Indianapolis Local Stations Respond to Stage Collapse

By Merrill Knox Comment

Indianapolis stations have devoted large portions of their newscasts this week to the aftermath of a stage collapse at the State Fair Saturday night, which killed five people and injured 48 more.

All four major stations — WXIN, WISH, WHTR and WRTV — have been raising money for the State Fair Remembrance Fund, which has raised more than $30,000 to date. Stations have given viewers instructions, both on the air and online, on how to pledge gifts via text message. Fox affiliate WXIN has declared today a “Day of Dedication” and pledged to match gifts viewers donate today up to $20,000.

Sugarland, who was set to perform at the State Fair before the stage collapsed, resumes their tour tonight at a concert in Albuquerque. The country music duo has a tribute planned for Indianapolis victims, and both WXIN and WISH will broadcast the concert.

Amid all the positive contributions local stations are making in the aftermath of the collapse, some viewers are concerned that the dramatic video of the stage collapsing is being overused in reporting the story. In response to comments by concerned viewers, WHTR, the NBC affiliate, wrote on their Facebook page:

We’ve discussed this in our editorial meetings and the decision was not to use [the video] unless it is critical to the story. Since a lot of our stories continue to be about the stage collapse, it’s possible it will still come up occasionally. All I can say is that we understand viewer concerns and in most cases we are freezing the image, if we use it at all.