In the era of instant status updates and text messages, the media industry is constantly keeping viewers informed and represented with “breaking” news alerts.
But, according to WFLA’s Senior Investigative Reporter Steve Andrews, it’s important to keep some simple ethical values in mind, like abstaining from ”jerk” reporter status when getting the scoop.
“You don’t have to get in his face, jam the microphone in…and go ’What are these people thinking?’” said Andrews.
In September of 2009, Andrews reported in the segment Drug Bust or Arcade, and revealed undercover drug officers playing Wii bowling while investigating a known drug dealer’s house in central Florida.
Although the task force bonded over bowling, their irresponsible actions led to the team forgetting a key piece of evidence – the dealer’s computer. The whole thing was caught on a hidden security camera at the Lakeland house.
The segment included an interview with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd regarding the actions of not only the younger officers, but the more seasoned supervisors.
Andrews calmly asked the sheriff what he thought of his officer’s actions.
In response to Andrews, Judd complacently answered questions to the best of his ability, touching on his disappointment with senior members of the drug squad.
“We had everyone calling, asking us for the video,” said Andrews.
Through his stories on now ex-Judge Stringer, who recently learned he won’t be serving time in jail, and Safari Wild, Andrews explained how to remain objective and orderly, while still asking hard-lined questions.
Andrews advised that a good reporter holds public officials accountable, but act in a professional manner.
He also added that voice raising and arm waving isn’t needed to get the right information out of public officials.
“I write questions down that I know I want answers to,” said Andrews.