|Monica Laliberte In The Spotlight In The N&O|
WRAL-TV Consumer Reporter
Raleigh’s News & Observer recently featured WRAL Reporter Monica Laliberte in an article about consumer reporting. N&O Staff writer Adrienne Johnson’s piece, “Taped crusaders: Local consumer reporters try to win viewers by nabbing the bad guys” appeared in the Monday, October 23 edition of the paper.
The article explored the popularity of consumer reporting, and focused on NBC 17′s Sue Yanello and WTVD’s Jennifer Julian, as well as Laliberte. Johnson said that, “The Triangle stands out for having three consumer reporters in the market.” She describes the popularity of the genre saying, “The appeal of consumer reporting is simple-it’s the Golden Rule meets David vs. Goliath.”
Johnson wrote about the importance of this genre of reporting, citing the example that a local consumer reporter broke the story that eventually forced Bridgestone/Firestone to recall potentially defective tires. She also told about Laliberte’s own big story: exposing the sale of flooded cars. Laliberte told Johnson about her inspiration for the story: “It just occurred to me that every time there was a storm, we warned people about flooded cars, but no one was tracking what happened to those cars.” Hurricane Floyd served as the impetus for the story; Laliberte did indepth reports. U.S. Senators John Edwards (D-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) co-sponsored legislation for a national database to protect buyers of used cars, in part because of Laliberte’s work.
Johnson drew the article to a conclusion, writing, “…consumer reporters have the power of television on their side. ‘When there’s a telemarketing scam against the elderly, they can tell hundreds of thousands of people, educate them and stop others from falling for it,’ says Alan S. Hirsch, deputy attorney general in charge of the state’s Consumer Protection Division.”