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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hardhitting TV Journalism


Straight to the Point?

Dear Editor,

Please excuse the sarcasm, but when you don’t even pretend to take your mission seriously, I don’t think you can expect others too. Tonight I tuned in to your newscast briefly and was glad to see a report on the fireworks fiasco in Richmond last night. I had the displeasure of being there in person. You covered the bare facts of the story that left thousands of residents, visitors and their children waiting for 90 minutes to see a 10 minute fireworks display. Many people left before the fireworks even started, having waited not only 90 minutes, but having shown up many hours in advance as well. On one level this may seem like a trivial matter, but there is a serious side to this. Richmond is struggling to regain its self respect. Many people are devoting their lives to the restoration of the city. These efforts are bearing fruit everywhere now. People are returning to the city and there is even a slight heartbeat of new retail. Just how does it reflect on the city that it can’t produce one of its signature events?

I agree that safety should be a priority. On your report I did not see even the mildest question as to why no one planned for this possibility. There should have been not surprises here. Why didn’t the fire department notify the organizers sooner of the problem? Why wasn’t there a fire truck handy to wet the area down? Who was responsible for making sure these things were taken care of? These are just a few questions. Here’s another. Where’s the mayor and what does he have to say about this? I can’t say any of the other networks did a better job. Sadly they probably didn’t. I would ask you to try to serve the public in a meaningful way. How can we take you seriously, when you don’t take us seriously.

Paul Hammond
Downtown Richmond, VA

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