Face the State Flashback

5 Years Ago: the Death of Michael Jackson

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Reporting on death is a sad part of being a journalist. I have to do it nearly every day, but rarely does it happen in such dramatic fashion as it did on June 25, 2009.

I was anchoring the news that day with Kara Sundlun, who was in for Denise D’Ascenzo. During the 5PM edition of Channel 3 Eyewitness News, we received word that Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles. We first learned of that, as we do much of our breaking news, from a producer talking to us through our earpieces, called an IFB. The story had crossed the Associated Press wires and we also have access to computers on our set for information. Within minutes it became clear this was no ordinary trip to the hospital. Almost instantly, Kara and I announced we had some breaking news, and told the viewers what we knew. What we didn’t know was that Michael Jackson was already dead, but that stunning information had not left the hospital yet. The official time of death was 5:26PM, but it crossed the wires close to 6:20PM EST.

Over the course of the 5PM newscast and Eyewitness News at 5:30 and 6, we had several more updates and the news reports out of Los Angeles were getting worse. Within an hour of reporting Jackson had been rushed to the hospital, we were reporting the shocking developments that the king of pop was dead at the age of 50.


In the clip you’ll notice Kara was pregnant at the time, and gave birth to our son nine weeks later.

Watch our Jackson coverage right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=10264523

Another star died that same day. Farrah Fawcett of Charlie’s Angels fame passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her death was reported by us, and other news organizations, but Michael Jackson’s death commanded the headlines. Like so many other 12 year old boys in 1976, I had Farrah’s iconic poster on the wall of my bedroom in Norwood, Massachusetts.


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