 4 news director Brian Thourenot says the information was all confirmed by air time. “We’d rather be right than first,” he said. He spent several minutes explaining his news philosophy focused on using multiple trusted sources to make sure what airs is correct.
So the difference is either Kiekow got the incident report first or, using multiple sources, worked harder to have the more complete story.
In this round, chalk a win up to Channel 4’s viewers for getting a far more complete story about the carjacking.
Ratings Joy at Channel 2
They are happy campers at Channel 2 since the completion of the May Nielson ratings last week.
Finally, in the growing every more important department, social media. Channel 2
contends it is the most followed newsroom in St. Louis. They are seeing significant growth.
The station news release claims, “KTVI is St. Louis’ most followed television newsroom, leading the way in social media with 625,888+ Facebook Fans (vs 496,076 in ’15), 132,612+ Twitter Followers (vs 95,203 in ’15), and 30,763+Instagram Followers (vs 5,785 in ’15).”