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Mea culpa: CBS11 news director says his station should have cited a Fox4 exclusive; pledges to give full credit from now on

CBS11 news director Scott Diener Photo: Ed Bark

CBS11 news director Scott Diener has taken a pledge that his counterparts should replicate.

From now on, he says, the station will specifically credit a competitor whenever it uses material from one of their stories.

Diener responded to a Jan. 14th unclebarky.com post that criticized CBS11's handling of a report by KDFW-TV/Fox4 reporter Shaun Rabb.

On Tuesday's 10 p.m. newscast, CBS11 excerpted portions of Rabb's exclusive, same-day jailhouse interview with Charles Payne, who admitted to fatally shooting Dallas police officer Norman Smith last week, but claimed he acted in self-defense.

CBS11 anchor Doug Dunbar credited "a local television station" with the interview before four printed excerpts were shown on-screen next to a picture of Payne. Fox 4 was never mentioned.

Diener, in an email sent Thursday, said that Rabb's interview "was newsworthy and needed to be shared in some form with our viewers and on-line readers."

"What I would do differently," he said, "is give an on-air credit to KDFW-TV as opposed to a 'local television station.' Unfortunately, it has been the practice in this market for years for our competitors to not air or publish our call letters or channel number. In fact I could give you numerous, documented examples in the past year where we broke a big story, fed it to the Associated Press -- only to have our print, on-line and television brothers and sisters take out our call letters and call it a 'local television station' or use 'reports say.' "

Not fully crediting rival news outlets is "a little silly," Diener acknowledged before taking an unsolicited pledge. "From here on forward," he wrote, "if we use video or information from our competitors, they'll get the full credit."

That should be a hard and firm policy at all news outlets.

Diener also said that CBS11 had requested an interview with Payne, "but he decided, after consulting with his pastor, to do one with Shaun Rabb . . . No credible news outlet would ignore an interview of this nature in such a high-profile crime. We don't believe that any one media outlet has the monopoly on the important stories in this market."