From the "what the Hell were they Thinking" department, WITI-TV (Milwaukee) reporter Angelica Duria was roped into performing a promotional-type dance video while on assignment at a fire scene in West Allis where three children died.
The video featured Duria and the giddy “Wake Up News” team - anchors Kim Murphy and Shawn Patrick, reporter Laura Langemo and behind-the-scenes personnel - all doing a twitchy dance called the Dougie, based on a hip-hop song.
Duria filmed her part while at the fire scene, and the others were in the studio. Videos of each of them were edited together and posted on the station’s website and Facebook page Friday morning not long after Duria reported on the fire for the “WakeUp News” broadcast.
“The Fox 6 WakeUp Crew has a blast doing the Dougie,” the cutline to the video reads.
"We're going to go clubbing with Angelica on the weekend," says Patrick during the video.
The video was pulled from the station's website this morning.
Also on the same WITI website and Facebook page were various fire related stories, including the arrest of the mother, reaction from an aunt, a police press conference and about how neighbors were “devastated” by the tragedy.
The news stories about the fire on the websites invariably drew comments from saddened and outraged viewers. The dance video, meanwhile, was recommended by almost 300 likely amused viewers who were unaware of its connection to the tragedy.
The question of what “devastated” neighbors might have thought if they looked out their windows and saw Duria dancing near the scene clearly never occurred to anyone.
Sources said reporters and photographers from other news organizations also at the scene witnessed the dance being filmed and wondered about its appropriateness.
Duria, generally a reliable and productive reporter, did a vigorous version of the dance alongside a WITI van parked about one-half block away from the home near S. 77th and W. Hicks streets, which had been roped off with crime-scene tape.
Bystanders heard no music being played; she was likely listening to the song through an earpiece. A WITI news photographer with Duria at the fire scene filmed the dance.
Chuck Steinmetz, WITI president and general manager, said in a statement:
"We have been working to make parts of FOX 6 Wake Up more fun and spontaneous - especially near the end of the show as we transition into ‘Real Milwaukee.’ We have tried to involve all of the crew and staff."
"While I personally received multiple positive comments from viewers about the segment - one person specifically thanking us for getting their day off to a fun start before going to work - we never intended to offend anyone. If we did, we certainly apologize."