Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
The story of Los Angeles TV reporter Serene Branson’s stumbling and slurred speech during her coverage of the Grammy Awards Sunday night lit up YouTube and Twitter on Monday.
But the NBC Today show this morning ran the video over and over in a more-than-five-minute package that included speculation from two doctors who had not evaluated Ms. Branson in person, and criticism of the paramedics on the scene.
Is this sound journalism?
Granted, Ms. Branson is a public figure whose performance was captured on video. Does that mean she abdicates any right to privacy about what did or did not happen to her?
Is such speculation vital for public discussion? Worthy of 5 minutes-plus of network television airtime?
Or is this a matter of capitalizing on a person’s misfortune because you know the story is drawing lots of eyeballs?
I have mixed emotions about what NBC did. But as I sort through the mixed feelings, I still end up feeling they crossed a line.
I welcome your comments.
UPDATE ON FEBRUARY 17: This just in – and not that this is the end of the story – but it raises even more questions about the value and propriety of all of the speculation from people who hadn’t even examined the woman directly. The doctors who now HAVE examined her diagnose it as a “complex migraine.”