A Former Memphis TV Reporter Finds that Sometimes the Scoop Can Lead to a Lawsuit and I Am Not a Consumer Reporter Nor Do I Play One on TV

There’s nothing like a good news scoop to get the attention of the viewing public and more importantly, your bosses. After all, impress your bosses enough and you’ll get that raise. But sometimes that scoop will come back to bite you. That’s not a problem as long as you’ve done nothing wrong AND the station’s management and attorneys back you. A former Memphis TV reporter who worked on a big story in Chicago was named in a lawsuit filed in connection with that story. The reporter is former WMC anchor/reporter Mike Puccinelli. The story involved video Puccinelli and his news crew acquired last year of Amy Jacobson, a Chicago area TV news reporter who was visiting the home of a man whose wife had disappeared. The video showed Jacobson in a bikini at the home of this person. The article from the Chicago Sun Times details what the lawsuit is all about but here is an excerpt.

One year after a secretly recorded videotape of her in a bikini derailed her career as a Chicago television news reporter, Amy Jacobson is fighting back. On Monday, Jacobson filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 for airing the tape of her at the home of Craig Stebic, the southwest suburban Plainfield man whose estranged wife, Lisa, has been missing since April 2007…….The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by attorney Kathleen Zellner, claims defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other counts. In addition to CBS, it names Channel 2’s president and general manager, Joe Ahern, the station’s vice president and news director Carol Fowler, reporter Mike Puccinelli and anchor Rob Johnson. It also names Michele Weldon, a Northwestern University journalism assistant professor who was interviewed for the station’s original story about Jacobson, and Tracy Reardon, Stebic’s next-door neighbor from whose bedroom window the hidden-camera video was shot. In a statement, CBS 2 said it stands by its reporting: “Ms. Jacobson’s claim has no merit and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves in court.”

I’m not sure but I think she’s suing everyone but you and me and I’m not sure about you. This may be one of those times when the publicity may outweigh any monetary cost the station might incur should they lose the suit.

I was checking my email Tuesday and discovered multiple items from folks wanting to give me millions of dollars. I am some kind of lucky guy. I was in the process of sending all of those to the spam file when one mail caught my eye. It was from a woman with a Memphis phone number asking me to help her child get the money from a fast-food place where she says he worked. According to the writer, her child has worked at this fast food place for about three weeks now and hasn’t gotten paid. She asked me to lend a helping hand. Some might have gone ahead and dumped her email with the spam items but I decide to be on her side. I looked up the general numbers for each of the stations in Memphis and shared them with her. She wrote back thanking me. Perhaps someone willing to problem solve or be on her side or be one of the investigators will help her out. Just a side note: I thought it would be pretty easy to find the consumer reporter numbers on Memphis TV station websites. I kind of know how to negotiate a website and the best I could do in most cases was just get a general newsroom number. Maybe that’s by design but for those folks needing help from those who claim to be ready to help, the numbers need to be easier to locate on a webpage.

And finally, I’ve been enlightened once again that I’m bitter toward WREG and that I’m lazy and there was something else but I forget what it was. Since I deleted the comment, which did make me chuckle, I can’t go back to find out what it was. The way that I figure it, if someone attacks me personally without putting their name to their comments, it’s not worth me posting it on MY blog. However, if someone has the where-with-all to comment and put their name to it, that could be a different matter. I just don’t think that person has the cojones or ovaries, as the case may be, to do it. Nuff said.

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2 Comments on “A Former Memphis TV Reporter Finds that Sometimes the Scoop Can Lead to a Lawsuit and I Am Not a Consumer Reporter Nor Do I Play One on TV”

  1. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!

    It is unfortunate that you have hit a nerve with someone down at 3.

    If you have been ugly, I haven’t seen it or missed it. If ( maybe, suppose) I was a stockholder/investor with the parent company, I might be wondering how these people have time on my dime, to fire off nasty messages on a computer.

    Perhaps somebody has a lot of spare time on their hands that need to utilize it somewhere else. Some people in this business need to be reminded that a newsroom is for professionals and not a playhouse.

  2. joelarkins Says:

    It makes me chuckle on a couple of levels. The way that I look at it, someone either has more time on his or her hands and the boss doesn’t know about it or the boss does know about it and this is time someone is spending NOT being on someone;s side. Heaven forbid THAT be the case. Either way it really doesn’t matter to me. I rarely get information by way of the internet DOTR. Most of that comes from phone calls or direct contact. Also, thanks to the miracle of Spam Filters, all you have to do after the first ugly email is mark it as Spam and voila!. It’s like mosquito repellent that wards off annoying little bugs. Thanks for checking in JD.

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