This is part one of a three part series on covering news in the face of crisis or tragedy. I wanted to highlight perspectives from three different positions; that of a reporter, a host and a program director. These conversations are all with people I’ve worked with over the years and highlight (in my view) the right way to deliver the news in difficult the face of difficult situations.
We start first, with the perspective of a reporter……
7/14/99- A TRAGIC DAY IN MILWAUKEE
Doug Russell is a veteran reporter and host who had two different stints at Milwaukee’s legendary news-talk station WTMJ. On July 14th, 1999, the city was shook when “Big Blue” a heavy lift crawler crane being used at the construction site of Miller Park, collapsed. Three workers were killed and significant damage was caused to the stadium. On this day, Russell, working in the sports department, had to “flip that switch” to hard news and cover what turned out to be a local tragedy. What resulted was a team effort by WTMJ that earned Russell and the station local and national accolades.
RM: Take us back to that day and set the scene. When did you first learn of this situation and what was your reaction?
DR: I was at my desk at WTMJ’s Radio City studios. There was an old television on wheels in the office that happened to be on the closed feed from the static camera our sister television station, WTMJ-TV had. I glanced at it as I went to my desk to prepare for that evening’s Sports Central show that I was producing at the time. The camera was trained on it because there was a scheduled roof “pick” that day involving the Big Blue crane and TMJ4 wanted it for their archives. These “picks” had become mini-events because they were the most visible signs the stadium was coming together.
Nothing was amiss and I didn’t think anything of it until about 60 seconds later when our airborne traffic reporter, Tom Carr, first reported on the accident (audio below). I turned around and on the screen was a crumpled blue crane draped over the first base side of the ballpark and dust was flying everywhere. My reaction was to find my news director, Dan Shelley and asked “what can I do?” He asked me if I had recording equipment. I told him I always keep a crash bag in my desk (a helpful hint for everyone involved in live news reporting). Dan immediately told me to take the cell phone (we only had one for the entire station; they weren’t commonplace yet) and get down there as fast as I could in afternoon drive time traffic.
RM: When you were on your way to the scene, what was going through your mind?
DR: On my way down from Milwaukee’s East Side to the stadium I was listening carefully to WTMJ for any information the guys in the studio were looking for as well as traffic reports. What I didn’t realize is that WTMJ morning anchor Cheri Preston (now at ABC Radio News) was on the Marquette University campus for a graduate level class when she heard the report as well. Marquette, only being a very short drive to the stadium, gave WTMJ the first reporter of any kind on the scene (audio below). Cheri was the first to report from an eyewitness that three iron workers died in the accident. She was unflappable. Just an incredible reporter…even borrowing a stranger’s cell phone to do her first report (attached). Through her early reporting, she gave me, a very young radio personality at the time, instructions through her example of what we were looking for as a station.
As a side note, as it turns out, I was also the last reporter to leave the scene, at 5am the next morning, as WTMJ rightfully made the decision to have a 24 hour presence at the sight of the biggest news story in America that day. From midnight-5am, I did live on-site reports during the top of the hour news.
RM: You arrived on the scene and I can only imagine it was chaotic. How were you able to get yourself balanced with what was going on and also with what your newsroom was asking of you at the time?
DR: When I was a news reporter, I covered the court case of David Spanbauer. David Spanbauer was a monster who terrorized Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley for years, sexually assaulting, torturing, and murdering young women and girls. The news training I had from that court case, talking to the families of Cora Jones, Ronelle Eichstead, and Trudi Jeschke steeled me for just about anything. You lose part of your humanity, but that’s the price most journalists have had to pay to varying degrees for dispassionately doing their jobs. Think about how 9-11 was reported on, for example. At some point you still have to just put your own human feelings aside and do the work your audience demands.
RM- You have lived in Milwaukee most of your adult life. How were you able to put your emotions aside and focus on what was such a tragic event for the city…in the days and weeks afterwards?
