“Multiple people” handled an erroneous report before it was aired by Oakland, California-based FOX affiliate KTVU on July 12, an advocacy group said Monday.
The Asian American Journalists Association said station management with KTVU-TV admitted several people handled the report before the names — Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow — were read on-air by anchor Tori Campbell during the station’s noon broadcast.
The disclosure came during a meeting between station management and representatives with the AAJA on Friday. The meeting lasted more than 90 minutes.
KTVU declined to “share specifics as to where it got the names” and also refused to provide details as to how the names were delivered, the group said.
KTVU general manager told representatives of the group that the incident was “one of the lowest points of his career,” the AAJA said.
“We shouldn’t have gone to air” with the names, Raponi was quoted as saying during the meeting, adding that the reporting was a clear “breakdown” in journalistic standards for the station that had been the San Francisco Bay Area’s television news authority.
The AAJA disclosed that days before the incident KTVU had correctly reported the identity of at least two pilots aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
Campbell issued an on-air retraction during the July 12 broadcast when it became apparent the names were erroneous. Campbell said the station confirmed the names with an official at the National Transportation Safety Board’s offices in Washington; that “official” turned out to be a summer intern.
The AAJA said KTVU has now directed their newsroom staffers to “get the name and title of any person confirming information.”
Despite the on-air retraction, the erroneous report went viral when several people — including The Desk — uploaded the report to the video sharing website YouTube.
On Saturday, The Desk noted that KTVU had started filing copyright infringement notices with YouTube, seeking the removal of videos uploaded to several accounts. The Desk has filed counter-notifications on the grounds of fair use and expects the matter to be resolved in a few weeks.
Many news organizations, including the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Radar Online, had offered embedded YouTube videos in their reports.
On Monday, Raponi admitted to a news organization that the KTVU had started ordering YouTube to remove the videos. In his statement, Raponi painted those who had redistributed the clip on YouTube and on other media websites as being “insensitive.”
“The accidental mistake we made was insensitive and offensive,” Raponi told TVSpy. “At this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to 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.”
In its statement on Monday, the AAJA acknowledged KTVU had started ordering YouTube to remove the videos. AAJA president Paul Cheung told The Desk by email that it was “KTVU’s decision to issue takedown notices with YouTube.”
The Desk has tried on several occasions to reach Raponi and news director Lee Rosenthal for comment. Those emails have gone unreturned.