Robert Swift: One reporter’s treasure is another’s trash
He’s no longer a Sonic, because of course we don’t have an NBA team yet, but Robert Swift’s foreclosed home has journalists debating what is and what isn’t news.
KOMO 4 TV has been breaking a lot of stories lately. They were the first to take viewers inside Robert Swift’s home – describing the piles of trash, bullets in the foundation, bullet casings, and feces.
Their story was picked up around the world by tabloids and more reputable news organizations. Editors knew the shock value of this story was too good to ignore, after someone told them who Robert Swift was. He’s not a name the casual sports fan would know.
One thing I learned from this is that he went from high school to the NBA, that’s rare. That would mess with anybody’s mind. Some of our talk hosts on KIRO Radio discussed the situation with empathy, others played up the story as a freak show.
Still others, are critical of the way the story was covered. Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd writes:
If there’s a “Hoarders” division for the local news Emmy, KOMO-TV is a shoo-in.
Fans of salacious non-news will note that dogged KOMO reporter Jon Humbert triumphantly capped off his incessant stalking of obviously messed-up former Sonic Robert Swift by finally getting a camera crew inside Swift’s trashed Eastside manse to show just how messed up the guy really is.
Shockingly, the station’s
EXCLUSIVE video revealed copious amounts of empty beer bottles, old pizza boxes, holes in walls and — cover the children’s ears — dog poop on the front deck. All stuff KOMO just knew, knew, knew was going to be there as they camped on the front porch for days on end as Swift was evicted from his foreclosed-upon house.
That’s modern TV news gold, baby. And having reinforced, for a moment, its viewers’ self-assigned sense of moral superiority, the station now returns you to its regularly scheduled vapid programming.
Seriously, People: There’s
probably a worthwhile story in the fact that a kid who signed a
multimillion-dollar NBA contract straight out of high school wound up squandering his cash (The Times referenced it as well.) But that wasn’t it.
Seriously Ron, you know if The Seattle Times would have had the photos, video and story first it would have been splashed across your pages too. True, they’d likely add more context.
Anyone who reads the comments on my stories knows we often get into “this isn’t news” and “who cares” discussions. So, I’d like your thoughts on this.
A 7’1″ former Sonic from Bakersfield, California couldn’t pay his bills and left an Eastside house in deplorable condition according to the new homeowners who were happy to show a KOMO TV news crew around. Is this something you’re interested in?
Is this non-news?
By LINDA THOMAS