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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

WANE-TV and The HERALD-PRESS; How It's Supposed to Be Done

Indiana Parley posted the news yesterday that the Huntington Herald-Press was on top of a story about the possibility of the Pennsylavania murder suspect having stopped in Warren. It sparked a comment by a reader of this blog that WANE-TV was first with the story.

Indiana Parley has spoken with both WANE-TV and the Herald-Press staff this morning. Both did an outstanding job of getting the story up and out to their viewers and readers as quickly as possible.

Here is the story of two good news organizations.

The Huntington Herald-Press staff photographer Andrew Hancock was at the scene scene at Ugalde's Restaurant at approximately 8:40 AM. The H-P had been monitoring Huntington County Sheriff's radio traffic. The group of 3 persons had left the restaurant at 8:17 AM. This was about the time that Huntington County police or the Indiana State Police received a call from a suspicious patron who had noticed the threesome.

On arrival, Hancock first talked with restaurant personnel and then began taking photographs at 9 AM.
He was not only the first reporter at the scene but by the time he left to return to the Herald-Press offices there had yet to be any other journalist arrive. Assistant Editor Dave Schultz took wire service reports, police accounts and Hancock's information to write the story for the Herald-Press. Editor Mike Perkins made the decision at the Herald-Press office to put the breaking news up on the Herald-Press website along with Hancock's outstanding spot news photograph of the restaurant security videotape being examined.

The Herald-Press has done this before on breaking news. A few weeks ago the Herald-Press posted immediately on their website when a Huntington County Grand Jury recommended indictments of a Huntington couple for the death of their child.

So now you know about the online posting by the H-P. The Herald-Press is an afternoon newspaper. The print story was coming off the press shortly after noon yesterday.

WANE-TV was alerted to the Warren connection as they monitored radio traffic on the Indiana State Police (ISP) frequency. The story of the fugitives had been the subject of talk between WANE's Sam Shriver and News Director Ted Linn at approximately 8:45 AM at about the time an all points bulletin was put out by the ISP.

WANE's Kelly Koh and photographer J. R. Carmichael were at the Warren site at approximately 10:30 AM in a live truck interviewing witnesses. Due to the location, a signal providing a live shot was not possible. The decision was made by Midday Producer Brad Brown to put Ms. Koh on with a telephone interview for the midday WANE broadcast at 11 AM. This was shown with video from other sources regarding the search for the fugitives and the Pennsylvania murders.

Outstanding work by a television news operation and by a primarily print newspaper.
This is how it's done, folks.

A thank you to our reader for touting WANE's response. Following is a recap of the comment exchange following the original post:

(One note of correction - IP refers below to the Huntington newspaper "printing...later tonight." The Herald-Press is, of course, an afternoon daily Monday through Friday. The Sunday edition is an AM; the HP does not publish on Saturday).

Also reported on NewsChannel 15 when it was news not history when the paper printed it.
Editor's Note: The News Channel 15 Report is timed at 4:25 PM. Do you know when they may have first reported the Warren angle?

The Huntington Herald-Press had it on their website in the early afternoon. Obviously, the newspaper won't be printing until later tonight - this was a good use of the online newspaper capability. I think they did a good job of original reporting and then posting the content on their website as it was breaking and as soon as it was available. It shows what a good small-city daily is capable of doing.

WANE-TV has gotten an objectively well-deserved reputation for getting on top of stories early.

Citing the Herald-Press doesn't detract from WANE.

WANE first reported the story at 11AM on the midday show.

OK, now tell us WHAT they reported.

Was it a quick news alert that the suspects may be in Warren? Was it an item just about the fugitive and his girlfriend (a hostage or an accomplice)? Or was it an on the scene report with image?

There was a reporter on scene interviewing workers at the place where they were seen. The reporter also talked to the police at the scene. The promotion is already on the air about this and lays out the chronology quite well I think.

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