Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hazards of the job, and toilets in yards

AS USUAL, DON O'Brien of the Quincy Herald-Whig is the only one to track this story. And it's a doozy - a Quincy man is charged with battery and intimidation after allegedly knocking a camera off a guy's shoulder during a live WGEM newscast last week.

Click here for the story. The camera guy and reporter were doing a story about junk in people's yards. They set up near Seventh and Lind for a live shot. It was 10 p.m. on a cold winter night. You draw your own conclusions about the area and the time of night.

The occupant of the house came out, allegedly smacked the camera, and that was the end of the live shot - "Uh, back to you, Matt."

The TV crew failed to do its homework. Had they known anything about the occupant of the house and person involved in the incident, they would have gone far, far away.

They could have gone a half block down from my house to get a shot of a junky yard. I had a fit of laughter after reading some of the inane comments on the Whig's Facebook page about the story. One of them came from the resident of the house down the block. I might just get my camera and take some pictures now. Nah ... the snow covers everything in the yard.

If WGEM wanted toilets and windmills in yards, they could have gone to a much ritzier area, like just south of the triangle off of Maine Street. And they could have video of a Jesus statue in the back of a pickup truck, too.

That being said, in no way should media have to put up with this sort of stuff. Excuse me, alleged behavior. The TV crew was on public property. No laws were broken by the news crew. And so what if it showed toilets in a yard? I'm sure there was a good reason for it all. Pfffftttt.

When I was a reporter, I was threatened, harassed, called names, and people tried to intimidate me all the time. It didn't work. I'm 6-foot-7, and dirtballs got sore necks straining to look me in the eye. And I knew who to call - I got a police escort out of the courthouse after covering a murder trial in Columbia, Mo.

But I never had a notepad, laptop or camera knocked out of my hands.

At least I don't put toilets in my yard.

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