After WCPO decided not to disclose the identity of a student who hosted a party despite being diagnosed with COVID-19, the station’s content manager Ted Wilson wrote a column explaining their decision and the journalism ethics associated with it. “Often, the journalist’s job is not just to report the facts but also to balance the impact of their reporting among all the stakeholders in a story,” Wilson wrote. “In this case, WCPO 9 News chose to report what happened while trying to respect the privacy rights of the accused.”
WPCO in Cincinnati included an editor’s note at the top of their Coronavirus coverage that shared their mission and goals for reporting on this pandemic with their audience. “With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need,” the note read. “We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.”
WCPO in Cinncinati shared part of their reporting process with their audience by adding a line in their on-air coverage about how they were using video shot by the restaurant because they could not go inside due to COVID-19. “We can’t bring you this story the traditional way we would,” the anchor said. “La Soupe has asked us to stay out of their kitchen for obvious reasons, but they did offer to shoot video of food prep themselves, and that’s what you’ll be seeing in this story.” The explanation flowed well with the story and did not disrupt the storytelling.
WCPO anchor Kristen Swilley wrote a column explaining how, as an African-American woman, it was important to her to switch from straightening her hair to wearing it more naturally. She provided context about how historically, the industry hasn’t allowed women of color to wear their hair naturally, and how she was proud to work at a place that supported the change. First-person explanations like these can help quell audience assumptions while also reminding them that journalists are real people too.
WCPO addiction story
WCPO highlighted their commitment to their community in a Facebook post when they shared a link to a story about heroin addiction. They focused on how this particular story is one of hope.