OMW's been sitting on this one since first seeing the story on WOIO/19's 11 PM edition of "19 Action News" on Thursday night, but we can no longer hold back.
In its typical, breathless style, the local CBS affiliate led its newscast with an "exclusive" story. Cue the live shot camera, and it's veteran reporter Paul Orlousky out front of...the South Marginal Road studios of competitor WJW "FOX 8".
As it turns out, the story involves allegations against a male now-former WJW newsroom employee by a teenage female intern, involving an alleged incident in a station conference room. The live shot by Orlousky on Thursday night looked almost secretive, as if he sprung out of the van moments before, across the street from the TV station.
We'll leave it to "19 Tabloid...er...Action News" to report the details we're not mentioning. And if what's alleged turns out to be true, we certainly have sympathy for the young woman involved. But...WOIO is using her like nobody's business.
Fast forward to today, and the "TV Intern" story still leads the "Action News" agenda. Today, the station uncovers new details about the ex-WJW employee's behavior after he was reportedly suspended and fired from his FOX 8 newsroom job...after the allegations came out.
WOIO has also made a big deal of their "exclusive" story, and has said more than once that it's a story you WON'T see, well, on FOX 8.
Let's stop and wonder for a bit. Would the story be leading every "19 Action News" cast for nearly a full day if the newsroom intern was, say, an employee of Raycom Media, owners of WOIO/WUAB? Would the station be breathlessly reporting every little detail if it was one of their OWN newsroom employees in legal hot water? Of course not. Would they mention it even as an aside? That, we don't know, but it would not dominate their newscasts like this story has...we'd bet our soon-to-be-on-the-market house on it.
At times, WOIO has almost acted like a stalker towards its FOX O&O competitor. We're reminded of the station's "breaking" the story of WJW veteran anchor Tim Taylor's retirement during a mention on the "Buzz" gossip segment. Then, in last night's story, they reenacted (!!!) the alleged incident, and showed the intern in shadow with the caption "Cleveland's Own Victim", a play on WJW's on-air slogan. WOIO is obviously a scrappy, competitive station, but their sights seem set primarily on FOX 8.
Again...it's not a pretty situation. If the allegations are true, untrue or otherwise, it's a sad story affecting a number of people's personal lives. But leave it to "19 Tabloid News"...to go slithering into the mud, belly first.