Inside WRAL

Some viewers 'disturbed' we went to Haiti

Posted January 20, 2010 8:38 a.m. EST

Since last week’s big earthquake in Haiti, several viewers have written to us to say that they’re “disturbed” that we sent three WRAL employees – a reporter, photographer and engineer – to Haiti to cover the disaster.

There might be others who feel the same way, so I asked WRAL Assistant News Director Aysu Basaran to explain why we went.

But first, here are excerpts from two recent e-mails we received:

  • “I am disturbed about your station and all the other local stations in this country wasting money with the local coverage of the Haiti disaster. Y’all should be sending all that money to the victims and let the major networks handle the disaster coverage I'm sure that the people of Haiti would appreciate that more than each news station trying to outdo the other.”
  • “Why do you and other local stations feel they need a reporter in Haiti. CBS has at lest ten. That's where some of the water and food for Haitians is being used. The poor people have so much media, the people trying to help are being bothered by media. You and Channel 11 are afraid the other is going to outdo the other."

WRAL decided to send reporter Bryan Mims, photographer Tom Normanly and engineer Tony Gupton for two main reasons, according to Aysu:

  • We’re traveling with the 82nd Airborne Division and telling their story, and
  • We’re raising awareness.

“For those who think we’re bothering the 82nd – They invited us! We’re embedded with them to tell the story of their role in the relief efforts,” said Aysu. “While the network is covering the story from a big-picture perspective, WRAL is able to tell the story of the 82nd Airborne and how it's providing much needed supplies to Haitians. Our coverage provides not only information, but raises awareness of what's happening in that country. Please know we do not take these decisions lightly.”

Bryan and the crew have been blogging from Haiti.

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