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WPRI Admits to Airing Staged Video of Local Golf Tournament

WPRI, the CBS affiliate in Bristol, RI, has admitted to staging footage of a local golf tournament and airing it without acknowledgment on their nightly news broadcast.

WPRI reporter Sara Hogan was on hand two weeks ago when amateur golfers Samantha Morrell and Ali Prazak competed in the Ocean State Women’s Golf Association Championship. Hogan approached Morrell and Prazak after the awards ceremony and was overheard by Eric Rueb, a reporter for The Standard-Times, asking the two golfers to grab their clubs and return to the 18th hole to “create some television magic.”

The result is the staged footage that airs at the :10 mark of the above video, described putt-by-putt by WPRI sports director Eric Murphy. It was never acknowledged that the video was staged. “It felt kind of weird,” Morrell told The Standard-Times of the reenactment. “We tried to make it like the real thing, but I think we did a good job with our acting.”

When contacted by The Standard-Times, WPRI news director Joe Abouzeid said that Hogan was working on a feature piece about the golfers, and the staged footage was intended to be used for that piece. “It is not our policy to recreate or reenact ‘highlights,’” he said. “It is, however, our policy to specifically and accurately describe and identify the  video that we present. It appears in this case that although the video was not described as highlights, it should not have aired in this context.”

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