“This story is my attempt to understand how two television stations could receive the same tip, yet end with totally opposite conclusions. It marked the first time I realized - and felt uncomfortable with - the power those of us in local TV news have over the lives of private people.”
Thanh Tan was a TV reporter in Boise, Idaho, when her boss passed along what seemed like a hot news tip: a sex offender was working with kids at a local ice rink, as a hockey referee. But when she looked into it, she found out the crime was more than a decade old. Plus, the guy's statutory rape charge had been dismissed by a judge. So she never did the story. But her closest TV news competitor ran with it, making it "exclusive" breaking news, for days. Thanh tells the story of how it got on the air, and how it affected everyone involved.
Thanh's story was co-produced by Dmae Roberts. (23 minutes)