Archive for July, 2013

Was KTVU “Bart Simpsoned” on Pilot Names Error? NTSB Blames Intern for Mistake

July 25, 2013

When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash landed at SFO on July 6, the media was hungry for information for their telecasts.  Perhaps a little too hungry.  Like many of you, I saw the infamous screen grab of KVTU’s flight crew list on Facebook and thought it was a very bad (and inappropriate) Facebook prank.  But with some quick digging, it was very clear that the screen grab was real, aired in their noon broadcast on July 12th and the station had been punked.  The bogus names phonetically spelled out phrases such as “Something Wrong” and “We Too Low.”

You’d think that the names were an obvious prank of some sort, but then maybe no one at the station has ever watched The Simpsons or they would naturally have been highly suspect.  One of the running gags in earlier Simpson’s episodes were Bart Simpson’s childish prank calls to Moe, the Bartender, which Moe always falls for.

KTVUKTVU issued this apology in their 6pm broadcast on July 12th:  On Friday, July 12, during the KTVU Channel 2 Noon newscast, we misidentified the pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash.  We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out. Then, during our phone call to the NTSB where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position with the agency. We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast.

Additionally, KTVU posted this on their website: “Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”

Shortly before 6 p.m. Friday, the NTSB issued the following statement:  The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots. A summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.  We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.  Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.

The NTSB did not identify the intern, but said, “Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.”  I would certainly hope so.  The question that hasn’t been answered is “why?” The full NTSB statement can be found here.

Even with this statement from the NTSB, KTVU accepts full responsibility for this mistake.

Asiana Flight 214 was carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew members when it crash landed Saturday on the runway after striking a seawall.  Three people died and 180 were injured.

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2013. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

End of an Era: West Glen Communications Closes Its Doors Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy July 10th

July 17, 2013

WestGlen Communications began in 1970 as a distributor of sponsored 16mm films and as a producer/distributor of news films, the forerunner of video news releases. Their early clients were sponsors of television documentaries who wanted further exposure in the nation’s classrooms.  From those beginnings, they grew to be a leader in broadcast public relations and weathered many of the storms of our industry over the past decade and was on the cutting edge of providing services in the emerging technologies.

WestGlen filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 16th and their entire staff of employees were let go.  I had heard the rumors flying for weeks from several colleagues that WestGlen was in trouble, but thought they were just that – rumors.  For anyone who worked with them on the production side, we were well aware of behind-the-scenes cash flow issues from time to time, but they always seemed to pull it together and land on their feet.

You may not know that I was WestGlen’s dedicated West Coast Producer since the late 90’s for over a decade producing for them where ever in the country I was needed.  Even after I launched CMP Media Cafe, we still worked together and always had a “gentleman’s agreement” regarding clients.  You may not have known that I produced VNRs, SMTs, PSAs, and more for them since I was their “ghost” on the coast so to speak and worked seamlessly as a part of their organization (not revealing I was a stringer for them and other organizations as well), but I feel I no longer have to wear the “cloak of invisibility” with this recent public announcement.  They knew their clients were in good hands when they assigned projects to me under their company banner and it was my job to uphold their stellar reputation.

BobGreene-MarianneSchwab-June2009I really enjoyed working with their team of professionals on the East Coast and my many interesting assignments over the years that took me into the offices of Governors and the dressing rooms of movie stars to less glamorous locations like the grape vineyards of Coachella east of Palm Springs. But all good things must come to an end, I guess.  The assignments started to decrease around 2006 when they hired some excellent full time producers which had become more economically feasible than hiring “freelancers” and my last project I produced for them was in June of 2009 – a remote satellite media tour with Bob Greene at a supermarket in Thousand Oaks.

I’m sad that this institution in broadcast public relations has shut down after it had managed to hang in there for over four decades.  I have always held WestGlen in high regard, enjoyed our professional relationship and it was an honor to provide them with production services they could rely on.

As they leave a hole in this industry, they will be missed.  I hope you’ll consider letting CMP Media Cafe assist you and your clients to achieve your broadcast campaign objectives in their absence.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2013. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.