Hey man, put me on TV and a former mayor is expected to be back at work in Memphis

Any videographer or reporter who has spent any time at all in the field as heard it. “Hey man, put me on TeeVee.” The plea usually comes from kids who will crowd into the shot you’re trying to get so you can wrap up your piece and head back to the station. That usually means you have to wait until they aren’t looking and then swing your camera to get what you need. Sometimes, the reporter has to help distract whoever is wanting to get on TV so the shooter can get what he or she needs. Sometimes you just tell them ignore the camera and do whatever they were doing before you arrived. You get your video and they may end up on the news.
A shooter in Ohio covering flooding in the Cleveland area alledgedly got three kids to try to ride their bikes through some high water and was hit with a 150-dollar fine. He says he didn’t do it but it was easier to pay the fine than argue with authorities. If he did it, it’s called staging and it’s a practice that used to be frowned on. I see it on a regular basis on news pieces. If you have a person walk down the hall way or out a door just for the purpose of getting a shot, it is, in my opinion staging. I remember talking with a reporter and photographer from ABC News back in the mid 80’s about a story they were covering in Tallahassee. They told me how staging a shot was a firing offense. Have I ever helped stage a shot? You betcha. Doing two packages a day, you do what you have to do since you are “running and gunning”. Did I ever put someone’s life in danger ? Not that I was aware of.
But dealing with the “Hey man put me on TV” crowd prompted some clever tactics. Nothing is worse than trying to do a live shot at a crowded venue with the MidSouth Fair being the worse place in the world for a live shot. It amazes me how adults with time on their hands can become absolute idiots when a video camera is around and you have no security folks to help keep things under control. I was working weekend nights down on the river back in the early 90’s when we covered the MidSouth Fair. The live truck was set up near the midway which immediately attracted throngs of drunken people. Wherever the reporter stood with the camera pointing at him is where the crowd of 20 or 30 people would gather with some jumping in front of the reporter to wave into the camera and yell “Hey Mom”. Maybe they were hoping that Mom would finally be proud of them for something. Anyway, the weatherman and I came up with a plan. Whoever was NOT going to be on camera would stand directly in front of the camera with a logoed stick mic. That’s where the crowd would gather. The person who was about to go on the air would stand the same distance away from the photographer but 90-degrees to the left or right of the camera. The shooter would get his focus on the talent and then swing away to the decoy until the live shot was 15 or 20-seconds away. At the last minute, he would swing off and take the live shot. It would be well underway or even over before most of the crowd figured out what was going on. It did cause anxious moments for the producer who wanted to know where his or her shot was.
Finally, congratulations are in order for Dick Hackett, the former mayor of Memphis. Reliable sources tell me he is going to leave whatever he is doing in North Mississippi these days to head up the Children’s Museum in Memphis. It’s supposed to be announced this morning around 9 o’clock. He’s being hired for his fundraising abilities and this guy has the connections to make a big difference. Anybody who has kids has probably been to the Children’s Museum and it’s a great place to feed the hungry minds of youngsters. It also keeps them from jumping in front of TV cameras or being tempted to ride through water.

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5 Comments on “Hey man, put me on TV and a former mayor is expected to be back at work in Memphis”

  1. Southern Girl Says:

    Good news about Dick Hackett. I wish it were the City of Memphis he was taking over instead of the Children’s Museum though. :-/

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Joe, while cutting my lawn today (a pretty thick green lawn if I may say so myself) you crossed my mind because I remember the blog you wrote the other day.

    The Headline was something like, “Former Newsman Turns 50”. First of all congradulations, secondly though, I was wondering… Do you remember about 5-6 years ago, the days of waking up early, your day full of the bright light Marybeth used to display with you everyday?

    What if you would have turned 50 while still working with Marybeth at the station on the river?

    Do you miss those days?

    Do you wake up sometimes thinking about how your life has changed?

    Would you like to see that headline, Former Newsman Turns 50, blasted across the screen of televisions or a newspaper?

    Just my cutting the grass thoughts!

  3. Joe Larkins Says:

    1-Thanks for the kind thoughts.
    2-Yes, I remember fondly the days of waking up early to work with MBC. Day in and day out, she was a joy to work with. I can honestly say, I never knew what to expect from her and that was a good thing. It was a fun time.
    3-I’m not sure what you are asking on this question. I’m sure she would have given me grief, along with black balloons and a walker or something along those lines.
    6-Not necesarily but it beats the heck out of a headline that might run if I DIDN’T have any more birthdays.
    7-Sounds like you do some serious thinking while you’re cutting your grass. Why not continue those deep thoughts while you’re cutting my lawn. I’ll provide the mower, the gas and something cold to drink while you cogitate. That doesn’t sound legal but this is Midtown.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Hey Joe! Put me on TV!!!!!

  5. Joe Larkins Says:

    Okay, but first you have to drive your car through the pond at Overton Park. Make sure your windows are down before you start into the water. No, wait, where is the videographer? Oh, never mind.

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