KMIZ (Columbia, Missouri) has suspended two newsroom employees for their actions while covering a news story.
The station says that the news crew was assigned to cover Columbia’s so-called “fireworks war” on July 4th when they encountered three individuals intending to take part in the annual event. Our crew agreed to drive those individuals in exchange for conformation as to the location of event.
KMIZ went on air saying, "The decision was wrong and failed to live up to the ethical standards KMIZ has for its journalists," adding, "Our job as journalists is to objectively cover the news, not become participants in the coverage."
Both employees have been suspended pending an internal investigation by KMIZ management.
Now there is no doubt that what the two did was wrong and suspension is the right discipline. Columbia is a small market and it is there where Journalists learn how to do their job and mistakes such as this can and will happen.
We are not condoning what they did and if this same thing was done in a bigger market, firing the staffers might be in order.
But these are young people with little experience working in a small market, often times with management that is inexperienced as well.
I made this same point over the Weekend concerning a news crew that was suspended in Yuma.
This is a prime example of why kids that are fresh out of school should head to a small market. There you can make mistakes on a much smaller scale and learn what is and is not the correct way to do the job.
Here's hoping that KMIZ does not go further and fire the two. They deserved to be suspended and hopefully they have learned from their mistake.