Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What do you think of this video clip?

On the CNN.com homepage now, one of the Most Popular videos is a news segment about an 11-year-old boy in Weston, Mass., who defended his 5-month-old Dachshund from a Red-tailed Hawk. One headline says "Boy, 11, kicks hawk in face to save his puppy" and another link says "Boy battles hawk to save puppy."

Coming from a journalism background, I recognize the "news value" and "human interest element" of such a story, but coming from a birding background, I feel disquieted. The headlines (written by someone other than the reporter) and the reporter's questions made me cringe.

I visited the WHDH website and sent this message to the reporter:

Mr. Hausle,

in future reports about wild birds, please consider mentioning that federal and state laws protect wild birds. Red-tailed Hawks, for instance, are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The segment about the 5-month-old Dachshund perturbed me because of the questions posed to the 11-year-old boy and his description of stepping on the bird's wings and kicking it in the head. More information from the wildlife control officer would have provided balance.

The video segment appears today in the Most Popular section of CNN.com's homepage, so a more informative segment could have discouraged the many viewers from mistreating wild birds.

Please consider these elements for future reports.

Thank you.
Amy Hooper

Please watch the 90-second clip from WHDH and tell me what you think of the reporter's work.


Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

That made me sick.
Oh, the boy's a hero, because he kicked a hawk in the face??????
I hate how the reporter (and the wildlife officer!!!) made hawks out to be bloodthirsty, evil creatures.
I don't blame the hawk one bit. That dog looks like a really big brown rat!
But I have to wonder what made the hawk try for a dog that was on a leash, right next to a person? Must have been hungry. Looking at the house in the video, I will guess that those folks use lots of wonderful pesticides and keep their lawn perfect, so rodents have no place to live or hide. So I am blaming them, for altering their environment in such a way as to make a hawk hungry enough to eat a dog.
(Can you tell I'm a raptor person?)

December 12, 2006 8:25 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

I am with susan - it made me sick -I think the story was very disapointing -- however - a reporter only works with the information they have...

Perhaps we have a big job of education ahead of us?

December 13, 2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger Lynne said...

I was particularly bothered by the statement from the wildlife control officer.

December 13, 2006 7:26 PM  
Blogger A. Elizabeth <> said...

You can't blame the hawk but you can't blame the poor kid either! I mean, his dog was being attacked!

December 14, 2006 6:53 PM  

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