Orlando TV station took steps to cover tower climber without inteferring with a sensitive situation

WKMG, the affiliate in Orlando, Florida, found a big story happening in its own backyard after a man climbed its 400-foot TV transmitter tower.

  • However, the station opted not to provide a live video stream from the scene and made known its reasons for doing so.
  • It did provide updated reports on the situation on its website, social media accounts and on air throughout the roughly eight hour ordeal.
  • Police earlier indicated they had identified the alleged climber as someone with mental health concerns, so the situation quickly became a crisis negotiation.
  • The station interviewed a reserve Florida Highway Patrol trooper who also serves as a traffic safety expert for the station, who pointed out the importance of containing a situation like this — and avoiding any potential distractions that could endanger the safety of the individual or first responders.
  • “Showing live images increases the stress of everyone involved,” he said.
  • The station did, however, capture much of the incident on camera from a distance but did not stream the video live.
  • In addition, the station’s helicopter was dispatched but stayed about four miles from the station — which meant it was out of earshot of the scene so as not to impede any communication between the man and officials.
  • Although the man ultimately made it to the ground safely, the station could have also risked showing a graphic and disturbing scene had the man jumped or slipped.
  • The station also provided links to mental health and crisis resources.
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