KTVU-TV meets with AAJA following slip-up

Asian American Journalists Association

Leaders from the Asian American Journalists Association and KTVU-TV met Friday to talk about what led to the station’s infamous slip-up.

Earlier this month, the station incorrectly named the pilots of Asiana Flight 214. The names were offensive and caused AAJA to write a statement expressing its outrage. KTVU-TV issued an apology, as did the National Transportation Safety Board, which admitted to confirming the incorrect names. AAJA has been updating its statement as news about the slip-up has unfolded.

In a Facebook post, AAJA’s Tomoko A. Hosaka said she and others from the association had a productive conversation with News Director Lee Rosenthal, Vice President & General Manager Tom Raponi, staff reporter Amber Lee and Rosy Chu, director of community affairs and public service.

We thank KTVU for taking the time to speak with us in person. The dialogue helped us better understand what led to the airing of the fake Asiana pilots’ names, and the station reiterated its deep remorse over the incident. It also resulted in concrete steps promised by KTVU to improve its journalistic practices and repair its relationship with the Asian American community. KTVU and AAJA will work together in the months ahead on these various initiatives. We will provide more details in the coming days.

AAJA president Paul Cheung said via email that AAJA initiated the conversation.  Cheung and AAJA’s Bobby Caina Calvan reacted to KTVU’s error in a Poynter.org piece last week. The error, they said, speaks to a larger issue in newsrooms.

Improved diversity among all ranks in our newsrooms — from reporters and producers to editors and managers — would help our industry improve its coverage of all our communities and increase the likelihood of preventing mistakes or inaccurate facts from being published or broadcast. Having more Asians in newsrooms wouldn’t necessarily prevent all offensive errors like the one at KTVU, but it would help.

Asiana Airlines had said it planned to sue the station because of the error, but then reconsidered. Despite the widespread criticism KTVU has received, Poynter’s Al Tompkins says there are a lot of things the station did right when acknowledging its mistake.

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