Bay Area Fox-affiliate KTVU aired a photo of Nia Wilson, a black woman who was fatally stabbed by a white man, appearing to hold a gun.
The station has since apologized for the photo choice with anchor Frank Somerville saying on air that the station “took action so that it would never air again.”
Somerville noted he has worked at the station for 30 years, and “There’s no doubt that we made a mistake. It never should have happened, but we made the mistake, and we are owning up to that mistake.” He added:
“I also want to say that Nia was just a beautiful young woman. I can only hope right now that her family and their parents are watching so that they can see me and all of us here at Channel 2 saying that we are so sorry about what happened to your daughter, and we are sorry about the mistake we made today.”
Somerville also apologized on Facebook, writing, in part, “I had nothing to do with the picture being used. I wasn’t even at work. But as a leader in the newsroom, I felt it was my job to speak up and apologize.”
“There is no excuse for what we did. Repeat: No excuse! We NEVER should have used that picture. It was a huge mistake on our part. We realized it instantly. And that picture will NEVER appear on our air again.”
iMediaEthics has contacted KTVU for more information about the photo choice and to see if any other apologies were made.
The National Association of Black Journalists, Bay Area Black Journalists Association and the Maynard Institute issued a joint statement slamming the use of the photo.
“Use of this photo violated one of journalism’s core ethics: ‘do no harm’ as it implied Ms. Wilson was dangerous,” the statement read. “The use of the photo can be seen as an attempt to dismiss her humanity and silence those who view her death as a racially-motivated attack. It was also in violation of copyright laws. Such depictions reinforce unconscious bias, particularly against people of color, who are over-represented in stories about crime and violence.”
KTVU fired three producers in 2013 after it broadcast racist and offensive names in an on-air report and graphic about the Asiana flight that crashed at San Francisco’s airport. The station reported that the pilots for the flight were Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow. KTVU said it confirmed the names with the National Transportation Safety Board, but it turned out a summer intern was the person who confirmed the names.
— Eric Junior (@ericjunior) July 24, 2018
Hat Tip: The Root