Amy Jacobson, reporter for Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ, was released from her job this afternoon. As things go, this in itself is not a big deal. But as Paul Harvey might say, wait until you hear “the rest of the story”.
It seems the local CBS affiliate acquired video of Ms. Jacobson, in bathing suit top with towel rapped around her midriff, along with her two children, at the home of Craig Stebic. What makes this of some concern, is Stebic is the estranged husband of Lisa Stebic, who has been reported missing since April 30th. Lisa was last seen the day she was allegedly moving to evict Craig Stebic from their Plainfield home.
Although Jacobson’s lawyer Katherine Zellner has publicly stated:
“She wasn’t fired. There was no drinking. No one was sitting in a hot tub. She wasn’t anywhere near him. The sister invited her to drop by.
Although there has been no direct evidence showing Jacobson and Stebic in any sort of relationship. However, what you do have here is a case of someone making a very poor choice in how they choose to spend their off time. If nothing else it gives the appearance of being a conflict of interest.
This may be a case of (Jacobson) becoming too emotionally attached to a family going through a crises (Craig Stebic’s sister has stated Jacabson’s past visit to the Stebic home and this one, were as a friend of the family and nothing more.). Or perhaps it is something much more emotionally murky. Though, there has been no direct evidence linking Jacobson and Stebic in any sort of relationship. However, it wouldn’t be the first time an estranged spouse has found, at the very least, a sympathetic ear.
Being somewhat more cynical in my middle age, what came to my mind, after reading the Trib’s and CBS’s reports, (though not mentioned or implied, in either) is the following equally plausible idea. She was doing nothing more then using the family. Posing as “a friend” to gain their confidence, in order to get the all important story.
In any of the above scenarios, you run the very real (and all too human) possibility of biasing your story. You become emotionally invested in the family, or individual family members, you lose your objectivity. Or your willingness to pursue an unexplored / ignored aspect of events is skewed. In any case, you set yourself up for a fall. Wither it is at your own hands (poor reportage), or that of rival interests (yeah, I bet CBS is all torn up about zinging their rival outlet in one of the largest media markets in the country). The impression it gives to the reading/listening/viewing public of; “Oh here is yet another example of a reporter doing what seems to be a less then professional job of getting/reporting a story.” does nothing to improve the already battered and bruised reputation of the main stream media. In fact this whole story from the accepting and ultimate release of the video by WBBM (CBS) to Ms. Jacobson placing herself in this position in the first place, does nothing more then increase the publics disdain for what passes for news these days and the folks who provide same.
What was she thinking.