Saturday, January 17, 2009


No one will rejoice the death of newspapers more than the TV personalities who occasionally grace their pages after run-ins with the law.

For as long as they still exist, newspapers will enjoy nothing more than showing the dark sides of the people who look so bright on television.

No shock, then, that the Tampa Tribune, the same paper that recently had to publish a denial of persistent rumors that it would stop publishing after the Super Bowl, would take one of its few remaining delights by reporting the arrest of a local morning show anchor.

WTVT's Russell Rhodes, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrest record faces charges of opposing an officer without violence.

(One might wonder what Mr. Rhodes' face, seen in his mug shot at left, would resemble if his alleged opposition was with violence.)

I'm not saying it's not news if someone who has appeared on local television for almost 15 years gets arrested after trying to stumble drunkenly away from a sheriff's deputy with his pants undone and belt unbuckled -- as the deputy reported.

I am saying there's no real news value in reporting the arrest the same night of a behind-the-scenes person at a different station for a routine DUI. But the Tribune did that, too.

April Wilson, pictured at right, is the executive producer of a program called "Daytime" that airs weekdays on WFLA. Hardly any of the Tribune's readers, of the few who remain, would know that and fewer of them would care.

I did notice that the Trib published Wilson's address but omitted Rhodes' even though both appear in their arrest reports. Mighty nice of it. But why is Wilson's arrest news at all? It isn't. As much as misery loves company, do newspapers in their struggle to survive still have the luxury of nursing such petty rivalries?

1 comment:

Brad said...

Maybe the Tribune felt obligated to report the arrest of a Media General employee since the bigger story about Mr. Rhodes was publiched. If Russel's not busted, then maybe publicizing Ms. Wilson's arrest is handled on its own merits, of which there are few if any.