Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chinese-language paper denied access by sheriff's deputy after Asiana crash

The Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily reports that one of its reporters, while trying to report on the passengers injured in the Asiana crash, was thrown out of San Francisco General Hospital by a deputy sheriff. However, the deputy allowed an ABC photographer standing next to the reporter to remain in the hospital, Sing Tao reports.

The incident occurred on July 8, three days after the crash.

Sing Tao said that its reporter was told by Deputy Eric Simms that the ABC photographer could stay because hospital has a policy of allowing access based on the media outlet’s audience size. The deputy escorted the Sing Tao reporter out of the hospital.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, in an interview after the incident, told Sing Tao that removing the reporter was “wrong” and shouldn’t have happened. He said he would follow up on the issue.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

3 fired over fake pilot names gaffe

KTVU has fired three veteran producers over the now famous gaffe in which anchor Tori Campbell read fake names for the four pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash. They are:
    • Roland DeWolk, investigative producer; 
    • Cristina Gastelu, special projects producer; 
    • Brad Belstock, producer who was not part of the gaffe but lost his job for tweeting immediately afterward "Oh Shit"
In addition, Elvin Sledge, a veteran producer who works on the noon news and was on duty the day of the gaffe, has told management he is retiring.

Media blogger Rich Liberman, who first reported the firings Wednesday, said he was told that an attorney from KTVU's owner, Cox Media in Atlanta, came to Oakland to conduct the internal investigation that led to the firings.

Matier & Ross report today that the fake names — which had been posted on the Internet for at least two days before the gaffe — came to the station via email from an expert source who had provided information to the station in the past.

News helicopter pilot arrested

A former news helicopter pilot who worked in the Bay Area has been arrested for flying without a proper license and lying to officials, according to the Department of Justice.

John Michael Dial, 57, worked under the fake name Thomas R. Cuni while making 265 flights in the Bay Area.

According to the AP, court documents say Dial provided false information to the Federal Aviation Administration for years to be able to work as a pilot for an air ambulance service in Susanville and as a news helicopter pilot in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Dial's last recorded flights were under his real name using fake FAA documents to get a job with Sacramento's KCRA-TV. Documents show Dial has used 24 other names and aliases over the past 12 years.

He faces up to five years in prison.

Friday, July 12, 2013

KTVU falls for hoax, airs racist names for pilots

KTVU fell for a hoax today when it broadcast on its noon news the purported names of the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. The names, which were read by anchor Tori Campbell and shown on a Chyron, were obviously fake: "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow." Campbell read them without batting an eye. Call it a Ron Burgandy moment. Later in the newscast, she apologized. (On the video, the names are at :43.)
    "Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for the error."
The blunder occurs at a time when KTVU is airing promos boasting that the station was first on the air with the crash Saturday. The Chronicle indicates that the station isn't commenting beyond the apology.

Some obvious questions:

• How did this fake info get into the newsroom?

• Who confirmed it at the NTSB?

• Didn't the producer and anchor know that the real names of the pilots came out earlier in the week, and that announcing them now was old news?

• Why didn't anybody realize the names were fake before they went on the air with them?