(Photo: facebook.com) The reporting of Don Harman's (back left) suicide has drawn a lot of negative feedback in terms of journalistic ethics. But, was it something that just had to be done?
Don Harman, meteorologist for the FOX 4 Morning News in Kansas City, has died of an apparent suicide, according to mediabistro.com, which cited unnamed sources. His death has sparked a major reaction in social media.
Fox 4 assignment manager Sindy Gaona did not confirm the actual cause of death to the IBTimes when interviewed, but the death itself was officially confirmed on the station Web site, which posted a statement that read:
Don Harman, a beloved meteorologist and personality on the FOX 4 morning show passed away Tuesday evening. To all of us, Don was like family, and the news comes as a great shock to all the folks he worked with here at FOX 4.
President and General Manager Cheryl McDonald said "We are very saddened by this tragic loss. Don wasn't just our Meteorologist, he was a part of our family and we loved him. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed."
Don brightened our mornings for more than 10 years and he made his mark on Kansas City television. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we ask that in this time of sorrow that you respect them and their need for privacy in their moment of grief.
Harman's death had been implicitly stated on the station's Facebook page in a message created by anchors Mark Alford and Loren Halifax. An outpouring of Twitter and Facebook questions from viewers after hearing rumors of Harman's death from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning prompted the message on the page and a similar message during its 4:30 a.m. broadcast. The Facebook message read:
We know many of you have questions.
We appreciate your concern, and we consider you our friends.
But please remember that family comes first.
We're honoring that right now, and we ask that you join us in that.
Please bear with us for a little while longer."
-Loren & Mark
Harman, a 41-year-old native of Ohio, was hired by WDAF, Fox 4, in 1999 to replace Gary Lezak and quickly became part of a newscast that was rated number one in Kansas City for years, according to the Kansas City Star.
Well over 5,000 people have commented on Alford and Halifax's message. Some read:
"This is a very sad day! The one day I did not tune in at 7am while gettin ready for school with my kids, prayers go out to all of Don's family and friends in their time of need....RIP to the best weatherman around..."
"I grew up watching Don on the morning show, now I have a 9 month old daughter who just loved him! My prayers and best wishes go out to all friends and family of Don's. We all love you and you will be greatly missed :("
"Posted on my wall the video of him and the humping dogs from youtube...I choose to remember the laughter..."
According to Harman's bio on the Fox 4 Web site, he worked the morning news show from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. since April 1999,and many who offered condolences on Facebook remembered him for his humor and fun attitude. He was even awarded the AMS and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) Seals of Approval, which is given to broadcast meteorologists who are adept at presenting weather to viewers in a manner that enhances the science of meteorology.
Harman grew up in Ohio and is survived by his wife, Monica, and daughter, Avery.
Check out the video that one of the aforementioned Facebook users referenced of Harman laughing at the frisky dogs: