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Published February 07 2013

Benshoof: KVLY responds, doesn’t answer question

FARGO - In the curious case of the retouched photo, the plot thickens.

The Forum published on Thursday an “in-depth” but unsuccessful investigation into an apparently edited image used as background scenery during the weather forecasts on Valley News Live newscasts. The photo of downtown Fargo depicts the 60-foot sign on The Forum’s building as being blank. The highly visible sign, of course, bears the newspaper’s name.

The station tackled the issue Thursday night, as Chris Berg and Robert Hahn discussed the topic on KVLY’s 6:30 p.m. opinion show, thanking The Forum for drawing attention to the station during February – a sweeps month when ratings are especially important – and downplaying the whole blank-sign business.

“The bottom line is, hey, it’s just a weather graphic. That’s it,” Hahn said.

The station also added a playful new tweak to the downtown photo by adding the Valley News Live logo to the side of The Forum’s building during the 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. weather segments.

Hahn also referred to the sign of the Radisson Hotel – a Forum neighbor – which in some instances appears to be missing from the side of its building.

“I don’t believe they’re going to come running after us saying, ‘Hey, why isn’t our sign up on the graphic?’ ” Hahn said.

Except at other times, the Radisson sign can be seen in Valley News Live images, while The Forum sign is always devoid of all the letters – F, O, R, U and even M. In one image used by VNL on Thursday, the newspaper’s sign was gone completely – though that could be an untouched photo from the three-month period when the beacon was removed during late 2011 and early 2012.

And why was the photo even altered in the first place? Hahn and Berg didn’t offer an answer.

As Sherlock Holmes might say: Watson, this case is far from solved.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535

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