In case you missed it, a Washington DC reporter has filed a brutality complaint against DC police, claiming they used excessive force during a traffic stop.
Here’s the deal: Reporter Andrew Mc Carren and a photographer were working on a sweeps piece that a police officer is assigned as a full-time driver for the county’s C.A.O. Yeah, great story if it’s true and you can get it. I don’t have a bit of a problem with doing the story. In fact if there were more of these types of stories on Memphis local tv during sweeps, I’d watch.
So after about 35 minutes of following this cop, the cop calls for backup and they pull the 110 pound reporter from the car, draw guns on the photog and ordered him to drop his camera. After it hit the ground the cops notice it’s still rolling and they pick it up, shut it off and put it back in the vehicle.
So where am I going with this? I’m just thinking about all of the promos the poor folks in Washington must be sitting through. I can only imagine if this sort of thing happened here. How long would some of the stations drag this thing out? I’ve seen how they drag out things far less interesting and newsworthy than this. How many newscasts would it lead? Exclusive interviews with their own reporter. Who cares that the interview might jeopardize her case? “IT’S RATINGS TIME PEOPLE AND WE’RE SITTING ON A GOLDMINE!”
I know this is pure conjecture and I wouldn’t say that every station cares more about numbers than the welfare of it’s staff.
But I recall years ago during the May book how I was talking to a station manager during a particular dicy severe weather night. Tornadoes had been popping up everywhere. We were on wall-to-wall and there were reports of damage.
I was anchoring that night and in the newsroom watching the coverage and answering phones. The manager, who I respect by the way, watched the latest radar images and said “don’t you wish we could have just one of those tornadoes touch down in the middle of the city?”
After picking my jaw up off the floor I said…”surely you don’t mean that” and they said “I don’t want anybody to get hurt…but it’s the first night of the book”.
I said “well maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll hit your house. We could interview you”.