DR: The aftermath for the city was significant at the time, but as the saying goes, time really does heal all wounds. There is a generation of Brewers fans that never saw a game at Miller Park and will never know the names of the three men (Jeffrey Wischer, Jerome Starr, and William DeGrave) killed that day. At the time it was devastating. To the families of the men killed, even more so, obviously and still to this day. But the city has moved on. As for me, it gave me the opportunity to show that I could cover a major breaking news story live on the air. The audio eventually landed on One-On-One Sports VP of Programming Mark Gentzkow’s desk, and he hired me as an anchor/reporter a few months later. Cheri would end up in New York at ABC, so she did pretty well too. WTMJ’s coverage was recognized with several awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Milwaukee Press Club, the Associated Press, and the Radio-TV News Directors Association, bestowing us with the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for spot news coverage.
RM: If you could give advice to anyone who would have been in your shoes that day, what would it have been? For anyone that is rushing to the scene of a situation like this (especially where loss of life is involved) how do you best handle it?
First, always have a “crash bag” at arms length with everything you need to report a breaking story. It’s a terribly overused term nowadays, but they call it “breaking news” for a reason. You never know what is going to happen when. So have a bag with a recorder, a mic, mic flag, paper, pens, extra batteries, a computer if you can. Whatever you would normally take to a news situation, have in your crash bag. If it’s your first time on the scene of a tragedy where loss of life is involved, take a moment to realize that you probably will be speaking with someone who just lost a family member – how would YOU like to be treated if the shoe was on your foot? Know to not ask a question like “how does it feel” to lose a loved one (how do you THINK it feels, jackass?). Empathy goes a long way in those situations. On the flip side, you still have a job to do. You can be empathetic while still calmly reporting the facts. But I think it’s important for every reporter to just take a breath and recognize the gravity of what they are reporting on before going on the air and just blurting out the first thing that comes out of their mouth.
That’s a wrap on part one. Next week, we’ll take a look at this topic, but from a host’s perspective.
Ryan Maguire is a columnist for BSM, and a longtime sports and news radio program director. He has managed KIRO-FM in Seattle, WQAM in Miami, 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, 610 Sports in Kansas City, and 105.7/1250 The Fan in Milwaukee. Presently, Ryan serves as the Executive Producer of Chicago White Sox baseball on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. Originally from Michigan, Ryan still holds out hope that the Detroit Lions will one day deliver a Super Bowl title. He can be reached on Twitter @RMaguire1701.
HLN Sees Uptick In Viewers Comes Before End of ‘Morning Express’
HLN sees an uptick over the holiday weekend with a marathon of the Emmy award-winning political drama “The West Wing” that originally aired on NBC.
Almost all the news outlets suffered brief declines during the Thanksgiving week (for the week ending Nov. 27). The lone cable news channel to see an uptick was HLN, which aired a holiday weekend marathon of the Emmy award-winning political drama “The West Wing” that originally aired on NBC from 1999 thru 2006.
But the positive news at HLN was short-lived as its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery began a new round of layoffs for the news division on Dec. 1. Among those let go, HLN’s long-running program “Morning Express with Robin Meade” ended after a 17-year run. For Nov. 21-25, it averaged 147,000 viewers, including 30,000 in the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research — a relatively normal amount for the now-defunct morning news show.
WBD’s downsizing also comes at a time CNN had posted its lowest-rated primetime adults 25-54 demo in over 30 years as well as its lowest-rated total day 25-54 demo since May 2014.
In the daytime, ABC’s “The View” continued to reign as its No. 1 talk show averaging 2.373 million viewers from Nov. 21-23. Its Thanksgiving Eve telecast (Wednesday Nov. 23) drew 2.591 million viewers — the most-watched edition of “The View” since Mar. 31, 2022. Their guests on Nov. 23 featured actor Kumail Nanjiani (“Welcome to Chippendales”) and legendary R&B singer Patti LaBelle (“A New Orleans Noel”).
ABC’s “GMA3: What You Need to Know”
topped CBS’ “The Talk.” and the recently-installed “NBC News Daily” (which replaced “Days of Our Lives”) for the 11th consecutive week.
“GMA3” improved on the previous week in total viewers (+2 percent – 1.615 million for Nov. 21-23 vs. 1.580 million for Nov. 14-18), drawing its largest overall audience in 4 weeks (since the week of Oct. 24, 2022) and it’s second largest of the season. Of course, the program’s recent bump in ratings may be attributed to associated tabloid fodder (link: https://pagesix.com/2022/12/01/amy-robach-and-t-j-holmes-not-ashamed-of-their-romance/ )
“The Talk” averaged 1.512 million viewers (from Nov. 21-23); “NBC News Daily” 1.2 million (Nov. 21-22).
