Are ‘Reunion’ Segments Orchestrated By News Organizations The Right Thing To Do?

By Alex Weprin 

The disaster in Japan has meant that thousands of people are unaccounted for, particularly in parts of the country that were hit hard by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

With so many people unable to reach loved ones, many TV  news organizations rushed to try and connect them. We linked to a few already, when Ann Curry connected an American teacher visiting Japan to her family in San Francisco, and CBS’ own Lucy Craft reuniting with her son.

In both cases, TV cameras were present as the families got the news. It was emotional, gripping television, but it was also quite manipulative, according to AOL News contributor Lauren Frayer.

Frayer writes about another reunion, orchestrated by CNN and Soledad O’Brien:

CNN ran a huge banner headline, “Breaking News: American Located in Japan,” across the screen during the live interview.

But the encounter was so awkward, with Fales visibly uncomfortable and stumbling over his words, that some YouTube viewers accused CNN of putting the traumatized survivor on the spot. O’Brien prodded Fales at one point to look into the camera, and urged his father on the line to express more emotion.

What do you think? Should TV networks work to connect loved ones? If they do, should they show it on-camera? Let us know in the comments.