"I would go home at night, and we would talk about the war. He hoped the country
would not treat these soldiers the way he was treated," she said.
She felt the one thing you could do that was not going to offend anybody was to fly
the American flag.
"It won't cost a lot of money, and it is something people can do," she added.
The station started the campaign the day after the fighting started. The PSA used a still
photo of a flag and urged people to remember the troops by flying the flag. An
editorial also urged people to participate, regardless of whether they supported the war
or not. The message was simply: don't forget the men and women who are on the
WIFR managers also planned a children's show on the Gulf crisis.
"We are inviting several experts, an elementary school teacher and a school
psychologist who is a specialist in how to deal with children in a crisis. We will invite
kids to call in with their questions about the war," Hendershott explained.
School officials put out the word that the show was going to be on, and the studio
audience would be children, too. The show was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday.
Grieving Relative Interviews Were Pooled
Station executives in several markets, including Milwaukee, Denver and Cleveland,
set up pools to cover families of military personnel who were listed as MIAs, POWs,
or KIAs. The idea surfaced after the first casualties were announced.
When Marine Scott Schroeder, from Wisconsin, was killed in one of the first
skirmishes on the ground, the Milwaukee stations were faced with having to try to
contact the family.
"We felt there must be a better way to do this," said WISN-TV News Director Fred
"Our attitude was covering the families was a no-win situation. Even if you get an
exclusive interview with the family, what are you going to do? Promote it?" he told
D'Ambrosi said in the Schroeder case, people were calling the station asking why the
news media didn't leave the family alone.
"We felt establishing a pool was a positive way to let viewers know we are sensitive
human beings, and that we don't like having to contact the families, but it is part of our
job," said D'Ambrosi.
A key point was to determine how long the pool would be in effect.
The Milwaukee station executives decided the pool would begin when any station was
notified, and would last until after the funeral.