Indy News Director Response to Viewer Outrage over Story

WISH in Indianapolis has viewers up in arms after they interviewed the family of a (see above) a man that is accused of gunning down a police officer.

The story leaned in favor of the suspect with at least 3 different sound bites saying that "he was not a bad person." The story also seemed to put the blame on the cop that was killed. The story was poorly done and was far from balanced. 

Needless to say, viewers took issue with the story and lit up WISH phone lines and social media.

Today, WISH News Director Steve Bray tried to explain why the station would run such a story.

On the station's website, Bray wrote: 

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Officer Renn’s family and friends during his extremely difficult time. A brave husband, friend and hero lost his life in another senseless crime. We have seen way too many lives lost to violence in Indianapolis, but it is even more heart wrenching to see someone who answered the call every day to protect us. We also extend our sympathy to the IMPD family and offer thanks to those who continue to stand on the Thin Blue Line.

We have received numerous comments about a story we covered on Sunday involving the family of Major Davis Jr., the accused killer of Officer Renn. As a news organization, we provide balanced coverage and both sides of the story. Our obligation to you is to cover every angle of a story. That obligation unfortunately, at times, includes uncomfortable subjects or comments that are difficult to hear, or even make you angry. And while we are journalists, everyone on our staff is human as well and we have similar reactions. So these are situations we take very seriously.

By showing the other side, you were able to get the answer to “why someone would do this?” We wanted to give insight into the mind of the people/family who were involved so there was some context and exposure for you into this world. For some, maybe it’s a world you are already familiar with; for others it may be something you cannot even comprehend. It was difficult for many of us to watch and understand mostly for the reporter who did the story. Her father is a veteran of IMPD.

This story was just a small part of our complete coverage, with the vast majority honoring the fallen officer for his service. We will continue to do so this week as he is laid to rest. Again, we honor him for his dedication to duty and we hope you understand the tough choices we have to make in doing ours. Like our viewers, we want justice to be served.

Steve Bray
News Director, WISH-TV 24-Hour News 8