Five Fox News Channel daytime programs also accomplished besting “The Talk” and “NBC News Daily” during this week, based on total viewers (with three of them also topping “GMA3”):
“America’s Newsroom” (9-11 AM/ET; 1.804 million)
“Outnumbered” (11 AM/ET; 1.764 million)
“The Faulkner Focus” (12 PM/ET; 1.667 million)
“America Reports” (1-3 PM/ET; 1.519 million)
“The Story” (3 PM/ET; 1.514 million)
Cable news averages for November 21-27, 2022:
Total Day (Nov. 21-27 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.225 million viewers; 160,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.556 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.428 million viewers; 83,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.174 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.118 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.098 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.094 million viewers; 9,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.085 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (Nov. 21-26 @ 8-11 p.m.; Nov. 27 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.664 million viewers; 189,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.791 million viewers; 74,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.433 million viewers; 88,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.238 million viewers; 51,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.208 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.118 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.091 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.068 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.064 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.484 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.451 million viewers
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.131 million viewers
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.091 million viewers
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.063 million viewers
6. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.040 million viewers
7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.900 million viewers
8. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.834 million viewers
9. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.788 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.745 million viewers
22. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.951 million viewers
148. Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.769 million viewers
339. The West Wing “Hartsfield’s Landing” (HLN, Sat. 11/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.372 million viewers
348. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 11/21/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.360 million viewers
420. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 813” (CNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.275 million viewers
643. Highway Thru Hell “(716) The General” (TWC, Sun. 11/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.151 million viewers
671. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Fri. 11/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.141 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.444 million adults 25-54
2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.417 million adults 25-54
4. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.391 million adults 25-54
5. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.385 million adults 25-54
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.358 million adults 25-54
7. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.352 million adults 25-54
8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.347 million adults 25-54
9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.340 million adults 25-54
10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.335 million adults 25-54
67. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.180 million adults 25-54
68. Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.178 million adults 25-54
201. How It Really Happened “Yosemite Mur:Evil Side Pt2” (HLN, Mon. 11/21/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.099 million adults 25-54
230. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1213” (CNBC, Tue. 11/22/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.088 million adults 25-54
477. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Wed. 11/23/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.046 million adults 25-54
555. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 11/21/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54
603. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.033 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
Douglas Pucci is a Bronx native and NYU graduate analyzing news television ratings for Barrett News Media. He did an internship at VH1’s “Pop Up Video” in 1997. After college, Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He has worked alongside media industry observer Marc Berman for over a decade reporting on all things television, first at Cross MediaWorks from 2011-15 then at Programming Insider since 2016. Pucci also contributed to the sports website Awful Announcing. Read more: https://programminginsider.com/author/douglas/
Andrea Kaye Learned Tough As Nails Attitude From Her Marine Corp Parents
“My fantasies didn’t involve radio as a kid, but they did involve my voice. And they did involve using that voice in some way to influence.”
Her mother called her ‘dynamite in a dress.’ Andrea Kaye had an explosive energy and temperament. Her mother may have been right about her daughter’s intensity, but she was wrong about the dress.
“She thought I was going to be like my older sister, in a dress, playing with dolls. I was a tom-boy as a kid,” Kaye continued. “I was riding a bike with no shoes, riding like a crazy kid, and scraped off all my toenails. Our neighbors, ‘the Reen sisters’, comforted me while Mama wrapped my feet in bandages.
“We called them the Reen sisters because all four of them had ‘Reen’ at the end of their names; Doreen, Maureen, etc. Another time I jumped off an air conditioning unit and almost bit my tongue in half. To this day, my family still laughs about that stuff.”
Her tomboy ways kept her a regular fixture at the Camp LeJeune emergency room. But even when she wasn’t getting into scrapes while playing, she got into scrapes and arguments over politics.
Also as a kid, Kaye would have intense conversations with her Uncle Jake, a Colonel at Fort Benning. “All the adults in the room would ask why he was arguing with a child,” Kaye explained. “My Uncle said, ‘Because she’s making a darn good point.’ He made me feel respected. He never treated me like a child.”
