Eric Mansfield, an anchor and reporter for Channel 3 WKYC, used to be confident that network news was a humanitarian pursuit, grounded in ethics instead of dollars. That was until he met 17-year old Warren Marks.
On his personal blog, titled “Have I Got News for You!,” Manfield describes his harrowing experience with the seedy side of the business
. Marks is a senior at SuccessTech Academy. He happened to have a camcorder with him during last week’s shooting spree at that school, and he filmed his perspective as he hid in a classroom. The next day, Marks was outside of a TV studio, peddling his video to eager reporters. Inside Edition, Marks said, had paid $2,000, and he wanted comparable cash from any other shows desperate for the footage.
Mansfield was so appalled that he went all Carl Monday on the kid’s ass, airing a segment
blasting the student for attempting to “make a buck on his school’s tragedy.”
“What’s to keep to keep a student from the next school shooting,” Mansfield later conjectured on his blog, “from reaching for a camera instead of helping his classmates get out of harm’s way?”
Later that night, NBC bought the rights to the video for all of its affiliates, including WKYC. “We’ll show parts of his video,” Mansfield elucidates, “while explaining that we were given a copy by the network but did not pay for it.” It’s the network news equivalent of carnivorous freegans.
So in the end, Mansfield and WKYC sensationally exposed a 17-year-old kid for trying to sell his video, and then ran the video anyway, because the overruling corporation bought it. Phew. It seems that network news ethics remain unscathed after this close call. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts