Nexstar News Director Responds to FTVLive Story

Yesterday, FTVLive told you that WTVO (Rockford) News Director Scott Picken did a 7 minute story on himself, on the station's newscast.

It seems that he was issued a summons for letting his dog run loose, something that he says was a mistake. 

A station Reporter did not do the story on Picken, he reported the story himself, about himself. 

Maybe we're just old school, but when you decide to be a Journalist, you should tell other people's stories on the newscast and not your own. 

Picken emailed FTVLive to defend his story. Picken said that a 7 minute story on his newscast is not out of the norm. Of course, a seven minute story by the News Director, about the News Director is we're guessing, certainly not normal. 

Picken writes, " I personally do a long form report (I try to do two a year), I typically have one of my anchors review it and voice it.  However, in this case, that would have set up a conflict of interest which would have put them in a position which I felt was untenable.  Pursuing this issue meant I would have to do it myself."

Picken then adds, " does highlight a problem that can subject dog owners in Illinois to unnecessary (and I would argue wasteful) harassment using the court system, and now there is legislation to correct that."

If this is the widespread problem with the state's dog owners, this means it has happened to other people....SO why not tell their story instead of making this about you? 

Also, did Picken ever try and talk to the person that said his dog went after their dog? He never said so in the story if he did. Wouldn't this had offered a more fair and balanced report? 

As for making the story all about him? Picken cites this example. "Bob Woodruff’s reporting on recovering from traumatic brain injury after an IED attack in Iraq I thought was quite enlightening."

I'm not sure that a summons for letting your dog run loose and being blown up by a bomb are quite comparable, but in Woodruff's case he was known to viewers. So it did bring a face to the story. 

I still think that ABC's story could have been just as "enlightening" if they used a soldier or two that went through the same thing. 

Just because the network does it, doesn't make it right. 

The bottom line is Picken is the News Director and if he wants to go on the air and do stories about himself every newscast, he can. Hell...he can do the weather for all we care. 

But, this came off to us as a guy that thought he got a bum rap and used his power as a TV executive to shame officials and his neighbor that complained. 

Picken says that his station's ratings are through the roof and admits that, "what we do here does not always follow standard TV news convention, but I feel it works for us."

More power to them, but we still feel as a Journalist you tell other people's stories and not your own.

But hey, that's just us. 

BTW- if you wonder how Picken got hired by Nexstar, just check out his LinkedIn page where he boasts about how he was able to do stuff on the cheap. A perfect choice for a company that acts the same way.