Both parents were in the Marine Corps. Kaye never seemed to shy away from being called a ‘military-brat.’ The kid was tough as nails. She brings some of that toughness to The Andrea Kaye Show, which broadcasts on Monday-Friday from 6:00-8:00 PM on The Answer San Diego.
Her mother grew up on a dairy farm in a little town near the Mississippi and Louisiana border. Not far from where Kaye went to high school, Slidell High. “Mama knew what hard work was,” Kaye explained.
Her mother worked extremely hard each day, especially after her mother Mary Lee got burned in a house fire. She had to help raise her younger sister while running the farm. “Compared to what she had to do on the farm, the Marine Corps was a vacation,” Kaye explained. “Mama has a tee-shirt that reads, ‘Not as Mean, not as Lean, but still a Marine’. Could be why she beat four cancers in three years. Not what you would call a ‘fluffy’ life.”
Kaye’s grandmother on her father’s side, worked in a textile mill in Opelika, Alabama. This was the same mill in which they filmed Norma Rae, starring Sally Field.
“With nothing but sixth grade education there weren’t many options,” Kaye said.
The work took a toll. Her grandmother lost most of her hearing and got black lung. Her dad grew up on a dirt floor and dreamed of a better life with travels to foreign lands and was thrilled to join the military as a way out. He believed in the American Dream and instilled that inspiration in Kaye.
“We’d drive around and he would show us the neighborhoods we could live in if we got an education and worked hard.”
They had a lot of love while growing up in the family, but Kaye wouldn’t call it an emotionally nurturing childhood. Marines who were battle weary and from tough and impoverished childhoods aren’t necessarily the types to coddle.
But they were the types to play lots of board games and cards, like gin rummy. Rides at amusement parks across the country were a family staple.
“We’d watch lots of movies and TV, especially musicals,” Kaye said. “Who knew two Marines could love The Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof so much?”
One time her mother bribed Kaye’s brother and his friends with cookies and cake if they would watch her perform songs from The Sound of Music.
“Mary Lee was my mother’s mom. She had to be tough because her husband died while my mom was in the womb,” Kaye said. “She didn’t have time to be nurturing with four kids and a dairy farm to run.”
She said Mary Lee would babysit often.
“She didn’t believe in sugar-coating for kids,” Kaye said. “One of my sisters asked her what a dead person looked like?”
Mary Lee packed the kids into the car and took them to a viewing with a dead man in a coffin and said, ‘This is what a dead person looks like.’
“You asked her a question and you got an answer,” Kaye said. “Mama was the same.”
That didn’t mean her parents didn’t love them, Kaye explained.
“They didn’t believe like today’s parents that everyone should get a trophy and everyone had to be happy every day. We were raised with the pragmatic truths of life. They were all about supporting what we wanted to do. There were no barriers to those dreams. That was instilled in my sister, brother and me.”
Kaye was born at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps base, living in the base housing Tarawa Terrace, also known as “Terrible Terrace”. They moved around a bit but settled in the New Orleans area.
“I loved everything about the military,” Kaye said. “I loved the bases, uniforms, marching, the regiment, the chain of command. I loved the military bearing and authoritative presence they had at all ranks. I was mesmerized by it all. Daddy was a Vietnam vet and when he was deployed, multiple times.
“Me and my siblings and Mama went back to the dairy farm with grandma,” Kayes said. “My father never talked about his time in the service. We had no idea what he did. My sister, Donna, who we just called Sister, asked Daddy once what he did for a living. He said, I shoot the bull all day. So when she was asked once what her dad did, she told them, “He shoots bulls.”
The mystery of the military was part of the allure. Kaye was so enamored with the military, she gave some thought to how great it would be if she could attend West Point after the family had visited. Her mother and father brought the military with them when they took a break from the base.
“Even though I love the military, I had a love and hate relationship with regiment when Dad and Mom took us on a vacation,” Kaye said. “We had to get up at 4:00am. It wasn’t like my father was harsh like the pilot Bull Meecham in The Great Santini. Still, we had a very specific way of doing things. I learned to fold clothes according to regulation”
Kaye was always interested in going to college, imagining where she might enroll. She ended up choosing Louisiana State University to study political science.
