Buffalo NBC-affiliate WGRZ will stop showing video of a group of local high school girls affected by a mysterious disorder that makes them twitch and tic, the station announced this week.
More than a dozen students at LeRoy High School have developed the symptoms, which some doctors say indicate a psychological condition brought on by stress. WGRZ has been covering the story since it broke in November, news director Jeff Woodard says.
“We hear over and over from doctors that all the media attention doesn’t help them,” Woodard tells TVSpy.
Citing a desire to be “upfront” with viewers, Woodard says, the station discussed the decision on three separate newscasts this week. He calls the issue “a great journalistic debate” and says he can see both sides of the issue.
“I don’t know if this is something we should be doing or something we shouldn’t be doing,” he says. “It’s something we felt like doing as members of the community.”
Woodard notes WGRZ will continue to report on the ongoing story with the same frequency and urgency, but will find new ways to visualize it.
“We’ll show shots of the school, shots of the community where they live, old video of the train wreck if that becomes a concern, the facility where they’re being treated,” he says.