What Really happened at the funeral

I’m not going to lie to you. I lost some sleep last night after hearing I was accused of “sneaking into a private funeral service that was closed to the news media”.

Sneak? I did not. I walked in the front door with everyone else. Private? I was never told it was a private service and that they would prefer me not being there.

My guess? Some other media folks tried to get in the doors after I got in but were turned away.

I posted all the details of the story and what happened on http://www.faithandethics.com

But I will say this here. I spoke this morning with the church folks I sat with and who saw my story and they were fine with it. They liked that I used audio from the pulpit. They liked the tone of the story and felt it captured the faith of the family. I also talked with the family spokesperson who told me “if we were going to have anyone in the media cover the funeral service, we would have wanted it to be you.”

If I offended any member of the family. I’m sorry. If I drew any attention away from the service, I’m sorry. But in talking with these folks this morning, that was not the case. You can see the stories on our website http://www.wkrn.com.

Was I wrong? Did I violate the sanctity of the service?

Let me know what you think



Filed under Misc.

19 responses to “What Really happened at the funeral

  1. Anonymous

    Jamey, you’ve been in the business a long time and this isn’t the first funeral/news story you’ve covered. I am wondering why you didn’t ask the family’s permission to record some or all of the service. That way you would have been clear about the family’s requests of the media. The way you did it without asking puts you and your reputation in a bad light in this situation. Hopefully this will be a learning lesson to you and other journalists. As my Grandmother always said, “you are never too old to learn something new.” Plus, there are many out there who thrive on seeing others fail, especially those working in the news business.

  2. jamey tucker

    I didn’t ask the family because the family wasn’t available to ask. I didn’t walk in and say “I’m with the media” because that would have been more disruptive than anything that I did.
    I’ve spoken to the family and the church family. They are fine with what I did. The only people who are upset are people who weren’t there and didn’t see the story.

  3. Anonymous

    I don’t think them saying to you, “they didn’t want to open the service to the media but ‘if we were to have anyone cover the service, we would have wanted it to be you'” is really them saying they’re fine with it. It’s saying, “We really wish you hadn’t, but since you did, it’s OK.” Not the same.

  4. Patrick Flynn

    You are scum.

    You are everything I do not like about the media. You lie to cover your own mistake and then play stupid. You still act like you don’t understand that what you did was wrong! Are you metally retarded? Any normal, thinking adult knows very clearly that what you did was wrong!

    You made no effort to identify yourself to anyone before the funeral. That alone tells me you knew that would work against your getting inside. You sneak in and then use a wireless mic? I wonder what the laws are about that? Secret recording of a private family event? If you still have no clue that what you did was wrong then I am going to do what I can to make sure the people in charge at WKRN know many of us do think it is wrong! You are a vile, untrustworthy person who can not take personal responsibility when you do something wrong!

    To call yourself a religion reporter to boot is an insult to any church and all faiths. I will do what I can to make sure my church knows what kind of person you are. I’ll let you know what I think! I think you should be fired and plan on writing the tv station to see why they haven’t done that already.

    Don’t bother ever coming to my church. If you do, you will be very sorry because you are not welcome there now or at any time in the future!

  5. Julie

    To Patrick:

    “Don’t bother ever coming to my church. If you do, you will be very sorry because you are not welcome there now or at any time in the future!”

    What a great attitude, and a great example you’re setting for anyone who ever thought of attending your church. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be associated with anything resembling your church after reading a response like that.

    That being said, I do think it was wrong to go into the funeral. I cannot remember ever seeing news footage of an actual funeral service (that doesn’t mean it’s never happened, however).

    Car processions & entrances into the location of the service are one thing; actually capturing what is said in a funeral service is a complete other.

    I do agree with the anonymous poster that the members of the church probably told you it was okay just simply because what’s done is done, and it wouldn’t have done any good to rant & rave about it after the fact.

    A funeral service’s purpose is to console and give support to the family; not to shed a little more light on a murder case for a particular station’s audience.

  6. Julie

    On second thought, I have seen clips from funeral services, but only for people who were very well-known city-wide, if not nationwide (Adrian Rogers’ service @ Bellevue comes to mind)…

    The reason this story is a story is not because of how well known he was before his death. That’s just one of the things that makes this different from Dr. Rogers.

  7. Anonymous

    “Don’t bother ever coming to my church. If you do, you will be very sorry because you are not welcome there now or at any time in the future!”

    Very nice Mr. Flynn. Well done, and good luck to your parish.

    It amuses me that you were the only one with audio,, Jamey. Most churches/arenas have wireless audio systems, especially in Nashville. If anyone wanted to capture what you did, a simple scanner could have done it.
    What would have the ethical difference have been?
    Also,,, people gathered, spoke highly of a murder victim, gained strength from each other, and found comfort in church. Why not share those words with the world? What better way to promote the church than to broadcast it’s message?
    Hang on,, Jamey

  8. Anonymous

    Jamey: I honestly believe you did this with a clear conscience. Your job is a calling. Channel 2 had decided to have a fulltime reporter dedicated to religion something most TV stations don’t do. The Patrick Flynn’s of the world deserve our prayers. Don’t let them deter you from all the good you have done and will continue to do. Now more than ever is a time for you to fall back on your faith. I look forward to seeing your stories in the future. God Bless.

  9. jamey tucker

    Mr. Flynn,
    I’d be happy to “not bother to come to” your church if you’ll tell me which one. Please tell me which church doesn’t welcome someone because you think they made a mistake.

