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KTVU brass meets with Asian American journos, still mum about blunder

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

After meeting with KTVU news director Lee Rosenthal and others about the station’s now infamous on-air blunder reporting false and derogatory names of the Asiana Flight 214 pilots, the Asian American Journalists Association tells Poynter it now better understands what happened. That’s terrific. If that were only true of KTVU’s viewers and the rest of the public, to whom the station’s brass have yet to offer a clue as to how the bogus names originated in its newsroom before being read over the air.

So far, the only person called out (anonymously) is the clueless former National Transportation Safety Board intern who was canned for “confirming” the fake names. The station’s brass said it couldn’t explain what went wrong in its newsroom because the airline had threatened to sue. But that excuse evaporated more than a week ago, after Asiana said it had changed its mind about a lawsuit. Still, silence.

As for the AAJA (statement below), its reps seem pleased that KTVU has promised to “improve its journalistic practices” to repair relations with the Asian American community. But there’s no hint as to what (or even if) they were were told about who was responsible for the episode and how such a preposterous caper could have happened (even as the station was busy lauding itself in promos about how swell its crash coverage was).

We thank KTVU for taking the time to speak with us in person. The dialogue helped us better understand what led to the airing of the fake Asiana pilots’ names, and the station reiterated its deep remorse over the incident. It also resulted in concrete steps promised by KTVU to improve its journalistic practices and repair its relationship with the Asian American community. KTVU and AAJA will work together in the months ahead on these various initiatives. We will provide more details in the coming days.

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