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 Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural.
1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m..
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.







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