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This Just In: October 28 - November 4

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Up In Smoke!

Summary: A Fayette County man buzzes the fuzz to test his Tijuana. Reporter: Dave Bondy, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 1 minute, 14 seconds on Oct. 22 Highlights: * When anchor David Johnson introduces this as a "straaange story." * When Bondy reports, "It is strange, and police say he was for real. It's a story that has everyone talking at the police department. Officers I talked to -- many veterans -- say they have never heard of a drug user calling 911 to send out police to determine whether or not the drugs were, in fact, real." * When Bondy adds, "This all happened on Wednesday [evening] at a home on Millview Street. According to investigators, the man called 911 after buying what he thought was marijuana. Well, the 21-year-old told the dispatcher that he had just smoked something that he referred to as 'nasty' and that he wanted police to test it to make sure it was, in fact, real marijuana. Well, officers went to the man's house, conducted the test, and found out, in fact, it wasn't marijuana. ... Detective Donald Gmitter still can't believe that this guy actually called police." * When Gmitter says, "It's very unusual for somebody to call us out and test narcotics that they have purchased illegally." * When Bondy wraps, "Now, Detective Gmitter is not releasing the name of this individual at this time because he is not charged." Unanswered Question: Doesn't the placebo effect work with marijuana? What We Learned: How about this: DON'T DO FAKE DRUGS! News Value: 2. The value we really can glean from this story comes from the fact that the uncharged man was not named by police, or by reporters -- and that's good practice. (WTAE has reported that the man was charged with possession of a look-a-like drug, but without naming him.) Just because the police withheld a name, that doesn't mean that reporters couldn't find their own means of obtaining it. But no one can be charged for stupidity, which is a good thing for some reporters.

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