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From placenta to porn: WIVB's outrageous February

Channel 4 reporter Jenn Schanz, one of the station’s relatively new hires, certainly is getting our attention these days.

Last week, she was the reporter who did the sweeps story on mothers who eat their placenta, often in pill form.

On Monday, she was the reporter on the sweeps story, “Living XXX: UB Student Speaks.”

The reason for Channel 4 doing the story spoke for itself. It is sweeps month. Oh, well, at least it ran around 11:45 p.m. after the Grammy Awards ended.

The story was about a 23-year-old University at Buffalo student who Schanz said at one point “was hitting the books by day and having sex on camera by night.”

She identified the guy. I’m declining to do so because I don’t want to give him any more attention.

According to Schanz, he said working in the adult film industry “was a way to explore his own sexuality and make good money.”

That sounded like Rationalization 101.

“The sex industry has a bad rap and for most cases it is for good reasons,” added Schanz.

Most cases? Was she being serious? I would say in every case, but to be safe I would have said almost all cases.

Schanz noted the story first appeared in a special Sex Education of UB’s student newspaper, The Spectrum. It should have stayed there.

She added that at times the guy, who also was an escort, made several thousand dollars a week. That led him to proudly say his student loans and car are paid off.

At story’s end, Schanz said the student’s goal is “to change people’s perception about sex and sex workers.”

“If you’re going to say films and pornography is wrong, immoral and terrible and selling your body,” he said, “who is to say being an athlete isn’t selling your body or who is to say being a laborer isn’t selling your body?”

He needs to take a logic course. The answer is society says those things are very different.

If Schanz and Channel 4 really wanted to do this story, they needed some expert – a psychologist, an ethicist or a religious figure – to answer the student’s questions and put his answers and behavior in perspective. At least she sought out experts for the placenta story.

Schanz added the student makes no apologies. He seemed proud to get all the attention.

Somehow, I doubt UB is proud. And Channel 4 certainly shouldn’t be proud, either, no matter how many clicks the story gets online.

It is pointless and outrageous sweeps stories like “XXX” that deservedly give local television news a bad rap.

Breaking News: Channel 4 News Director Scott Levy has hired a male reporter.

Nick Quattrini joins Levy’s stable of several new female hires on March 21.

An Army veteran who is from the Albany area, Quattrini arrives from WENY in Elmira.

Levy has said that he has found it difficult to find young male reporters to work in a market Buffalo’s size.

Snow News: Before XXX aired, I watched Channel 2’s 11 p.m. Monday newscast. It had seven minutes at the top to tell viewers that there was going to a lot of snow early Tuesday morning and the city and suburban crews would be ready for it. Seven minutes. Channel 4 did the same story at top of its 11:30 pm. newscast in about five minutes. They both could have done the story in about a minute. We live in Western New York. We know it snows and crews will be ready when it does.

apergament@buffnews.com

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