TWC crew arrested

Serves them right -- if, as the CNN article reports, the crew was repeatedly asked to leave then they absolutely deserve to face the trespassing charges. I definitely get more than a little peeved when I hear stories of this nature, especially when they take place on the property of a tornado fatality. No respect...
 
This is exactly what they deserve. That kind of behavior is completely unacceptable. I think that team should publicly apologize for their lack of sympathy for the family of the deceased and their property.
 
Wow! That sets a bad precident. As someone that shoots video like this for the news, we would NEVER remain anywhere we were asked to leave from. I am wondering why they couldn't at least move to the street and shoot from public property?
 
I really hope that article is not true because that really makes The Weather Channel look bad. And, though most storm chasers don't work for The Weather Channel, the incident reflects badly on all of us. I always film from public streets or ask permission. Generally, I stay away from damage areas.I could see protocol stretched and asking permission of local authority or possible quickly filming if there is no one in authority to ask. If they didn't have permission and were asked to leave (multiple occasions!), then the crew should be charged. That is absolutely unacceptable.
Just remember, they are innocent until proven guilty.

Bill Hark
 
A couple of things to remember that Bill eluded to.

The TWC crew was arrested on warrant. A warrant of this type is sworn out by the aggreived party to a Law Enforcement Officer. The LE does not have to witness the Trespass himself. He's acting on the warrant.

Obviously we don't have all the facts. Obviously, the TWC crew isn't saying much. Obviously, there's a lot more than we know.

If the TWC crew was asked to leave private property and didn't, then LE acted correctly. If the TWC crew left private to public property, but still were within sight of the property, then LE still acted correctly working with the warrant as stated.

If the above is true and they moved to a street or adjacent property, then it's more the ethics of the TWC crew in question rather than the lagality of tresspass.

It's hard to believe that a news crew would have to be asked to leave property more than once. Although, it can happen. The more likely scenario is that they moved to the public roadway and were confronted there by family members. The New Crew acting as some news crews do, continued to film, thus escalating the situation already charged with emotion.

As a News Photographer, this is a sticky call. You're basically darned if you do and darned if you don't. I'm sure David Drummond can give a little insight here as well. The ethics vary from scene to scene. As a storm chaser, the ethics are easy. Render assistance as required or asked for. Move on if your not helping.
 
Indeed there is more to the story than was told. There ALWAYS is. Remember too that some news crews are actually employeed full time by whatever news agency, and not freelance, and sometime have to measure their own ethics of what they want to shoot vs. shooting what their employer is telling them to shoot to keep their job. I.E., the photographer might not feel personally comfortable shooting a damage scene, but that is part of his job to do so.

All that said, there ARE ways to run and gun without getting in the way and bothering people and often just talking to people before you even get the camera out can go a long, long way. Heck, I don't even like having a camera shoved in my face without warning, I don't doubt that someone that just went through a bad storm does.

I have found most people WANT to tell you about what happened to them, but they also like to be respected to. I have had people talk candidly on camera, I have had people say they would talk with the camera on as long as I didn't show their face. I have had other's that didn't want to be shown but was happy to let me shoot the property. I don't recall however EVER having anyone tell me NOT to shoot their storm damage.

I wish we knew more of what actually happened there, but I am betting you there were quite a few news crews on the scene, and not just the TWC crew.
 
There was no response to calls seeking comment Friday from Weather Channel spokeswoman Kathleen Lane. "While we cannot comment on legal proceedings, we are upset and saddened this family suffered the loss of one of its members," she told the Southern Standard on Thursday.[/b]

I'm actually saddened to hear nothing but a corporate mealymouth response. I think at the very least a $1000 check to the victims out of respect and to smooth things over, or a similar donation to a local charity in the area, would be a more meaningful gesture than this. I can't seem to find any excusable scenario where one would hang around a disaster area being asked six times to leave. Thanks, Court, good catch.

Tim
 
I agree with Tim's assessment. Even if the TWC crew is not to blame, TWC should still write out a nice check or do something nice for the family to smooth things out and calm it down, otherwise this will go down as a bad mark for TWC no matter what comes out of it... it may already have.
 
I agree with Tim's assessment. Even if the TWC crew is not to blame, TWC should still write out a nice check or do something nice for the family to smooth things out and calm it down, otherwise this will go down as a bad mark for TWC no matter what comes out of it... it may already have.
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Certainly TWC has shown no concern for their substantive image for several years.
 