“LSU was an amazing experience,” she said. “Louisiana is like being in another country. The language, food, culture. LSU is the perfect educational community of the unique culture. I embraced every aspect possible. I joined a sorority and lived in the house. Spent Saturday nights in the famous Tiger Stadium called Death Valley, and ate my weight in crawfish. I wanted the big university experience, and I got it.”
She’d thought about becoming a lawyer, perhaps a Supreme Court justice.
“I became obsessed with politics during my teen years,” Kaye explained. “I studied political science at LSU, admitted as a 17 year-old. I also gave some thought to becoming an attorney. In my family there was a constant theme of justice, of right and wrong. I have always been fascinated by true-crime.”
Kaye said her parents were always concerned about justice, committed to their beliefs of right and wrong. Always looking to improve her circumstances, instead of working her normal summer job at Fasulo Drugs in Slidell, she got a job in the French Quarter selling timeshares.
“I was able to make more money in six or eight weeks over the summer than I’d make all year working at the drugstore,” Kaye explained.
It was then Kay recognized she had an aptitude for sales. During her third year at LSU, she decided to switch her major to business. “I’m glad I did. There’s such an intersection between politics and business. I already loved politics and needed to learn more about business.”
She visited La Jolla, California after she graduated from LSU. It was a quick vacation but she fell in love with the area, and state. After graduation she started her first corporate job with No Nonsense panty hose.
“I was going around to K-Marts and other retail stores around Louisiana,” Kaye said. “I traveled around the state. It was a great first out of college job, but not a life choice. I earned my bones at No Nonsense. It was a grind.”
She couldn’t shake her love for La Jolla and San Diego, so she quit her job at No Nonsense and moved to San Diego, where she was hired by Xerox.
“Xerox sent me to Las Vegas, a branch of the San Diego office,” she said. “You have no idea how hot it is to be in a suit in Las Vegas when the temperature is 115-degrees. Still, I’d take it over the Florida heat and the mosquitos in New Orleans.”
After a year in Vegas, Xerox relocated her to San Diego. Xerox is where she made her bones, working in one of the toughest industries, and for a legendarily tough company.
Kaye said she may live in California, but her soul is on the New Orleans Bayou.
“I love, love, love Louisiana,” she said. “Down to the core of my being. One of the reasons I left was because after the oil industry crashed, so did the economy. There was a not so funny billboard outside Lafayette that said, ‘Last one to leave, turn out the lights’. The economy had completely tanked.”
At the time she left for California, Kaye said she didn’t understand her soul connection with New Orleans. “I didn’t know how much I’d miss it. I try to get back at least once or twice a year and still have family and friends there.”
The transition from sales to media wasn’t all that difficult for Kaye. She said every company she worked for required her to do some kind of media work.
“When I was with No Nonsense, I would join radio stations on the air when they were doing promotions from a parking lot. They’d talk to anyone. I would say, ‘I’m Andrea from No Nonsense. Come and check us out.’ It wasn’t difficult for me. I just wormed my way in and identified myself and the product on the air.”
She has ‘acted’ in corporate industrial videos and some infomercials. Again, this came naturally. She ended up getting an agent.
“It’s different in New York and L.A.,” Kaye said. “In those cities you can get an agent for particular things. An agent for acting, and agent for modeling. In San Diego, they only had agents that were a one-stop-shop. You were required to do any medium the agent put you up for. You’d be called upon to audition for commercials on TV, or a model in print ads, even some acting gigs.”
Kaye appeared in one movie, Lore Deadly Obsession. The film was about real-life serial killer and cannibal Richard Chase, who killed six women and drank their blood in the late 70s. He was dubbed ‘The Vampire Killer.’
“That was the first time they used the term ‘serial killer,” she explained.
Kaye is married but never had children. “It just wasn’t my dream,” she said. “I never had the fantasy of staying home and starting a family. That was Sister’s dream, and she fulfilled it. So did my brother. My fantasies were about living a life that was different. Bigger and brighter than my folks and their folks before them. Just as each generation behind me lived a bigger and brighter life than those before.
