Lots of talk about the Boston Fox25 story focusing on a local teacher who was “ambushed” by a reporter about the teacher’s appearance in gay porn. The reporter, Michael Beaudet, has defended his work on Twitter but says he’s still on the story.
Here’s the second day story from Fox25 where the reporter explains how he got the story and the subsequent reaction:
“A viewer called us concerned that Kevin Hogan was working at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden,” Beaudet said on the FOX 25 News.
The viewer was concerned because of Hogan’s role in the movies, which were found online.
FOX Undercover began looking into Hogan’s past, and found his movies were made in 2010 and readily found online. He also apparently taught before making his movies, and then began working at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School this school year after making the movies.
and the reaction
After FOX Undercover contacted the school for comment, the school placed Hogan on paid leave while it conducts its own investigation.
The story, which aired on Tuesday, sparked a flood of responses, many of them critical of the story. One tweet said “Kevin Hogan did not deserve that. He’s a good teacher with students supporting him.”
Before the story aired, FOX Undercover asked parents what they thought of Hogan teaching in the school after acting in pornographic movies.
“I’m disturbed. I’m surprised. The kids really love him. He’s been a great addition to the team. He’s a new coach this year. New head of the English department. This is scary,” one mother said.
“It’s very bad. The students and the young generation shouldn’t have something like that,” another man picking up a student said.
“What is my reaction? Oh my God! Everyone’s innocent until proven guilty. I don’t like to judge people. I’m very for this school. I think it’s a great academic program,” one mother said.
As the debate moves to whether his porn career should disqualify him for teaching, many say he should be allowed to teach because his didn’t do anything illegal.
The story has been described as “gotcha journalism” and some say the report is unfair to the teacher. Mediaite described it as:
the Carl Monday school of journalism, where an over-exuberant investigative reporter sticks a camera in an alleged perpetrator’s face to drum up outrage but actually makes the viewer sympathetic to the subject in question. After reviewing the video, Beaudet seems to have conducted his undercover report in a mean-spirited, smear-campaign fashion to get the teacher fired.
At Huffington Post, Brody Brown called it a:
fear-mongering crusade, Mike Beaudet, an investigative undercover reporter for FOX Boston, has placed English teacher and crew coach Kevin Hogan in the community’s crosshairs, setting the stage for what appears to be the start of another one of these public crucifixions and character assassinations.
Not all the coverage has been critical. At the Boston Herald, columnist Margery Eagan says porn and teaching don’t mix, but points out that the teacher did nothing illegal and that ”[m]illions of us spend hours a day watching pornography online. Yet when we find someone who made money performing in what’s become our second — or maybe third — favorite national pastime, it’s off with his head.”
Stepping back from the journalistic approach to stopping a teacher on the street to confront him on camera about his career in porn, there is a more basic question: is this news and–if it is news–does it justify this approach?
Arguably, it is “interesting” that a teacher and coach is appearing/has appeared in porn but it may not rise to the level of “news” that justifies a full-court press and ambush interviews. The story seems to have a “sweeps month” hysteria (EDIT: the story actually ran after sweeps were over) to it that doesn’t match the significance. The news questions are:
- Is the public really being served by being told this information?
- How much private information does the public need to know about the employee of a charter school?
- What is the goal of reporting the information and what is the motivation behind the story?
If the story is news–and it is possible that may depend on the community and the person involved–then the next question is does the story need to be done in the way it was done by Fox25. My sense is that even if one believes it is news, it is not a story that deserves “ambush” interviews and screaming headlines. Confronting a school teacher about a legal act that occurred in his off-time and didn’t involve students seems like an unnecessarily tabloidish approach to a story.
What are your thoughts?
Filed under: Michael R. Triplett | Tagged: mainstream media, television | 3 Comments »