Certainly TWC has shown no concern for their substantive image for several years.
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its almost like this jorma duran has become the new jim cantore except jorma looks like a fool whenever he is on TV. Im not surprised by this but for having a crew in tornado alley like they say they are makes me wonder why they arent actually chasing the storms instead of waiting a day or two after and looking at the destruction. There have been PLENTY of chances for them
 
its almost like this jorma duran has become the new jim cantore except jorma looks like a fool whenever he is on TV. [/b]

Jorma was brought in specifically to cover the spring / summer severe weather season. I think he used to work for a Chicago station... At any rate, I met him back in mid-March I think, and he seemed like a nice guy. TWC showed interest in covering real-time severe weather events much more this spring (partly why they brought in Jorma I assume), which is why you've seen many more 'field reports' (e.g. various anchors across the US to give live reports). I think it was the programming director who said that they are trying to become the 'weather news leader' by including more live reports (with the rise of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, they feel they may no longer have the leading edge in breaking weather information/stories, or at elast that's how I interpretted what he/they said). This has no bearing on this case, but just thought I'd throw it out.
 
Jorma was brought in specifically to cover the spring / summer severe weather season. I think he used to work for a Chicago station... At any rate, I met him back in mid-March I think, and he seemed like a nice guy. TWC showed interest in covering real-time severe weather events much more this spring (partly why they brought in Jorma I assume), which is why you've seen many more 'field reports' (e.g. various anchors across the US to give live reports). I think it was the programming director who said that they are trying to become the 'weather news leader' by including more live reports (with the rise of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, they feel they may no longer have the leading edge in breaking weather information/stories, or at elast that's how I interpretted what he/they said). This has no bearing on this case, but just thought I'd throw it out.
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I dont think he is from Chicago but i could be wrong, ive never heard of him before his first TWC apperance, he very well could be though because i only watch Tom Skilling in Chicago, no one else is worth the time. im not saying he isint a nice guy, he just looks really uneasy on camera, or at least to me he does. TWC has never been really good at covering severe weather event. Also stations like MSNBC, CNN and Fox have easier access to live local news than TWC which give them a chance at covering events better. i will give credit to TWC though, durning the last Tennessee outbreak when they got a tornado live from one of the Nashville tv stations.
 
Whether this is Duran's first weather gig or not, even a cub beat reporter should know better than to trespass in a disaster area. Especially if, or when, they were asked to leave by a Police Officer. Those are basics of media law, and, hopefully also storm chase ethics, not to mention common sense. I'll bet his Assignment Editor and his News Director will have a few choice words for him..hopefully including The Donald's favorite phrase..."You're Fired!"



Kevin,

I think this is his first stint in weather reporting. I thought he said he was a sports reporter before this year.
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All I have to say is "DOH". Yes TWC is one of my larger clients but I have to agree, that if this is true and they were asked to leave the private land. Well, the law is the law and someone messed up and should lose their job or do a weekend in the work house or fined.

Then again, look at Paris Hilton. A lame show came out about her in the simple life. One home adult video later and she is a huge star with a hit TV show.

This could actually work for them because their is no such thing as bad P.R. if you have a good P.R. person taking the lead and now TWC is getting free press on a ton of other news sites. I even saw the story today on www.Wtsp.com which is a Tampa TV station.

Personally, I don't do aftermath unless I'm stuck in that area. It is just too painful to see family members torn apart after a storm just rips their lives apart and even worse, kills someone. I know some will do what ever it takes to get video and get the story and make some money but let's be serious and stop and think, what will the public think if I get caught doing something I'm not suppose to be doing. What will Doswell think if you get caught and some county or state bans parking on the side of county roads unless in emergency or next to property you own.

Think about it, we could have a chaser convergence waiting for the storms to fire and local PD comes out and starts writing parking tickets for parking in a no parking zone. It Could Happen Tomorrow...

I think all of us need to take a look at how we are seen by the general public because it only takes one person bleeping up to ruin it for all.
 
Last Thanksgiving when all the wildfires started in Oklahoma, we had a very bad wind event that basically took place during the entire day. I was called out by the station I work at to go check out a report of wind damage at a mobile home park (not gonna say where).

