News director David Strickland of KTRK in Houston has banned reporters from knocking on the doors of people who have been identified as criminal suspects, reports NewsroomLegal.com. Earlier this year, one of the station’s reporters was investigating an individual suspected in an alleged sexual assault. The man pulled a gun on the reporter and threatened to shoot him. Last week, in an unrelated incident, a woman randomly opened fire at the station from its parking lot. No one was injured in either incident.
Strickland wrote a memo to his staff regarding ” the merits of knocking on doors of crime suspects,” saying that “the risk to reward ratio does not justify it. It's just a sound-bite. He says, “From this point forward reporters are not to go to a suspect's house and knock on the door seeking comment. Producers and managers are prohibited from ordering reporters and photographers from this type of news gathering. As for other stories not involving a suspect, if the reporter or photographer thinks there is an editorial need to cold call knock on someone's door they must get a manager's permission first… It's just not worth getting someone hurt over a sound-bite.”