One of the more compelling moments at the hearing came when Leschi administrative secretary Teresa Stout spoke of all the things her school has had to deal with this year (in addition to Halsne showing up with a hidden camera and, according to the News Council, unfairly damaging the reputation of their beloved custodian, Chester Harris). Starting at about 57:25 on the TVW video, Stout explains:
At Leschi Elementary School this year, we have had more than our share of difficult situations, from students being taken into protective custody by CPS, to KIRO's story on Mr. Harris, to my battle with breast cancer, and finally to the untimely death of one of our students' fathers in a random shooting just a few weeks ago. During this year we have come together to cry together, to laugh together, and to persevere under the worst of circumstances but we always hold our heads up high and support each other in a very unique way. All we are asking for is that KIRO apologize to Mr. Harris and the Leschi School community on air, and on their web site, and admit that the story was false.
KIRO tells me it stands by its stories. More to come.
UPDATE: Over at Crosscut, Ted Van Dyk, one of the News Council's hearing panel members, writes:
All members of Saturday's panel, including myself, were thoroughly dismayed by the conduct displayed in the Leschi matter by KIRO 7 and, in particular, Halsne. Though new media have made inroads, KING, KOMO, and KIRO primetime TV news coverage remains important to area viewers' understanding of events in their communities. If I were KIRO's general manager, or an executive of CoxMedia Group, the parent company in Atlanta, I'd have the KIRO news director in front of my desk and would probably have long since reassigned Halsne to more appropriate duties — let us say, as a custodian.