A Miami NBC reporter was fired Friday over another edited tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call after he shot Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, journalism institution Poynter reported.
The tape that Jeff Burnside put together for WTVJ-TV is different from the one that aired on NBC’s “Today,” though the two were apparently edited similarly.
According to SFL-TV, the WTVJ tape removed the 911 dispatcher’s question about whether Martin looked black, white or Hispanic. Instead, it gave the impression that Zimmerman volunteered the information by saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
The original call transcript said:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
According to the Miami Herald, the tape included text graphics of the quote featuring ellipses, suggesting something might have been cut.
“We take this incident very seriously and apologize to our viewers,” WTVJ spokesman Matt Glassman told the Herald. “After conducting an extensive investigation, we are putting a more stringent editorial process in place to ensure this does not happen again.”
Two other employees were also disciplined in the matter, the newspaper reported.
Burnside declined to get into the matter with the Herald.
“This is obviously very, very complicated,” he said. “I have nothing but good things to say about the NBC6 family.”
An NBC producer was fired for their role in the “Today” case. Glassman told the Herald that tape was a completely separate incident and unconnected to WTVJ.