WITI First With Co-ed Recovery


Fox owned-and-operated WITI Milwaukee was the first station on the scene with video Wednesday after police recovered a University of Wisconsin co-ed who had been missing since Saturday.

As soon as the station got word that 20-year-old Audrey Seiler had been found, WITI sent its news chopper to the site, where it was the only source of video for the breaking story's first hour on the air.

Fox News Channel and CNN both used the footage, per WITI's agreement with the cable news channels. At one point, the local ABC affiliate, Hearst-Argyle's WISN, accidentally took WITI's footage from ABC's affiliate news service, ABC News One Live. The footage had no bug on it, said George Matz, WISN's assistant news director, so WISN assumed it was available. That violated a local market non-compete clause and WITI News Director Bob Clinkingbeard quickly asked WISN to stop. WISN immediately complied, Matz said, apologizing to WITI.

WITI went wall-to-wall with coverage of Seiler's recovery on Thursday, breaking for only about three minutes of commercials, Clinkingbeard said.