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A Case of Mistaken Identity

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A case of mistake identity.

A couple weeks ago, we ran a story about a man who had reportedly hit his wife with some sort of board or stick and knocked her eye out. Included with the story was the man’s name, but not the name of his wife, or his picture. As I read the man’s name, and where he lived, I began to get a little worried.

You see, the man’s name is the same name as a neighbor of mine, and this accused abuser lives in the general area that I do. The man, we’ll call him “Tom” for the blog, lives in we’ll say “Sugarhouse.” Now beside’s being my neighbor, “Tom” is also the Scout Master for our neighborhood.

But, I couldn’t imagine “Tom” being a wife abuser. Then I read that “Tom” had a criminal record for abuse. All this time, I’m thinking, “How did “Tom” get past the BSA screening if he has a record of abuse?” So, I began digging deeper. I watched the raw tape that was brought in from the Channel-5 photographer. I read the preliminary story on the wire. I dug through the internet, and finally concluded that “Tom” the accused abuser is NOT “Tom” my neighbor. What a relief!

But it also makes we wonder. How often do things like this happen to listeners? Do they ever hear about “Tom” the abuser who lives right next door? Are there ever listeners confused or worried by the information we broadcast, because it sounds close to home? Sometimes in Radio news, we’re forced to drop details from a story so we can give you as many different stories as possible in the short time we have to tell our tales.

I worry that could lead to a listener being confused, or worried. Because I don’t want that to happen, and since it might take you the listener much longer than it took me to double check on a story, I am trying to make sure I identify criminals when I’m preparing the scripts for Grant and Amanda; trying extra hard to not only be accurate, but to also be through; and trying in everyway I know how, to make sure you don’t suffer a “Case of mistaken identity,” like I did.


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Don Brinkerhoff


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