WQAD faces flak for coverage of news anchor's DUI arrest


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Posted Online: Jan. 07, 2014, 6:37 pm
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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com
WQAD News 8 is facing backlash from some viewers after its head news anchor was stopped in Rock Island for driving while under the influence over the weekend.

Jason Fechner, who regularly leads News 8's Monday through Friday coverage, was booked into custody about 4 p.m. Sunday, according to Rock Island County Jail officials. He stayed about 30 minutes before posting 10 percent of a $3,000 bond and was released.

Details of the arrest were not available from Rock Island Police.

On Monday, co-anchor Denise Hnytka, reported Mr. Fechner's arrest on the 5 p.m. newscast, the online website Mediabistro reported. The news prompted angry comments on WQAD's Facebook page, many questioning the station's decision to air Mr. Fechner's arrest.

Some called the airing "tacky" and "a jerk move," saying the arrest was part of Mr. Fechner's personal life, not his job. Others commended the station for being upfront with the information and expressed hope the issue would be resolved smootly.

A news director for WQAD was not available for comment Tuesday evening.
As of that time, no charges or traffic tickets were pending in Rock Island County Circuit Court against Mr. Fechner. Clerks from the criminal and traffic divisions said it sometimes takes several days after an arrest before charging documents are filed.







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  Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Yesterday some bold thief stole a full bolt of calico from a box in front of Wadsworth's store, where it was on exhibition.
1889 -- 125 years ago: A team belonging to Peter Priese got away from its driver and made a mad run across the Rock Island Bridge. The driver was thrown from his seat but not hurt.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Carlton Taylor was appointed district deputy grand master for the 14th
Masonic District of Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Moline's million dollar municipal airport was dedicated to air transportation and the national defense by Lt. Gov. John Stelle.
1964 -- 50 years ago: THE ARGUS will be election headquarters for Rock Island County tomorrow night, and the public is invited to watch the operation. The closing of the polls at 6 p.m. will mark the start of open house in the newsroom. Visitors will see staff members receiving, tabulating and posting returns.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Few bricks actually tumbled, but no one seemed to mind as about 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the formal start of demolition at the site of a downtown civic center.




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