Staging the News

Joe posted an interesting story today of tv stations in Orlando who staged a first meeting between two women part of a news story. It seems two crews showed up late and missed the actual “first meeting” so they asked the women to “meet again”.

It made me remember one of my favorite stories in Memphis. I had only been there a couple of months when I got assigned to cover a sphere going up on a church steeple in DeSoto County.

The angle was this steeple and sphere would be the tallest point in the county. The real reason we were covering it was that the church was also the home church of the New York Times VP, but that’s another story.

But anyway, my photographer Hutch and I get out there to find a photographer for the Commercial Appeal wanting to get the “money shot” of the sphere being placed on top of the steeple. The construction crew invited us all to go up in the bucket to get our shot so the C.A. photog called dibs on the first trip up, so he could get the actual placing of the steeple.

I didn’t think it was any big deal and said “sure…we’ll just have them do it again for our camera”. The photog made me feel like a heel saying “oh…you guys stage the news all the time, what’s one more shot?”

Hutch couldn’t have cared less/

The C.A. photog goes up, gets his shot and comes back down.

Hutch and I go up and ask the worker to take the sphere off and put it back and we get our shot.

Back on the ground the C.A. photog gives me that look like “I can’t believe you tv people”.

I ask him: “which time was the worker really putting the sphere on the steeple?”

The Commercial Appeal didn’t run their photo.


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