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April 5, 2007
Empathetic or exploitative?


One of our favorite bloogers, Cool DMZ over at, has taken local TV news to task for what he sees as the sensationalized coverage of the spate of fatal DUI car accidents in town.

Specifically, he points to Channel 3 reporter Mike TeSelle, who on bended knee interviewed the 8-year-old daughter of victim Annette Brodovsky (pictured).

As Cool DMZ writes, it's painful to watch. But, is it painful because it strikes an emotional chord in each of us? Or because a news reporter is shamelessly using a little girl's grief to get a juicier story?

In this case - and this case only - I tend to go with the former. I don't think TeSelle crossed a line by using the sound bite. I think it made us empathize with the victim's family. Yes, local TV news goes too far many, many times, as I chronicle in this space almost daily, but I've got to side with Channel 3 this time.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, The Bee's story also chose to quote one of Brodovsky's daughters, the 5-year-old.

An aside: I've watched the video of the 8-year-old girl's interview three times now and what strikes me most is her poise and wisdom when saying, "She was strong and gentle, as many women are."

I know many adults who can't articulate their thoughts as well.

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