Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Best TV Reporter EVER!

On Reddit, probably the best television reporter out there was featured, Charlie LeDuff of Fox 2 in Detroit.

In the news segment cited, LeDuff reported on a long running story concerning Wayne County, Michigan Executive Robert Ficano and a money/political scandal.

LeDuff is a highly regarded writer, film maker and was a multi-media reporter for the Detroit News, according to his Web site. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his past work for the New York Times. He apparently works for the local Fox 2 station.

At first glance, the story LeDuff covered for Fox 2 is pretty standard stuff. Did Ficano mis-spend money, get a friend of his a job, and does a resulting budget shortfall cut services to needy residents?

It's almost a cliche. More mid level big city corruption. Until LeDuff got his hands on it. He comically, but passionate and angrily offers a window into what the budget cuts mean for recipients of Meals on Wheels and others.

The video is almost a year old, but it is still great to watch this reporter at work. I would be glued to local television newscasts every single night if I was able to watch something like this:

Yes, LeDuff's report is theatrical with a show business flair. As you can see in the video, he demonstrates, at length, on the incredibly scary poor quality of food from Meals on Wheels new, cheaper supplier, a prison food company in Mississsippi. Basically giving inedible rot to seniors. Real classy, Wayne County!

LeDuff even eats some cat food to demonstrate what seniors and the disabled are going through.

His report is advocacy journalism, for sure. But why not? It's OK as long  as his report is accurate and gives all sides the opportunity to speak. And he does.  Plus, it gets people fired up about an injustice, which is what the best journalism should do.

It's true, leDuff's freewheeling style of journalism has its risks. You can be entertaining and not careful enough. There were some allegations of plagarism or misreporting in his otherwise successful career.

Sometimes, news agencies are a little too careful to appear "balanced," giving equal weight between something that makes sense and something totally loony.  Sure, you need to hear everyone out in case they have a good point. You can't dismiss anybody. Until and unless you verify what they have to say isn't worth much.

That's what made LeDuff's report so refreshing. He wasn't afraid to go there to inform the public.

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