Editor’s Note: The following is a response from Beth Bednar to a recent comment posted under the story: A trip back in time: KGAN-TV business card, by Josh Benson. The commenter claimed to be Jodi’s relative. We felt it was important and necessary to respond to her concerns and reiterate our mission at FindJodi.com, Inc. You can read the comment by ‘Jodi’s Relative’ and Josh’s response by clicking here.
Response from Beth Bednar:
I feel compelled to respond to a recent comment on this site from a woman who described herself as one of Jodi’s relatives: She was pretty critical of my motives for writing the book Dead Air. Writing in response to Josh Benson’s recent fascinating article about Jodi’s business card and television demo tapes, the writer also expressed some sarcasm in suggesting that Dead Air was too much about me, the author, and my experiences, and not enough about Jodi. The extended family member referred to me as a “stranger trying to make money from Jodi’s tragedy,” and went on to say that she held Jodi up as a role model (as did many other young women). In her opinion, the speculation contained in the book was “hurtful character assassination.”
Please know that I value your opinion, and I truly thank you for sharing it. I knew when the book was published that not everyone would be pleased. All of us who have ever worked in television news know well the old adage “You can’t please everyone all the time.”
One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever got is “Write what you know.” Any one of us can write from the heart only when we write about what we know. Josh mentioned that in his response to the woman’s comments, as well. In many ways, my experiences in television paralleled Jodi’s. I had walked in her shoes, and I wrote about my own experiences in the beginning of the book as a way for the reader to get a deeper understanding into the world in which Jodi was working when she disappeared.
I was immensely affected by Jodi’s disappearance, as were lots of other news anchors and reporters in the area. When Jodi disappeared, though I did not know her well, I experienced it as a figurative kick in the gut. It was an immediate and cruel reminder that our similar jobs on television could put us in danger. After all, Jodi and I belonged to the same profession in the same market. As for the claim that profit was the motive for writing the book, I will only respond by saying writing and publishing a book is not an easy way to get rich quick.
Since not one of us really knows what happened to Jodi, the book necessarily contains a fair amount of speculation. I certainly have a few personal theories about what may have happened, but I gleaned many more speculative theories from others: other investigators, colleagues, family members and friends.
Jodi was a multi-dimensional young woman, beautiful and smart, and a role model for many women, but she was human like all of us. The story would have been terribly one-sided had I stuck to writing only the wonderful things people have reported about her. It simply wouldn’t have been fair had I not included some of the detractors’ comments, as well.
Again, thank you for sharing your honest opinion. The book understandably struck a nerve with many readers, and it would have been unrealistic to expect that everyone would love it. I was well aware when I talked to Jodi’s sister, JoAnn, and some of Jodi’s closest friends that some people might take exception to what I wrote. For the record, Jodi’s friends and family members were among those who came out in support of the book after it was published.
One of the most touching comments I received about the book was from Jodi’s classmate and friend from Long Prairie High School:
“Obviously, knowing Jodi (along with others in the book) made it a particularly interesting read, but truly I thought the book was very well-written and extremely compelling, beyond my familiarity with Jodi. I mentioned to my family how impressed I was with your accurate portrayal of Jodi. Though the book’s subject matter was riveting in its own respect, that you so precisely (and candidly) depicted Jodi; her personality, her character, her traits, her small-town values, her spirit and zest for living, as well as her vulnerabilities and naiveté was greatly appreciated. It was as if you had known Jodi yourself (which speaks volumes regarding your efforts to research Jodi’s background). This aspect of the book added significant credibility in my mind, and I’m sure in the minds of others who knew Jodi.
Sorry to wax nostalgic, but your book stirred both fond and sad memories of Jodi. Thank you again for staying the course and writing such a meaningful book; it’s truly appreciated by those who knew Jodi. It’s important to keep her memory alive. I sincerely hope that somehow your book brings resolution to Jodi’s disappearance. “
All of us here at FindJodi.com sincerely hope for that specific resolution as well. We welcome all of your comments. You may comment right below this article as a registered member, or as a guest.