NBC News Paid for Exclusive Access to Oscar Pistorius House

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A screenshot from the news report (Credit: NBC News, screenshot)

NBC News paid “a nominal location fee” to have exclusive access to Oscar Pistorius’s former home, according to Media Bistro’s TV Newser.

The now infamous South African athlete Pistorius, a double amputee, was cleared of murder charges today but may still be convicted of neglience and serve jail time for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius claims he shot her by accident and that he thought she was an intruder in his home.

It was only because of the payment that NBC News locked up “exclusive access by the new owner of Pistorius’ recently-sold home” in Pretoria to the “bedroom and bathroom where the murder happened,” TV Newser reported.

NBC News said the fee was “nominal” but nominal is in the eyes of the beholder. Was it a hundreds or thousands of dollars?

A graphic shown during a video report from the house aired this morning read: “NBC News Given Access to Scene of Shooting.” No disclosure was made about buying the valuable exclusive rights that could be resold across the world.

NBC News’ Jeff Rossen bragged on air that it was the “first time on American TV” viewers could see the house where Steenkamp was killed.

Rossen added that “the new owner allowed us to come over” without mentioning that the owner required them to bring their checkbook.

iMediaEthics has written to NBC News to ask why it didn’t disclose the payment in this morning’s report, how many figures the payment was for, and if NBC News will disclose payments in future reports from the house.

Earlier this year, NBC News admitted it paid Steenkamp’s family “a very modest licensing fee” for “materials” related to documentaries a NBC News subsidiary wanted to make, as iMediaEthics wrote at the time. But around the same time, NBC News also got an exclusive interview with Steenkamp’s mother. We asked NBC News at the time if the exclusive interview was part of the deal for the vague “materials” the network paid for, but we didn’t hear back.

Journalism professors in South Africa were concerned that coverage of the trial against Pistorius would be sensational and disproportionate, iMediaEthics reported.

The BBC also apologized this year after a local radio program aired a sound clip of a woman’s scream and howling dogs during its reporting on the Pistorius trial.

And a South African TV news station, eNCA, apologized this year for showing the photo of one of the witnesses in the trial who had requested privacy and to be kept off camera.

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NBC News Paid for Exclusive Access to Oscar Pistorius House

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