Are We Reaping What We have Sown?

I ran across an interesting post on the Watercolor section of TVSpy
concerning a bad encounter by a live crew from WPTY in downtown Memphis with an irate restaurant owner. You can check out the action at www.myeyewitnessnews.com/mediacenter/?videoId=160092.
In a nutshell, the news crew was fronting a story there about a restaurant owner who apparently would not get his own dumpster and was just dumping his refuse around someone else’s dumspter. It was a mess. Neighbors complained and the local news crew descended on the problem. They put together a nice piece but the owner had apparently refused to talk to them until they attempted to do their second live shot from that location. The business owner then came out , ranting and raving about wanting to do an interview. I know I wouldn’t have put this guy live on the air. You see the reporter talking on the cell phone to producers while the photog is rolling on the whole thing. The business owner would not shut up even when the police got there.
While it was interesting to watch, I can imagine there are many reporters and photographers who saw this and said “there but by the grace of God, go I.”
But is this just a twist on what news crews have done for years? How many times have you seen video crews “ambush” somebody on a story. They wait until the person gets where the crew wants them and then they rush up with cameras rolling, shouting questions, putting the camera in their face and sometimes physically blocking the person’s path. Sometimes it’s the only way you will get an interview or at least a response from a person so you can put it in your package. I’ve done that and never liked it, but did it because I was told by the folks higher up the food chain that it had to be done that way. I’ve always said I would hate to be on “that” side of the ambush. Innocent or guilty, the person being ambushed looks guilty and unless he or she is fast on his or her feet verbally, they come off looking bad.
There used to be more respect on both sides for the other and somewhere along the way, that respect has fallen by the wayside. It’s not unusual for someone to attempt to block the camera lens with a well placed hand, but I think we may see more bad bahavior on the part of the average citizen. I think some folks will figure that no matter what they do, they will look bad, so they’ll just go overboard. I just hope the person isn’t packing a weapon when he gets riled. That will add new meaning to the term “live TV”.

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