It’s about telling the complete story

August 8th, 2012 at 1:23 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

I’d like to offer my perspective on the story about Gabby’s mom receiving bankruptcy protection a few months before her family stood (and stands) to cash in on millions of dollars in endorsement deals from the Olympics. People mistakenly believe WAVY generated this story. We did not. It was reported by the Associated Press; and because it came across the AP wire, newspapers and television stations in Virginia and across the country ran it. Ours was one of them.

I know there are many people who want nothing to tarnish an otherwise feel-good story. But the complete story is not entirely feel-good; if we don’t tell you this fact when we know it to be the truth we would not be responsibly doing our job. I suspect that other news outlets ran the AP story for the same reason. We stand behind our decision to run it. We would have no justification for keeping it from you, just as we didn’t hide any one of the numerous positive stories on Gabby’s accomplishments leading up to and during the Olympics. We celebrated her wins (in one story, we wrote: “Gabby…touched the hearts of millions with her winning routines and golden smiles”). We told those stories. Now a story comes along that is not positive, yet gives a more complete picture and some viewers ask us to apologize for reporting it?

Consider this: if a news outlet knew something about a story and was withholding it from you, wouldn’t you wonder why? And wouldn’t you wonder what else it was withholding from you? The media is often accused of slanting the news, leaving out things,  or manipulating the viewer to think or feel a certain way. Here, the exact opposite happened. And because we gave you as complete a story as we know it, you get to decide how much weight, if any, to give to the story. Would you feel differently about the story if you were one of the creditors who was owed money? As I’ve read some of these Facebook comments, I wonder how people would have reacted had they been given only the positive aspects of the story, only later to learn that the whole truth includes some negatives. Would they feel duped? I can assure you we will always try to tell you the truth, as completely as we can, even if it’s unpopular, even if it doesn’t jive with the feel-good image some viewers insist we make the story out to be.

I am not trying to sway anyone’s opinion, nor change anyone’s mind. Just giving my perspective.

Jim Gilchriest

News Director