“My fantasies didn’t involve radio as a kid, but they did involve my voice. And they did involve using that voice in some way to influence.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has also served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his book: On Story Parkway: Remembering Milwaukee County Stadium, available on Amazon, email email@example.com.
Should the Media Support Police?
BNM’s Rick Schultz writes Never has the danger to police officers been greater, and never has the thin blue line been under such attack, so where is the media?
Never has the danger to police officers been greater, and never has the thin blue line been under such attack.
So where is the media?
This past weekend, Fox News @Night hosted a discussion about public support for the police and, in doing so, highlighted a group dedicated to wounded officers and their families.
Retired Las Vegas Police Detective Lt. Randy Sutton of TheWoundedBlue.com joined host Trace Gallagher to discuss the current state of affairs from law enforcement’s perspective.
“Well, when it comes to America’s crime crisis, something appears to be missing in society and in mainstream media, covering and honoring law enforcement officers who are wounded or killed in the line of duty,” Gallagher began. “I want to know why it is that mainstream media, and that society, feels like, you know what, the war on police is not worth covering?”
“This news network is pretty much the only one that’s giving the truth out about the war on cops. Last year, 207 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Almost sixty thousand were physically assaulted in the line of duty, Trace,” Sutton responded. “They’ve been shot, they’ve been stabbed, they’ve been beaten. And yet, you don’t even see it in the newspapers. It’s barely covered because it’s not politically expedient for the political Left and for the mainstream media to even cover.”
Gallagher then drew attention to a graphic showing a mid-October statement from the National Fraternal Order of Police, @GLFOP, which read…
The spewing of anti-police rhetoric by some political and media figures as well as the failed policies of rogue prosecutors and judges, are placing our officers in greater danger. This culture of lawlessness must stop!
“A lot of people don’t know when officers get injured, not only is the officer affected. But the family and a lot of things change,” said Marcus Mason, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy, who was injured in the line of duty. “I spent about a month in the hospital, so my family had to drive to and from home, daycare, dropping off children, and doing different things to get people to work to get people to come see me and things like that. A lot of financial things are a burden put on your family. And so, The Wounded Blue was there to help my family in making those things easier. Whether it’s paying for gas or the increase in groceries and things like that, and making things easier for my family to be able to come and spend time with me.”
TheWoundedBlue.com’s mission, as stated on the website, is to improve the lives of injured and disabled law enforcement officers. They place a strong focus on de-stigmatizing mental health within the law enforcement community, in addition to providing peer support and community outreach. Their emergency phone number – (702) 290-5611 – provides “immediate trust, validation, and confidentiality, which breaks down barriers when a person is in a vulnerable state.”
Vickie Speed, whose brother-in-law was “executed in the line of duty,” joined the panel to share part of her sister’s recovery story after the violent episode.
“We got involved with Randy because he actually stepped in to help her with PTSD and trauma and I saw what he did,” she said, noting that she also lost her husband to cancer. “Just losing my husband alone, I just had a real passion to give back and not just help widows, but I’ve actually run into law enforcement that’s now retired, that’s reaching out.”
Gallagher pointed out that while the group’s mission is crucial to families recovering from such tragedies, the real shame is that Wounded Blue is needed in the first place.
“My peer team, amazing people,” Sutton said. “All of my peer team are officers who have been shot, stabbed, beaten, run over. And you know what, but I fully believe this, that the American people believe in their police and want to help. They want to have an avenue to help. And now we’re giving them that avenue by supporting these wounded officers, by going to TheWoundedBlue.org and giving what they can, can make a difference. In fact, they might even save a life.”
The question posed by Gallagher, although never definitively answered, is whether the mainstream corporate media will ever reflect the widely-held sentiment of most Americans. The feeling is that law enforcement should be applauded and supported, especially on the heels of a violent attack.
Rick Schultz is a former Sports Director for WFUV Radio at Fordham University. He has coached and mentored hundreds of Sports Broadcasting students at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Marist College and privately. His media career experiences include working for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Army Sports at West Point, The Norwich Navigators, 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie, NY, Time Warner Cable TV, Scorephone NY, Metro Networks, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Cumulus Media, Pamal Broadcasting and WATR. He has also authored a number of books including “A Renegade Championship Summer” and “Untold Tales From The Bush Leagues”. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @RickSchultzNY.