Let us begin by saying that our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the great tragedy that is the loss of 5 young lives.
Like with any tragedy it can be hard to make sense of what happened. There is no way to easily navigate around these topics.
While it is a difficult task, we cannot forget that we have a duty to this community.
Our duty is to report the news in a way that is accurate and complete. Our duty is to inform the public in the hopes that such a tragedy will never happen again.
At Pronews 7 we stand by a newsroom philosophy and our decisions on how to report this story are strongly influenced by that philosophy.
In an event such as this we do our best to approach the situation from a factual standpoint. By reporting the facts of this incident we do not intend to speak to the character of any of the people involved. Reporting the facts of this incident simply informs our audience of the decisions made and the results of those decisions.
Reporting this story has been gut wrenching and extremely difficult from day one. We have done our best to ensure that we respect the wishes of many people affected by this incident by acquiescing to the many requests we have received. We did not try and speak with the members of the play. We did not search for ways to exploit the story and those affected. We simply reported the facts.
When the toxicology reports were released we worked tirelessly to ensure that our facts were accurate and unbiased. And while we pieced together the facts we never forgot just how awful the entire ordeal was.
The fact of the matter remains. A person under the influence got behind the wheel. We do not have toxicology information for the others in the vehicle so we cannot speak to their state on that night.
In the end our hope is that by informing our community of the facts of that tragic night, now matter how unfavorable they may be, someone else will not make the same decision. And that the people of the Panhandle are informed and aware.
-The Pronews 7 News Staff