Covering Miracles, and Religion, on TV

Tonight on WHAS-TV, there’s a sweeps piece that explores a topic that’s often ignored by TV news.

You’ve seen the promos under the headline of “Miracles”.

Mark Neerman, the station’s news director, said he did a similar series on religion during his tenure at a Richmond, Va. station that won a major award. And he says tonight’s story, done by Rachel Platt, isn’t just a sweeps gimmick — he wants to spend more news time reporting on religious issues. Neerman said there will be occasion follow-up stories that will air outside of sweeps, and that WHAS gathered plenty of material on the topic of Miracles.

“Religion is such a major part of the lives of our audience, but we don’t devote much time to covering it,” Neerman said.

In it, several people go on camera to tell their stories of phenomena that have happened in their lives, including near-death experiences, that can’t be explained. One woman tells of how her heartbeat stopped for 12 minutes, but started again, an event she credits to prayers being answered.

The station solicited stories from its social media networks and even worked with local churches, including Southeast Christian, to find people with stories to tell. They all have a connection to faith, a topic that’s not covered much on TV, except when politicians bring God into their campaigns.

Platt asked a doctor for an explanation, who stopped short of calling it a miracle, merely saying it was “unexplainable.”