Friday, August 18, 2006

Star Newsroom To Be Equipped With Defribillators

In the wake of the death of a Star news photographer after he fell ill in the newsroom and criticism from some colleagues that the Gannett newspaper didn't have adequate procedures and equipment in place to respond to employee health emergencies, the Star's editor Dennis Ryerson tells the National Association of Black Journalists that the newspaper is going to be equipped with defibrillators, and that employees will be trained in CPR. What is new about the report is Ryerson's claim that the Star was already in the processing of ordering defribillators prior to Mpozi Tolber's death. The organization's newsletter, The Monitor reports:

Before Tolbert’s death, the newsroom was in the process of ordering defibrillators and getting employee training for CPR, said Dennis Ryerson, editor of The Star.

"The company already knew we needed to do this and were in the process of doing it," Ryerson said in an interview Thursday. "I don’t know when they’re coming but they’ve been ordered."

Indiana authorities said Thursday that they are awaiting the results of toxicology reports to determine how the Indianapolis Star photographer died at work and whether his newspaper will be held responsible.

"Right now, we don’t have sufficient information to complete the investigation," said Tim Grogg of the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Division. "The investigation is primarily done, but we’re waiting on one additional report."

The agency began its probe on July 26, three weeks after Tolbert collapsed July 3 in The Star’s newsroom. He later died at Wishard Memorial Hospital.

Tolbert’s colleagues have since charged that inadequate training, a lack of defibrillators in the building and unclear emergency procedures all contributed to his death.

The Monitor quotes former newspaper columnist Ruth Holladay among the Star's critics. You can see her reaction to the story by clicking here. At least one other Star employee has taken strong exception to Holladay's criticsm and her reporting of the circumstances of Tolbert's death. Autopsy results from Tolbert's death are still not available but should be available soon. Autopsy reports typically take 6-8 weeks to complete in Marion Co. Tolberts died on July 3.

2 comments:

ruth holladay said...

I think Dennis may already have backtracked. He told the Monitor on Friday (and they reported it Saturday) that there is no law in Indiana requiring a company to have defibs or offer CPR. Which is of course, true. So why do the right thing if you don't have to -- and especially if it costs money?
As one of my readers from the Star newsroom said, Dennis' promise is "da fib" of the century.
But we'll see.

Anonymous said...

If they get the defibs, Mposi will be smiling.

If not, it's more of the same.

So sad.