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Re: MESSAGE ID: 1EC610858

NORIAC@mln.lib.ma.us wrote:

> Subject: Your Thoughts on TV Coverage of Los Angeles Freeway Chase
> Yesterday afternoon (April 30th), Los Angeles' TV stations, for the most
>  part (as they seem to do every time one happens) pre-empted about an
>  hour of regular programming to cover live yet another freeway chase.
> But this one was different. The suspect had briefly stopped to unflurl a
>  banner (seen by TV news choppers) attacking Health Maintainace Organ-
>  izations (HMO's). Then, resuming the chase, he eventually stopped his
>  truck, set it on fire (killing a dog inside), then shooting himself in
>  the head.

I think the frequency and especially the intensity with which LA stations
carry such stuff is ridiculous. To report  them, with chopper footage, on the
regular news -- sure. This one was, because of the unusual nature obvious
early, going to be particularly newsworthy. To report them in detail live on
*radio*, absolutely -- radio reaches drivers who need that detail, not only to
avoid tieups but to ensure their safety. But live TV break-ins are overkill,
overemphasize the story, sensationalize, and -- while I'm one to think claims
that the news drives copycats are overdone -- there might be some of that
afoot here. The only police chase in LA that I can recall that merited cut-in
coverage was Simpson, and that was a *very* unusual situation that the nation
joined live.

> While airborne cameramen/women tried to zoom-out as the man put the gun
>  to his head, it was too late. The suicide was plainly visible.

That's an inevitable risk of live coverage. I saw a tape of one station's feed
this morning. Once the call was made to carry it live, this can happen. The
cameraperson on the footage I saw obviously hit the zoom-out as soon as what
was about to happen registered.

> This has, in the hours since, become the big topic in Southern California.
>  Several journalism professors have expressed outrage, while others,
>  both in and out of the industry, noted that because this incident was
>  being broadcast live, there was no way that the chase was going to end
>  this way.

I agree some with both..... live coverage makes this an inevitable risk. The
real question is should TV stations in LA go live as often as they do to these
chases. I think not -- not because of a desire to censor, and not principally
because they can end in a way that is horrid to view, but because they are
just not newsworthy to the cut-in level in the vast majority of cases on TV.
(Again, radio's different because of traffic and driver safety.)

Just my two cents plain.
- --
Douglas J. Broda
Broda and Burnett
Attorneys at Law
80 Ferry Street
Troy, New York 12180
(518) 272-0580
Fax: (518) 272-0381