I have mentioned before the amount of email we receive on the news desk.  Hundreds.  We have to sort through them for vital information needed by deadline; for press releases updating continuing stories or notices for upcoming events; for internal station and corporate memos; and for valid news tips.  I think only half of what is emailed is actually useful to us.  The rest is basically spam from companies (news wire services, and even some PR firms) all over the nation doing mass emails to all media outlets hoping the information is picked up and used.  Rarely are these worth anything to this news desk.

Then we receive the form letters that are emailed over and over and over with the intent that if the email letter never stops eventually the media will pay attention.  (Seriously, if you have ever been a part of such an email, please know the subject and location of the grievance is key to actually getting on the news.  A form letter regarding a situation localized in Texas will NOT get air time here in Denver.)

Finally, besides the belligerent and mean commentary emails, the ones that truly bother me and take up my valuable time are like the one below.  This email makes the claim that this story will never be seen in the media.  (At least the email leaves it at that and doesn't go off on media being to liberal or conservative or "insert negativity here".)

This email is just plain false.  If the person who had forwarded the email to the station had done one ounce of research before sending it, he/she would have found many articles on this story.

" This story will never make the papers or TV.

Subject: A Story Without Words

I believe this is the same man who did the same thing for a police officer who was badly burned.

A Story without Words

(Insert pictures that without words do tell an emotional and touching story.  Since I don't have copyright to these pictures and don't know the original souce, I am choosing not to include them.  However, I have included a screen shot of this email.)

The talent of some is absolutely amazing.


        ....YOU WON'T EVER SEE ANYTHING LIKE on TV or in the paper~"

Screen Shot

I glanced at this email and knew right away I'd seen this story before.  I did not have the time to respond, but my coworker Duncan Shaw, Executive Producer, did.  Below is his response to the sender.

  • "Thanks for your e-mail. I did a quick Internet search and found the man featured in the photos is named Robert Barron. He's a former CIA agent who now helps make custom prosthetic items. A visit to the "In The News" section of his website (http://www.prosthesis.com/news.htm) found a long list of TV and newspaper stories where he's been featured, both at the local and national level. I just wanted to let you know his story has made the papers and TV dozens of times."

I'm glad Duncan was able to respond.  Often with emails such as this, there's just no time to respond.  Frankly, I don't believe it's our responsibility in the newsroom to squash such false email rumors.  If you have the time to email it to the newsroom, which means you have to go to our Web site to either find the email address or fill out a comment form, you have the time to do a Google, Bing, Ask, etc. search. 

Then again when we don't take the time to respond the sender continues to believe the lie of the email and continues to believe the media has it's own agenda and doesn't truly care about the stories.  It's sad really.