Rachel Barnhart’s Rochesterian blog reports that Buffalo’s WGRZ-TV has told viewers it will no longer show footage of the Le Roy students who are showing Tourettes-like symptoms. (I’ve called the news director for comment, but haven’t heard back.) This is what the station said, according to Barnhart:
Regarding the Le Roy story, we want to tell you about something we’ve decided here at 2 On your Side. The doctors involved in this case have said that part of the problem is that the media is constantly replaying video of these girls on the news, and the stress of being on TV, even after the interviews have ended, are making things worse for them. 2 On Your Side not only takes its journalism seriously, we also take seriously our role in our community. And if not showing the teens and their tics will help, then we’re in. We have decided, until or unless some other diagnosis is realized, that we will not be showing the video of the girls and their tics. We will continue to follow the story as we have from the start. We’ll talk to doctors, school administrators, and parents. Now, we can’t control all the media, even our own network’s coverage of this story, but we can control what we do and we have decided to do this because the doctors say its best for the kids in this situation.
I can see both sides. On the one hand, the girls themselves are continuing to give television interviews. Their parents, to my knowledge, have not complained to news outlets about use of footage. I am also unaware of any medical professionals directly reaching out to television stations asking them to stop. There is still intense interest in the case. Showing the girls’ distress in context can be helpful to a story. And, as one person said upon learning of this decision, “The genie is out of the bottle.”