KTVU reportedly fires producers following on-air gaffe

San Francisco Chronicle | Rich Lieberman

KTVU-TV has reportedly fired three producers following its infamous on-air mistake involving the incorrect names of Asiana Flight 214 pilots.

Special projects producer Cristina Gastelu, investigative reporter Roland DeWolk and producer Brad Belstoc have all been let go, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Noon news producer Elvin Selvidge has said he's leaving for health reasons, the Chronicle reports. Blogger Rich Lieberman first reported the information.

Following its error, which aired during the July 12 noon newscast, KTVU apologized and took full responsibility. The station had confirmed the names with the National Transportation Safety Board, which later issued its own apology for incorrectly confirming the names. KTVU has still not said how it initially obtained the offensive names.

The video of the error was removed after KTVU filed a copyright infringement notice with YouTube. General Manager Tom Raponi told TVSpy’s Kevin Eck:

“The accidental mistake we made was insensitive and offensive.  By now, most people have seen it.  At this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to the many in our Asian community who were offended.  Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others.”

Paul Cheung, president of the Asian American Journalists Association, has been vocal about his response to the error; in a piece with AAJA's Bobby Calvan, Cheung said more newsroom diversity could have helped prevent KTVU's mistake.

AAJA leaders met with KTVU's Raponi and others last week to discuss how the station can increase its diversity and prevent future errors.

KTVU said it would "work with AAJA to develop a pipeline of talented journalists who could add to the station’s diversity," according to Calvan. It also said it plans to do a better job confirming the identity of sources, scrutinizing tips and checking the pronunciation and spelling of names.

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

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