Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When Reporting the News Becomes the News

We all watch our local news. We learn what happened while we were at work or while we slept. We see reporter at the sites of the stories. We are familiar with helicopters flying over car chases as the police try to grab criminals. We see car accidents or natural disasters. Almost every network channel in any large city has a news helicopter. I have often wondered how they manage to stay out of each others way while trying to cover a story. Almost every tv outlet's helicopter has had an accident. We have four major stations (ABC,NBC,CBS, Fox) who have helicopters and each of them has had accidents or crashes.

Yesterday I had the tv on to our ABC channel 13 as the 11:00 am news was on. There had been a shooting out in Montgomery county and the Channel 13 SkyEye 13 chopper along with a couple of other news stations was on the way to the scene. It never made it to the story. It became the story. As it flew over a wooded area while sending video to the station, it suddenly lost signal. Another channel's (KRIV Fox 26)helicopter was also covering the story and saw that Channel 13's chopper had crashed. They immediately called Channel 13 and sent them the video from their helicopter. Their video clearly showed the bits and pieces of what was once SkyEye 13. The pilot and reporter were both killed.

News reporting from helicopters is a quick way to get to a news scene. We all have come to expect to see the shots from above. I've even seen the choppers flying near where we live. We usually watch Channel 13 news so hearing the voice of the reporter as he covered traffic or accidents or other stories was a routine. We knew the voice.

John Downhower was the pilot and was well qualified. Dave Garrett was a good reporter who could take a breaking story and sort it out quickly and accurately. Sometimes the news hits too close to home, even for the news people.


Dr.John said...

I guess every profession has its risks. I read of a Pastor being shot in the pulpit and you would think that was a safe job. In the world in which we live life is always tentative.

Jan said...

I've always wondered if it's really necessary for four heliocopters to be up in the air to cover the same story, a story the public will have forgotten the next day.

I'm sorry about the crash and hope no one on the ground was injured.

cube said...

We have quite a bit of helicopter action in our neighborhood. We live near the flight plan of one that delivers patients to the hospital.

We take it for granted that they'll be safe, but sadly, that's not always the case.