When you log-on to your favorite South Florida news website, you expect just that – real news. A tipster was surfing NBC6.net this Saturday, and clicked on the “Top Video” section on the home page. The first video there was labeled: “Breaking News: NBC 6’s Shaneeva Yassin On Emergency Landing At Ft. Lauderdale Airport.” The video is here:
“We have breaking news just coming into the NBC6 newsroom. Right now, a plane is about to make an emergency landing at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, after pilots reported a fire on-board the plane. The US Airways A319 was on its way to Ft. Lauderdale from Charlotte, when the crew first smelled smoke, and they say, they spotted a fire in the cabin about 20 minutes ago. Right now, the plane is on it’s final approach. Emergency crews are waiting on the ground for the plane to land. Now, the plane is carrying 120 passengers. Our helicopter is on route, and we will bring you live pictures of this emergency landing… as it happens.”
Sounds serious, right? Here’s the problem…
…It never happened. There were several reports from Shaneeva Yassin, who used to do WTVJ’s Internet programming. Reports posted in the “Top Video” section varied. One even warned of an active mall shooting, alerting people who may be inside the mall to “remain inside.” These are all for her resume tape, and somehow, all made their way online to the homepage of NBC6.net as top news story videos. The plane landing was fake and done for her tape, as was the mall shooting. It never happened. So you may ask, how does this happen? It’s possible that thousands of people logged onto NBC6.net, watched the videos, and thought they were real. To the untrained eye, these reports look fairly real. I’ve spoken with multiple NBC6 insiders, and the only possibility that they can come up with as of why this happened, was the hire of a new technical team. Most of the NBCMiami.com team is in place, and that’s really the only explanation we can think of. Lack of experience.Now, to WTVJ’s credit, they did remove the videos from the homepage – two days after they were posted. Horrible, if you ask me.