On Monday, Poynter’s Al Tompkins wrote about a recent Houston TV station memo that explained a new policy — don’t go knocking on crime suspects’ doors.
Since the Demond “knock on the door gun incident” from earlier this year, Don Kobos and I have been discussing the merits of knocking on doors of crime suspects. In short, we just don’t see the need to do it as the risk to reward ratio does not justify it. It’s just a sound-bite.
From this point forward reporters are not to go to a suspect’s house and knock on the door seeking comment. Producers and Managers are prohibited from ordering reporters and photographers from this type of news gathering.
Tompkins wrote about the possible results this memo could have, including protecting the reporters, protecting the station from liability if the reporters go ahead and knock, and watering down reporting.
What’s your newsroom’s policy on approaching crime suspects at their homes? Have you ever been in danger in that situation? Have you gotten a story you wouldn’t have otherwise? Tweet to me (@kristenhare) or e-mail (email@example.com) and I’ll pull together what we hear.
In the meantime, here’s the video that led to the memo for KTRK, (the station also had shots fired into the newsroom recently,) as well as a few more times when the person answering the door wasn’t too happy to find a reporter on the other side.
In November of last year, WESH 2′s Claire Metz approached a home without her camera or microphone, but things still didn’t go well. The Orlando, Fla., station didn’t shoot video, but they did get a photo.
In June of last year, a woman in Providence, R.I., used rocks and dogs on Marc Jackson and Abbey Niezgoda with WLNE-TV.
And in February of this year, a woman packed up the car for Josh Taylor, with WWSB in Sarasota, Fla., and then drove it down the road.