We haven’t spoken with her. But we surmise that when WAGA reporter Stacy Elgin walked into the TV station Wednesday morning, she heard something like this: “Stacy. Last night, WSB’s Richard Elliott had a relative of one of the victims from the awful fatal wreck Monday on I-85. She was very emotional. We didn’t have it. We need you to get that for us for tonight’s show.” Elgin, knowing the likelihood of repeating that particular “get” was slim, made the call nonetheless. And Elgin got lucky, at least as luck is defined within the world of local TV news. The same woman appeared on WAGA’s news one day later. Though not as hysterical, the woman was emotional and compelling. And though they got beaten, the folks who produce WAGA’s news adequately played catch-up.
Most times, the grief-stricken kinfolk of the abruptly-killed want nothing to do with TV news. But occasionally, they find that it’s therapeutic to speak publicly about their loved ones. Rarely do they do it twice, the second time for the benefit of a TV station that saw it first on the broadcast of a competitor.
And the audience benefits from this…. how?