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Weather Channel arrests

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:54 PM GMT on April 17, 2006

Three members of a Weather Channel camera crew were arrested Wednesday after repeatedly trespassing on the property of a tornado victim killed by a tornado in Tennessee. Edward John Lazano Jr., Bradley Reynolds, and Jorma Brandon Duran were freed on $500 bail each after their arrests. The Weather Channel has not released any comments on the matter. According to the press release from the Associated Press:

"There are eight no trespassing signs posted on the property," Bruce's brother-in-law, Lynn Boren, wrote in warrants filed against the video team. "They were asked at least six times over 30 minutes to leave."

Sheriff Jackie Matheny denied reports that he gave them permission to be on the property.

"If they say they were given permission by me, they are telling a big one. Plus I'd have no authority to tell them that since it's private property," Matheny said.

I hope this incident will encourage all media to be respectful of the victims of tragedy. With the recent explosion of dramatic prime-time coverage of disasters, such as offered by the Weather Channel, Discovery Channel, and other news programs, the media needs to be sensitive in their disaster coverage to prevent the perception that sensationalist journalism is exploiting death and tragedy for the sake of profit.

To their credit, the Weather Channel did offer a public apology on Thursday:

"While we cannot comment on legal proceedings, we are upset and saddened this family suffered the loss of one of its members," Weather Channel spokeswoman Kathleen Lane said.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.