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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1889 -- 125 years ago: Attracting considerable attention is a sunflower stalk 15 feet high and still growing in the yard of Dr. C. Speidel on 23rd Street in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The municipal bathing beach proposition came up again at the city commission's meeting and a proposition passed, provided that a locker room be constructed at the foot of 7th Street for the accommodation of the bathers.
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