NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman


The Best Aftermath Wins

Vehi­cle which was struck and then burst into flames, Lynn, MA

After 45 years of chas­ing news pro­fes­sion­ally  I real­ize I can­not be the first on the scene with a cam­era unless I am the first one on the scene. Every­one is ready to cap­ture the moment hap­pen­ing in front of them.It started about mid­night last night when in the back­ground as I was sort of sleep­ing I heard some­one on my scan­ners say, “fully involved.” I had not a clue who it was and as quickly as I turned over to see the scan­ner dis­play, the chan­nel changed and with­out my read­ing glasses on I could not have seen it anyway.

Sec­onds later my Nex­tel chirped from a scan­ner buffs call to tell me about a seri­ous acci­dent in Lynn MA. I was up get­ting dressed when I got my 2nd call this time on the home phone. There was also a voice mail from a friend who on sighted the acci­dent. When I got to the scene of the hor­rific acci­dent I noticed there was plenty of access visu­ally to the two car acci­dent with one car totaled includ­ing hav­ing been fully involved in fire and the other which had 5 peo­ple in it pretty much crushed from the impact. It was the car with the five peo­ple in it, which struck the first car. The car, which was struck, burst into flames, the dri­ver got out of the car aglow with the fire engulf­ing him.

First thing I noticed was all the peo­ple with their cell phones work­ing the scene. I knew right away to get what I could of the after­math then start the search for some­one who had some good visu­als. I was across the street from the dam­aged cars when this young fel­low found me and told me about his video, the car fully involved in flame and the dri­ver run­ning around on fire. I looked at the  video and said my sta­tion would like to pur­chase it. He was all excited and the arrange­ments were made for him to email in the video. Usu­ally the video or stills I find are “good enough” for use on web­sites and even to be broad­cast on a news report.

The prob­lem was and is as a long time news pho­tog­ra­pher I can­not beat the com­pe­ti­tion any­more. The com­pe­ti­tion is any­one who has a cell phone, smart phone or any other portable device, which takes stills or video. The other prob­lem being prac­ti­cally every­one has the tech­nol­ogy and knows what to do with it. Of course there is my brother in-law and uncle who have not a clue of how to work their phones other than to say hello. The cur­rent news per­son not only has to get to a scene, sum up what is needed to cover the story then search for the per­son with the best images they can get for their news orga­ni­za­tion or social media network.

This is the link to the images and video cap­tured at the scene and aired by WCVB-TV by  smart phone user Stephen Socci.

I do well on the search for the best stuff avail­able as my sta­tion sort of allows me to make offers to the owner of these images with a finan­cial reward. Not only do I try to get there first I have to be first in gath­er­ing other people’s stuff. The most impor­tant words in what we do with instant media is “right now” and I plan to be all over it.

Many years ago dur­ing a hol­i­day din­ner with a fam­ily friend the host, David Estes kept talk­ing to me about how won­der­ful it was to be pub­lished. I had never given it any thought. I was pub­lished every­day and took it for granted. So the bot­tom line here is every­one is a news pho­tog­ra­pher whether they really are a news pho­tog­ra­pher. So if you are a “real” news pho­tog­ra­pher get to the inci­dent, size it up and make sure you shoot the best after­math, as that is all that is going to be left most times.

Back in the late 70s I cov­ered an MIT Com­mence­ment where Lee Iacocca spoke and his last words were “grad­u­ates, start your engines.”

As the great news pho­tog­ra­pher Nat Whit­te­more once told me when I switched to TV, “daz­zle them with your footwork.”

In the new world of news I say, “good enough video gets pub­lished and the pro­fes­sional news pho­tog­ra­phers must see what oth­ers don’t see and make theirs more compelling.”

FYI, when I asked my daugh­ter Molly if she had read this blog her answer was “do you mean the one where you whine about peo­ple and their iPhone photos?”


Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Even if you’re not first on the scene, you do what you do well. Whether that’s doc­u­ment­ing the after­math or gath­er­ing videos and accounts from those who were there in the moment. It is, how­ever, a dis­ser­vice to you and your work that nei­ther cred­its you nor makes the video avail­able in a for­mat that mobile users can view. This needs to change, and I will say as much if I can locate their feed­back form.

    • I did not see this till now about a year later, I don’t have an answer for you about any­thing on our web­site if I can find it I will send it along, thanks. This ended up in my spam folder.

  2. Stan­ley, great job, keep the pho­tos and sto­ries behind them coming.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.