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Reporter's Notebook

March 3, 2013

Chenango TV report misses key attribution

My late father’s birthday came and went the other day, which got me to thinking about how much I see the world through his eyes, and not because I attempt to do so.

It just rubs off on you.

He was a working-class guy who earned a living by driving a tow truck in a tunnel snaking under Boston Harbor. He had a healthy appetite for local news, read three newspapers a day and often dozed off while an all-news radio station played at a deafening volume. He was quite analytic about how news was presented and often skeptical of how people portrayed themselves when they served up words for public consumption. He was never bashful about sharing his opinion when he read or saw something he considered malarkey.

I was reminded of this again early Friday morning as I watched a local cable news report on a sad saga I have been covering — the suspicious death of New Berlin mother Jennifer Ramsaran.

The newscaster, sitting in an Albany studio, said Jennifer Ramsaran disappeared after she left her home to go Christmas shopping at a Syracuse mall. That was it. There was no attribution. Whether this is true or not, I do not know. What is true is that this is the scenario provided to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office by her husband, Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran, whom I have interviewed several times.

Attribution on this piece of information is crucial. One of the questions for detectives is whether they believe that the 36-year-old woman, while her three young children were in school, would have planned her day to spend three hours of driving alone (the approximate time it would take to make the round trip to Syracuse from New Berlin ) to shop.

At the risk of sounding like my Old Man, the viewers, or readers, ought to be told how the police got that information.

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