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Double check photos: TV station used wrong photo in story of death of Frank Sinatra Jr.

Slow down and triple check any image or photo you plan to use on a TV newscast, especially in the death of a celebrity.  A mistake can be embarrassing.


Frank Sinatra Jr. died on Wednesday. Someone at WDNU-TV in Indiana pulled up a Sinatra photo and used it as an OTS (Over-the-Shoulder) on the 11 p.m. newscast. The photo was not Sinatra Jr. but that of Joe Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live comedian who used to imitated Frank Sinatra Sr.  Oops!


  1. Don’t be in a hurry.
  2. You’re not expected to know everyone. It’s OK to admit it and ask for help.
  3. Look for at least three reliable sources for photos.
  4. Check to see if the celebrity or family has a foundation.
  5. If the person was an actor there is probably a photo on  IMBD .  IMBD has photo of Sinatra Jr. 
  6. Check YouTube to see if the singer/entertainer has video. Sinatra Jr. was on YouTube 
  7. Look for a fan forum or website.

We are a team in a newsroom. Everyone from the producer to the anchor should have their eyes open to catch any mistakes before they make air.



Journalism is my life. I've been a reporter for 36 years. My office is the world. During my career I have been honored with 50 journalism awards and nominations. I'm also an Emmy-nominated TV commentator. I'm currently the VP of Programs for SPJ Fort Worth Chapter. I'm also the former VP of Online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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