Andrea McCarren, a veteran reporter for Washington, D.C.,’s CBS affiliate WUSA-TV, pulled herself off of stories on underage drinking when her two teenage children were harassed at school by peers and on Facebook by “friends,” the Washington Post reports. “My kids were targeted,” she said. “That’s where I drew the line.”
The episode began after her Feb. 1 report about a liquor store that allegedly sold alcohol to minors as young as 14. McCarren and a news photographer collected footage of teens carrying out 12-packs of beer. The news crew recorded statements, using hidden microphones, from the minors about how easy it was to buy booze at the store. The report drew e-mail and Facebook denunciations of McCarren from young people apparently angered that she had exposed an easy supply of illicit alcohol. One online post said McCarren “just ruined weekends for all kids underage.” While reporters in foreign locales are often harassed and sometimes injured or killed, local TV journalists rarely face a sustained bullying response to their stories, said Mike Cavender of the Radio Television Digital News Association. He said McCarren's experience is “not one I've encountered” in 25 years in the news business.