Tuesday, January 1

Did public radio put pledge drive before breaking news?

On December 27th, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated as she left a rally for the Pakistan Peoples Party. The Opposition leader's death is a major news story since many observers predict it could spell uncertainty for Pakistan's future.

While almost all news outlets gave the story breaking news coverage, the public radio station WNYC in New York decided to to go ahead with a one-day fundraiser that day.

FishbowlNY, the media news and gossip blog, clipped a couple angry listener comments from WNYC's message board and ran a story with the title, "WNYC Listeners Fume Over Fundraising That Interrupts Bhutto Coverage."

One comment from a listener named Evan Robinson puts it this way:

I too am shocked and dismayed at WNYC's continuing the pledge drive during this tragic and important event. The WNYC I used to know was the one that suspended a pledge drive when Leonard Bernstein passed away. The management at that time recognized the importance of the event to the culture, the city and the world, and saw fit to honor an important figure rather than beg for money. Laura Walker owes all of WNYC's listeners an apology for such a crass demonstration.
Even if Evan's comments are a bit over the top, the reaction does highlight the difficult decision all fundraisers face when major news events or natural disasters interrupt our campaign plans.

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