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M.L. Huber, New Rockford, N.D., Published December 18 2013

Letter: KVLY rationalization of breaking law for a scoop is ethical concern

Where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the head? I’m honestly not quite sure what KVLY TV’s Valley News Live was trying to prove other than to stoke what is, at the moment, a charged issue nationwide.

It would be far more productive to accept or acknowledge that everyone agrees about the problem and that we all know it exists. What we don’t agree on, in point of fact, is how to solve it.

A more proper and civil route would have been to discuss the issues of building security with each of the schools in Fargo instead of acting the part of the deranged people who commit these crimes. Were it to happen, I understand that a criminal wouldn’t walk past the office or follow all the rules. I grant that.

However, I’m concerned about just how far one reporter was willing to go to scoop a shock-value story, and I question the journalistic ethics that Valley News Live is using to rationalize it. Journalists break the law to save people. No one was saved here. For its part, Valley News Live did point out in obvious fact that there exists a problem with security in these buildings, as they exist in most buildings that are designed for public use.

To be blunt, any public school will more or less have these issues, and they are in no way unique to Fargo. If one reporter with no criminal background can enter a school playing the part of a shooter, then the possibility exists that the real deal can some day happen.

But rather than an overt attempt to scare the public into demanding something that’s already on the minds of every student, school board member and public school employee in the nation, perhaps a better route would have been to be part of the solution and help brainstorm ways to help keep every student safe.

In effect, I’m not sure Valley News Live understands just how aware every man, woman and child is of gun violence in this country, and of how stories such as the one they approved and self-righteously justified help breed it.

VNL wants to evangelize the news? Fine. They want to point out problem after problem with schools, their staff and their buildings until public education is just never good enough? That’s fine, too. But don’t be surprised if one day that story eventually gets old. Trust me. We know how it ends.