    This is my last comment or post on the subject. I got an e-mail from the family today which said “don’t give it another thought.”

    So I’m not.

  10. Trevor

    Dear Patrick Flynn,

    Thanks for signing your name to your mindless venom.

    To call an adult names & insults like you did to Jamey tells us much about your character.

    More specifically, to call Jamey Tucker the names that you did, simply shows those of us who know him that you are typing in complete ignorance. I am curious to know your age.

    Jamey, I thought the story was riveting and respectfully done. You really captured the incredible spirit of Rev. Dan Winkler! Wow, what grace from God to be able to speak so articulately at your own son’s funeral. It was a story that the world needed to hear.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. Tucker.

  11. Anonymous


    While you may have been absolved by the family, unfortunately you have further blurred the almost now invisible line the rest of us must continue to balance. You may feel you did nothing wrong, but I believe that the majority of your peers in the media are not going to agree with you on this one.

    You are a pro. You know you pushed the boundary, and you know you did. You may be ok with that personally, but your reputation is going to suffer from this professionally. I also believe that the repect you have from your fellow reporters/photogs in Huntsville, Memphis and Nashville means a lot to you. Those of us who know what kind of reporter and person you are will probably give you a mulligan, but this one is going to eat at you for awhile.

    I’m just glad I wasn’t your photog that day. You would have put me in a very uncomfortable position in doing that and I would have let you know that.

  12. bishop

    You so called Christians on here that’s banning Jamey from coming to your church doesn’t have the love of Christin you. How can you ban him from coming to your church when Jesus wouldn’t do that. I think you all are making too much of a deal out of this. Jamey has not committed a sin. Jamey you got your approval from the family and that’s all that matters.

  13. Phyllis

    I’m sorry you felt you didn’t need to respect people and their privacy. What you did was wrong. I pray you will learn to do the right thing next time. I can’t help but feel what has been missed in all of this are those three little girls. Do you think they were happy you covered the story like that? Maybe they don’t count either in your mind. Please be a better person in the future.

  14. pp

    Ouch. I know what it’s liked to be flamed on the blogosphere. I know how much it hurts.

    I was surprised, initially, after hearing about your actions but when I read your explanation and because I know you, I understand better why and how this all happened.
    To those of you who don’t know Jamey Tucker or who don’t work as broadcast journalists: There are many slimeballs in the TV news business. I know because I’ve worked with and for them. Maybe I’ve even joined the group sometimes. (cue the chorus of assent-driven hisses)

    Jamey Tucker is not in that category.

    Jamey, I admire your courage to stand up and take your lumps. It’s not easy but this dialogue is good for all of us. Examination of our motives will only make us better journalists in the long run.

  15. jamey tucker

    Did you even see the story? Or did you even hear that the family and the church family are pleased with the story I did? Does it matter to you that the story spoke to the family’s deep faith in God and how they remember minister Winkler? If you had seen the story you would have heard the little girl’s granddad speak so highly of their dad and how they should always remember him as a man who loved his wife and that they should also always remember him as a “fun dad”.

    Disagree with me on what I did all you want. Let’s discuss the ethics but please don’t start talking about those little girls and how you think they feel on this blog.

    Comments like those do far more to hurt the family than my little 2 minute stories that told viewers what a great father their dad was.

    Don’t accuse me of lying if you weren’t standing beside me as I walked in that church. Don’t accuse me of lying if you didn’t see me talking with church members in the service and taking notes and singing the hymns and bowing my head. I did not disrupt that service in any way. Don’t call me a liar unless you heard someone tell me to stay out of the church.

    If you want to disagree with me, fine. I’ve never said I don’t make mistakes. You want to discuss it? E-mail me, call me, let’s talk. You want to ban me from your church…then tell me which churches.

    PP: many thanks. I know you call things as you see them and would certainly keep me accountable. I appreciate your thoughts. I’ve spoken to three other veteran journalists today who would have not held back had they felt I did something wrong. Now, can you tell me how to delete a blog? (just kidding)

    Now…the last thing I’m gonna say: Go look at the story if you’ve still got a problem. Then, if you want to discuss the ethics of what I did, call or e-mail me and I’ll answer. And I won’t call you any names or ban you from a church if I disagree with you.

  16. Anonymous

    have you seen the comments on b-roll.net about this??

  17. Charles Keating

    Jamey, It is clear you do not yet understand what you have done. You keep writing words which convict yourself and expose your lack of ethics.

    Your own words show you do not tell the truth about what happened and people have been vocal about seeing through your excuses.

    I hope some day you can grow into what you claim to be. A journalist. At present you are anything but. It is time for you to stop claiming to know anything about ethics. It is making you look like a hypocrite which is not a positive image.

  18. Anonymous

    Jamey: It’s absolutely amazing how quick people are to judge. These are the same folks who mindlessly yelled “crucify him, crucify him”
    just about two thousand years ago. Don’t waste your time on people who believe everything they read on the internet or who haven’t seen the story. This is a great example of mob mentality and these people frankly aren’t worth the effort. Pray for them but ignore their ranting. Have a peaceful weekend.

  19. Anonymous

    If the family wanted this private service to be broadcast to the public in any way, shape or form, wouldn’t the family have allowed at least one pool camera to tape the service?? Bring in any recording device, without permission, is an invasion of privacy.

    Also, it is easier to act innocent and/or ignorant and ask for forgiveness later.

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