KSDK leading the way to healing

If there is some good that can be found out of all the bad related to Ferguson, part of it comes from Channel 5 (KSDK).

Apparently, it was the first local station to promote a healing effort in the community, well before the grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The station launched its “STL Together” effort on August 25.  Among other things, the station aired related stories, public service announcements (PSAs) and promoted the idea on social media.

It clearly garnered interest as the station received inquiries about the program from several national media outlets including NBC, ABC and CNN.

Marv Danielski, Channel 5 vice president and station manager, said, “The only way our community can move forward is together and that can only be done through information, context, and discussion.”

“We saw our community at a crossroads beyond protests and demonstrations.” He said.  “We developed STL Together to provide a voice to citizens, to public leaders, to civil rights advocates and to clergy to help our community stand together during a time of need.  It’s more than a public service campaign.  STL Together was designed to highlight news and informational content, allowing us to tell stories to help people understand each other, to hear the many sides of this community.”

The station says the reaction in the community has been positive.  Just looking at Twitter, many people are using the hashtag #stltogether.  According to Topsy.com,  #STLTogether has been tweeted more than 11,000 times as of December 3.

In one example from that day, a person posted 3 pictures-a city police car, a county police car and the St. Louis Rams logo.  Her tweet simply said, “#STLTogether…Respect & Love, no matter what!!!”

Danielski also says it was easy to get people to help create the PSAs. He says after the spots began to include community and religious leaders asking for peaceful protests, the station was overwhelmed with requests to be included because they appreciated Channel 5’s efforts to bring the community together.  Among others, the PSAs included many people on the street, children, members of the Rams, The Archbishop, Frankie Muse Freeman, Rabbi Susan Talve, Sen. Eric Schmitt, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, Mayor Slay, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson, St. Louis County Police Chief Ron Belmar, and Rep. Lacy Clay.

More recently, Channel 5 worked in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Chamber to develop the STL Together Fund to raise money to help small businesses recover from the recent vandalism following the announcement that Wilson would not be indicted.

“This fund does more than repair broken windows and burned buildings.  It helps neighbors left without a job and no means to support their families.” Says Danielski.

Danielski says the bottom line is “We’re proud of where we live and we want to be a catalyst to make positive change, which we can only do, together.”

While many often complain, and rightfully so, about the local television stations, this time Channel 5 (and others since) have shown how to properly use the power of the media for good.

Lots of people were upset with the coverage of events in Ferguson by the national media.  Often with good reason.

One example came from ABC’s network news on November 24.  Airing well before County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s announcement that officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the death of Michael Brown, the network made four mistakes in less than the first 60 seconds.

First, ABC World News Tonight showed two different pictures which anchor David Muir said were taken tonight.  In fact, they were taken the previous night (the tip off was wet streets and puddles as it had rained Sunday but the streets had dried off my Monday evening).  The network then said the governor was speaking “right now.”  He wasn’t.  It would be several more minutes before his news conference.  Finally, Muir reported the decision was coming “any time now.”  However, 15 minutes earlier, it had been officially announced that the prosecutor would not reveal the decision until 8 pm, some 2 ½ hours from, “now.”

If you want to see the different perspectives on the whole Ferguson situation, there is an easy way.  Watch Fox News (cable) and MSNBC in prime time (or look at archive footage online).  The two could not be more different in their perspectives.  Fox, for the most part, is doing everything it can to support Darren Wilson and vilify Michael Brown.  MSNBC, the opposite.  It makes fascinating viewing and is highly recommended to see how “the other side” thinks.

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