Pressure is mounting on Seven Network to issue a full apology to the Lord family following an invasion of privacy by Seven News in reporting the death of Molly Lord, 13, in a quad bike accident.
Linda Goldspink-Lord blasted Seven in a Facebook post for intruding at a personal time after a Seven reporter was asked to leave the family property. Aerial footage was also published online before being deleted.
But Seven deleted her criticism despite it having more than 32,000 likes, which triggered a social media backlash.
Seven has confirmed the reporter on the day was Paul Kadak.
Chris Willis, Director of Seven News, says deleting the comment was an error and asked them to be restored. But his version of events, claiming Kadak left after he was asked to, is now at odds with an open letter by family friend Amanda Fanning.
In a subsequent Facebook post she notes two occasions Kadak was asked to leave, and notes others also asked him to leave. She also details the times when she rang Seven and asked to speak to the Director of News, as logged by her phone records.
“I asked the Channel 7 crew to leave the property on the day of Molly’s tragic death on two occasions. (I know they were asked to leave on many other occasions, by many other people during the afternoon, over a period of somehwere between 5-7 hours). I also called the Chanell 7 News Room (according to my phone log the number was 87777777) and asked to speak to the News Director – the immediate response was that I couldn’t speak to him/her, but I could leave a message. I told them where I was and requested that the news director instruct the crew to leave the property immediately – I explained how their presence was causing more distress to an already shattered family. Once the girl knew why I was calling she said she would put me through to the news director. That didn’t happen – she came back on the phone and said ‘sorry, but we ARE going to cover this story’,” she writes.
She notes that the crew later moved down the road, off private property for a live cross.
Willis has since apologised for the removal of the comments but defended that, “We were not the only television station to visit the family’s property. Our reporter did go to the house but left immediately he was told the family wished to make no comment. Our reporters and camera crews know that grieving families have to be approached with sensitivity and compassion.”
Why comments were deleted when vision was removed is unclear, as is the identity of other networks being present.
As Ms. Fanning writes, “Channel 7 were the only crew I saw while I was there (a period of approximately 3 hours). Perhaps there were others, but I did not see them while I was there – I did ask YOUR crew to leave, and I called YOUR number.
“Your reporter and camera crews clearly do not know that “grieving families have to be approached with sensitivity and compassion”. (Refer to Point 1 above). The family were aware of your presence, and it was distressing in the extreme.”
The story has now been reported by The Australian, ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and more….
The Seven News Facebook site now has hundreds of comments on the subject, which you can read here.