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The Final Amy Jacobson Post This Week, Unless Something Else Develops

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 13, 2007 6:04PM

2007-07_Coppertone_Girl.jpgIt looks as thought the Amy Jacobson story continues to have legs (this might be the first in a series of unintentional puns, so bear with us).

First, the Plainfield police department finally announced yesterday that they're considering Craig Stebic as a "person of interest", and not just because he throws a memorable pool party. It turns out that Stebic has refused requests by police to take a polygraph test and to let the cops talk to his children regarding the disappearance of their mother, Lisa. Plainfield police believe the children might have information that could help them find Lisa Stebic, and possibly raise Craig Stebic's profile from "person of interest" to "charged with murdering his wife."

The salacious part of this story, however, has been Jacobson and her ill-fated decision to wear that two-piece bathing suit to Craig Stebic's last week. Popular opinion seems to side with Jacobson on the issue, with readers at both newspapers writing in to say that wearing the bikini to fit in and talk about the case wasn't an offense worthy of being fired. What was, however, was Jacobson's decision to share information on her interaction with Craig Stebic to Plainfield police, which sources told the Tribune helped facilitate her ouster from NBC 5. This means that her current image rehabilitation tour will now consist of more than making people forget about the bikini.

It was no big secret in newsrooms throughout the city that Jacobson earned a reputation as a reporter who sometimes got too close to her sources and walked a fine ethical line in getting her stories. Writers more astute in media matters than Chicagoist have written in great detail about why Jacobson crossed the line. What is uncertain is would Jacobson still be employed by NBC 5 had that video not surfaced. If it hadn't, would her bosses have found out about her feeding information to the Plainfield police? Or would her accumulated transgressions led to the same outcome? We have our doubts; this isn't the first time Larry Wert's newsroom has been at the center of an ethics controversy.

There's also the matter of CBS 2 breaking unspoken protocol in tattling on Jacobson. Although they waited until both newspapers reported on the tape's existence, the decision to broadcast the video is solely theirs and has a slight air of desperation, the type a television station whose news operation is mired in last place at 5, 6, and 10 p.m. might be tempted to take in order to attract more viewers. At the very least, CBS 2's decision to air the video could lead to a war with NBC 5. Wert and CBS 2 general manager Joe Ahern have a history dating back to their days at ABC 7. If CBS 2 felt the need to air the Jacobson video, what would stop NBC 5 from covering the ongoing lawsuit filed by CBS 2's lead anchor Diann Burns claiming that contractors took advantage of her and her husband because they're black and “gullible and inexperienced in construction matters?”

This story might just be finding its legs (there's that unintentional pun again).

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