NY Stations Cover Breaking Story in Their Back Yard

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The stations in the nation’s No. 1 DMA had a breaking story blocks away from their buildings this morning, as they hustled to find the details on the mass shooting near the Empire State Building. WCBS, on its joint site with its radio properties, has some graphic photos of the crime scene, which took place on one of the most tourist-trafficked corners in New York.

WNYW got testimony from an eyewitness with a unique connection to the Fox O&O’s newsroom:

A witness who happens to be the mother of FOX 5 News Assistant News Director Emad Asghar said the gunman opened fire “indiscriminately.”Aliyah Imam told Good Day New York a woman standing next to her was shot in the leg. Imam said she went up to her office building and later back outside where she found a man lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head.

WNBC’s NBCNewYork.com reports that the history between the shooting and the victim was extensive enough that both had filed police reports.

[Shooter Jeffrey] Johnson apparently returned there Friday morning and shot and killed Steven Ercolino, 41, a coworker, [NYPD Commisioner Ray] Kelly said. Johnson and his coworker had each filed police reports against each other in the past year.

According to the police report filed by Ercolino, Johnson allegedly confronted him in an elevator at Hazan Imports last April and threatened to kill him.

WABC’s site has a statement from the father of the slain man:

“We’re a very close family and we’re not talking to reporters now. Steven was a wonderful son. He was very good son and person.”  

The WABC site also has a link to a story titled “Shooting Victims From Midtown Shooting Begin to Speak Out,” but only one victim, released from the hospital, appears in the story.

(I do give WABC credit for being the only one of the Big Four stations not to use “disgruntled former employee/worker” in its lede. CNN.com couldn’t pass up on this cliche either.)

NY1 News, meanwhile, reported on its site that some of the shooting victims may have been hit by police officers in the crossfire, citing NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

A friend who’s a longtime news veteran said the live TV coverage this morning was a mix of good info and shoddy.

“Watching live coverage of the shooting near the Empire State Bldg gives good example of how bad quick reporting can be, because it lacks facts and verification,” he posted on Facebook, while listing a litany of misstatements–including that the shooter had been laid off yesterday, that he fired buckshot from a shotgun, that the slain person was a woman.

[image: WNYW]

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