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  • The Press: Helpers or Goats

    We saw it on Sept. 11. Now, see it again. As the firefighters work to put out the fires of the most recent tragedy in NYC(Queens), the reporters are sticking their mics in the faces of our brothers. Does anybody else find this inappropriate? I saw these people doing the same at the WTC when these men and women were trying to find their fellow firefighters. I understand that they are trying to get these stories out to the public, but I feel that there is a time and place for them. I strongly feel that the fire ground is a place that they should not be. What if the fires ignited a natural gas leak. I think that this is an example of the press stepping where they should not. I think that it is just a matter of time before there is somebody killed because of the these people. What do you think? Are they a potential problem, or are they a necessary part.

    Also, what did everyone think of the mayor kissing the butts of the fire department, even after what he has done in the past week or so?

  • #2
    I wholeheartedly agree with the statement above. Media personel should not be crowding us when we are trying to do our jobs. I had an incident with a camera operator during a river rescue/recovery. I was working EMS checking the divers as they came out of the icy waters. One of the divers stated he had tingling in his fingers, so we were paying real close attention to him. The camera operator was hovering around us, bumping me out of the way a few times. During the process I accidently bumped him, almost knocking him down. He got ****ed and threatened me. When tempers calmed down, the situation was resolved.
    Now for the kicker, I went to school to work in TV. I actually do work in television now, working for a local public access televison station. During my years in college, doing interships with "real" stations I was sickened numerous times on the lack of respect reporters and camera ops have for situations. I was on a shoot once at a major MVA, the reporter hopped into the back of the ambulance to ask the critically ill driver of one of the vehicles what happened. I, along with the EMTs/Medics in the back tried to get her out. She almost had to be arrested. After that incident, she said some strong words to me about keeping my mouth shut about reporting. After we got back to the station, I immediately went to the station manager and requested I not work there anymore due to her unproffesional behavior. A few weeks later, the reporter was no longer working for the station.
    I feel they do have a right for information, but in a way that doesn't interfere with our duties.
    HELL YEAH!!!
    The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.

    Comment


    • #3
      I was actually thinking about this earlier this morning. I personally think the press are scum. They are annoying and insensitive and need to need to go stick there microphones where the sun don't shine.

      However, what's the first thing I did this morning after getting a page over my pager about the plane crash?...I turned on the TV to see what was going on.

      So, I think they are useful. They get news to people so we are aware what is going on, however they need to back off a bit. Report from the sidelines. Don't get in our way and hinder our jobs, and don't ask for interviews while we are trying to do our jobs.

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      • #4
        What would have happened at the World trade Center if the fire/police folks had kicked out some unknown photographer from some small newspaper in New Jersey at the WTC site on September 11th, 2001?

        Not much, except that the most famous photograph of America's firefighters that has ever been taken would not have been made. You know which picture I am refering to.

        Has that one single picture done more for us than anything we ever could have done on our own?

        Maybe we need to figure out some shared goals and procedures with the press. They need us as much as we need them. News media people can sure do a lot of good for us if we set some common sense guidelines and then make them stick to them.

        As someone said above, we bitch and complain about the news media, and then rush out to buy the newspaper or turn on the TV and expect to have great coverage of our activities.

        We really need to work with them and educate them on our activities and procedures and set forth some guidelines of unacceptable practices (cameras in back of ambulances, etc,.) Then we get the coverage we deserve and the respect we have earned.
        Glenn Usdin, Fire Chief
        Lancaster Township FD, PA

        Comment


        • #5
          Most dept. have a PIO who does all the talking with the media. When it is set up in a dept. no-one speaks to the media except the PIO. This prevents unwanted responses or misinformation to be put out. The dept must contact the media and explain how the PIO position operates, and how and why they must go through that person only, they will comply. The dept. than MUST set up the PIO position at the scene ASAP and inform the members in the dept. that no one,and that means no one speaks to the media except the dept.PIO. The only problem I have found are the outside wana-bees that come into the city/town and look for the media to get their name or picture taken. We speak to the media about this also and found they understand.What must happen if information is given out without the PIO knowledge, is that person with the big mouth is reprimanded,or if it is a outside person his name and picture is given to law enforcement to be escorted out of the city the next time a incident is taken place. be safe all

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          • #6
            One of my positions is acting as a Public Relations Officers for an organization at the school I attend. Last week one of our professors and advisors passed away and I knew about it as I walked through the door at 0700. But I couldn't tell the other members of the organization until I had heard from the powers that be. After the head PR guy, Roger, found out what I was doing, he made sure I had accurate information to pass along as quickly as possible. And I sent what I had to him when I got it. In no way does it compare to someone invading an ambulance and/or possibly endangering others. But after spending nearly a year dealing with Roger and local media, I've learned there are certain things that you just don't do.

            A supreme court justice once said that "My right to throw my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." It's rather amazing how many different ways you can apply that one statement.
            Amy Ponder
            Volunteer Fire Fighter/First Responder's Little Girl

            Comment


            • #7
              I hold a degree in Public Communications, and act as my department's Public Education and Information Officer. The media has a job to do...report the news. We have a job to do, and I don't think I have to describe it!

              There has to be a "halfway" point in dealing with the media. Treat the media like crap, you get crap in return. Respect their professionalsim, and they will repect yours.

              One of the best examples I saw of working with the media was the Worcester Cold Storage fire of 12/03/1999. The District Chiefs assigned to the PIO function for the Worcester Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal kept updating the media about what was going on, answering questions and scheduling regular updates on the situation.
              Like I said earlier, mutual respect makes things easier for all of us.
              ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
              Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

              Comment


              • #8
                I think that the PIO is a great thing. It keeps morons like me from giving mis-information. I agree that we need the press as much as they need us, but we surely don't need them inside the fireground,at a call, do we. When I say that, I mean inside the lines. I have noticed that the press seems to think that they have the right to cross the lines that the police and firefighters have set up and for THEIR protection as well as ours. Take today as an example; I saw a camera guy walking around and just about walk into a fire. Apparently he was to busy getting a shot, and didn't notice the fire at his feet. We are always talking about the legal crap that comes along with our job, and I can't help but think that if one of these people gets hurt that the city will be sued in some fashion.

                There is a little department out here that tried to quench the local press's thirst for fireground similation. The room that they took him into flashed and he got some minor burns. Even though he signed a release, he still tried to sue and almost won.

                I guess I'm just tired of seeing these people shove their mics in the faces of our brothers who don't need that right now. What do you think?

                Comment

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