DC Exclusives - Original Reporting

If A Man With A Bomb Calls Your Newsroom, Don’t Panic


Here’s a plug for staying the hell off social media.

An assignment editor for Channel 2 in Cobb County, Georgia helped ease a suspect’s nerves as he held up a Wells Fargo bank last Friday. According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV2, he said he had a bomb.

The lives of two hostages were at stake.

The editor, Stephanie Steiger, received the call from Brian Easley, the man who said he was a former Marine on the brink of losing his disability payment and becoming homeless.

Steiger spoke at length to Easley, who assured her that he didn’t want to hurt anyone. She tried to keep him calm. The station eventually connected hostage negotiators to the suspect.

But ultimately, police killed him.

During their talk, he told Steiger, “Well, I probably won’t see my [8-year-old] daughter again.”

Poynter spoke to Gary Noesner, who used to head up the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit. He praised Steiger for the way she responded and for the things the TV station did and did not do.

Here’s a list as reported by Poynter:

Betsy Rothstein
the authorBetsy Rothstein
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Betsy has been covering and torturing Washington media for the past three years. Early on she studied journalism in England, interviewing punk rockers in Piccadilly Square who stole her notebook and ripped it up. After graduating from Union College with a B.A. in Spanish, she began her journalism career in Cambridge, Mass., working for a Cuban newspaper where she conducted man-on-the-street interviews. She asked Latinos about their love lives. “Do Latinos make better lovers or what?” She soon moved out west to Denver, where she worked for two rival Hispanic weeklies for one year each. Next stop: J-school at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, where she earned a master’s degree. In the years following grad school she worked at the Boca Raton News as a business reporter followed by a brief stint as a press secretary for former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.). She spent the next decade on Capitol Hill covering hard news, features and gossip for The Hill Newspaper. In 2009 she quit and moved to Portland, Ore. and wrote about the many long-haired men there who distinctly resemble Jesus. They weren’t all kind (one was fat and confrontational) but she got her story. Prior to joining TheDC, Betsy was the editor of FishbowlDC, a Washington media gossip blog.

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