Left Coast Station Crosses The Line

KEYT in Santa Barbara decided to throw journalism ethics out the window and just become Deputy Sheriffs with video cameras.

The station showed footage of last weekend’s riot near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, then told viewers that “we’ll be sharing all that video with the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office.”

KEYT cozying up to law enforcement didn’t end there, though. Its newsroom staffers posted “WANTED” tweets (“We captured his face on cam. See if you recognize him”) and asked viewers to help catch “Sheriff Brown’s #1 suspect.”

It's as if the station decided to give up TV news and play policeman. 

Then again it might not be all that surprising considering this: Victoria Sanchez, the reporter covering the riot, is the daughter of Santa Barbara chief of police Camerino Sanchez, while KEYT news anchor Paula Lopez is married to Santa Barbara County Judge Frank Ochoa.

KEYT news director Jim Lemon tells Jim Romenesko he decided to give the video to the sheriff and D.A. because “I knew I was going to get subpoenaed.”

“I thought it’s better to be upfront about what you’re going to do” and tell viewers the station is giving up the footage.

“I’ve had a few folks ask if we’re an arm of law enforcement, but the answer is no.”

Ummmm....I think the answer is yes Jim.

Just saying....

H/T Jim Romenesko