WDBJ at center of gun control controversy, vows to stay objectiv - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

WDBJ at center of gun control controversy, vows to stay objective

The WDBJ staff stand together in solidarity. They wore maroon and teal ribbons. Maroon for Adam, teal for Alison. (Credit: NBC12) The WDBJ staff stand together in solidarity. They wore maroon and teal ribbons. Maroon for Adam, teal for Alison. (Credit: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

It's a compelling question now facing the professionals who call WDBJ home: is it possible to stay objective, as the debate on gun control now finds its way to Roanoke?

In an interview Thursday, former WDBJ executive producer and Emmy Award winner Suzanne Lysak said the nation will be watching the station, to see how journalists presents both sides of the debate.

"They do have a heavy responsibility and they're going to be scrutinized absolutely," Lysak said in a Skype interview. "There's no doubt about that."

The personal impact is expected to be inescapable following the murders of reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward. But Lysack said in her experience working in newsrooms from Los Angeles to New York, WDBJ stands out.

"This is a professional, local news operation," Lysack said. "It's not a cable program with a slant or bias. And they will go out of their way to be fair."

It is a task that will not be easy, with the growing memorial outside the television station reminding all who pass of the horrific tragedy. But the journalists will not have a choice to let emotions affect their on-air product.

"They're experienced journalists," Lysack said. "And they're going to be even more vigilant to make sure they represent the story fairly."

"I think they will probably have many sets of eyes on each story, before it's aired or posted or made public."

As for how this can be a moment of instruction for future journalists, Lysack said now is a time to prepare them for the realities of the occupation.

"We're going to talk to them about the job of a journalist. How it's not an easy job. There are factors that you have to be very aware of, and we're just going to do our best."

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