What's the “S” in KPBS stand for?
How about “Scoops?”
Not only did the local public radio and TV affiliate break the Bob Filner story, it landed exclusive interviews with many of the women accusing Filner of abuses.
According to Mark Sauer, the KPBS senior news editor who worked on Donna Frye's staff when she was a council member, breaking the initial story was a fluke. Frye, the most prominent Filner whistleblower, came to him because she heard the station — correctly so — was investigating Filner's behavior toward women and trying to get some to go on the record.
"Frye thought it might be possible to force Filner out without having the women coming forward publicly,” Sauer said. “She was working behind the scenes on that; we didn't know that at the time.”
So after learning of KPBS' efforts, she agreed to an interview and the release of the letter she submitted to Filner calling for her resignation. And, as the scandal deepened, women did start to come forward.
The public radio station aired one particularly powerful piece that included accusations from four notable local women: Veronica “Ronne” Froman, a retired Navy rear-admiral; Joyce Gattas, a dean at San Diego State University; Sharon Bernie–Cloward, the head of the Port Tenants Association; and Patti Roscoe, a prominent businesswoman.
Here's but one snippet from the interview, from Roscoe:
“And on numerous occasions, he put in me what I guess now is the famous headlock; and I felt fearful, even as well as I knew him, because it was an invasion into my space. And he would come in and try to kiss me on the lips and I’d have to squirm to get away. And just as recently as a few months ago this happened. I turned and he just slobbered down my chin.”
But why did the women come to KPBS?
Sauer explained: “We were going to give them the time and space on our air and web site to tell their stories fully and in their own way. Commercial stations don't do that. In interview after interview, we let these women speak at length and they trusted and respected us for that and finally felt comfortable coming forward because of it."