Alarming News From 3 Stations


Reports from three separate TV stations regarding fire safety can take credit for raising public awareness of a lack of preparedness.

An eight-month investigation by WISN-TV Milwaukee, shared with other Hearst-Argyle stations, found that children often sleep through smoke alarms. That sparked investigations into safety standards from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

A separate report by NBC-owned KXAS-TV Dallas's Deborah Ferguson reached similar conclusions and was the basis for a report on NBC Nightly News.

And an earlier report on the same subject by CBS's WCCO-TV Minneapolis has become a teaching tool for a leading journalism instructor and has helped direct other stations to the subject.

Poynter Institute broadcast journalism instructor Al Tompkins called the WCCO-TV story by Trish Van Pilsum, now with local Fox station KMSP-TV, "a magnificent piece of work" and has encouraged producers and reporters attending his classes toward similar efforts. The WCCO report looked at the need to implement and practice in-home drills and followed it with a report on residential sprinklers.