It was dark when I got there. The park's address was on the highway, however, to get into the residential area you had to take a street back into it...which was not signed, so I assume it was not an incorporated street. Note that there was not a gate or fence around the property. I drove around a little bit asking about a report of damage. The residents directed me toward the location.

As I pulled up, about 3 people approached my car and asked me who I was. I identified myself and who I worked for. I said we received a call that there was some wind damage, and I was sent to check it out. The residents said, "Yeah, this was it."

About that time, my phone rang. I stepped back in the car and shut the door so I could talk on it. A pretty excited lady ran up and kept pounding on my car window. I asked her to wait just a second so I could finish the call. Once I did, I stepped out. She asked me who I was. I identified myself and the station again and explained what I was doing there. She then proceeding to explain that they were trying to construct a "community of pre-manfactured homes" and that "media-types" like me give them "bad names and bad reputations" and that she didn't know what was "so entertaining about damage anyway." I briefly tried to explain why it's important for event verification (but I failed miserably).

She said that this was a home that was being worked on, and the construction workers failed to tack down the roof properly and it was not anything really caused by anything severe. She said she was the manager of the community and I was then asked to leave and not to take any video. I said "OK" and mentioned that I was glad nothing serious was wrong, and "Have a good night."

I got back in the car, and received a call from the station directing me to a huge grass fire near Tulsa. After getting directions, I got ready to drive away. As I did, three guys approached my car, I attempted to drive off when they quickly approached and impeded my progress. They asked me who I was, so I went through my spiel again. I told them their boss had asked me to leave, so I was. About that time, she comes running out of nowhere and yells, "If he has photos or videos, get 'em!"

Her "cronies" basically surrounded my car. Things pretty much deteriorated into an argument with her running her spiel about me being on private property and tresspassing (even though it had only been 1.5 minutes from our first converstion not allowing me enough time to leave) and me trying to explain that I hadn't taken any video and was trying to leave because I was told to. I never once went into anything about feeling threatened by her people or the threats of seizing my camera stuff.

I was about ready to call 911 and get the cops because I was starting to feel endangered. Finally, I told her to shut up and listen to me. I emphasized that I took no video (I even offered to play the tape so they could see) and was trying to leave as requested. I said, "If you're done unlawfully detaining me, I'll leave now."

I didn't give her a chance to respond. I got in the car and sped away. I have never taped anything on a homeowners/private property (minus a Wal-Mart, gas station, or car wash) without permission. If asked to leave and not do anything, I leave. In fact, I went to another mobile home park before that and found damage. I asked if I could tape, the residents requested that I did not...so I didn't. I acutally had a pretty lengthy and polite conversation with them.

If the TWC crew did stay on the property without permission after being told to leave, they should get the full penalities. That stuff is uncalled for.

Sorry for the novel-length post.
 
UPDATE - Jorma Duran is back on the air tonight. As of about 20 minutes ago. Still in the midwest reporting live from Macon County, IL. Naturally, the anchors and crew are saying nothing about the arrests.

If and when they do call Jorma & company on the carpet, I hope the staffers in TWC's Global Forecast Center in Atlanta have earplugs, they might just need them!
 
On the flipside of this, it is worth mentioning that if you are on public property shooting video or photos, *no one* has the right to tell you to leave or stop shooting, not even the police. If in such a situation they detain you, physically contact you or restrain you, take your camera/tapes/film, or even continue to harrass you, *they* are then liable for a whole host of offenses including theft, coercion, battery, harassment, even kidnapping.

This is a MUST READ for any photographer:
http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

If the property you are on is in fact private, but is not obvious and is unmarked as such, if you are asked to leave you must do so immediately - but even then no one has the right to do *anything* further UNLESS you resist and stay on the private property after being instructed to leave. This goes for shopping malls, museums or any other private property that has open public access. If you continue to stay on private land after being asked to leave, then police are fully justified in arresting you.

That said, despite the law there is a general common courtesy to give greiving people their privacy and their space when shooting from public property. I have to give network TV photogs credit as they often have to weigh this against the neccessity of doing their jobs and getting the shots they have been assigned to get.
 
Storm Chasing....the land where you are guilty before you prove yourself innocent!

I think you guys should at least give them the benefit of the doubt here. There is MUCH more to the story than any of us will ever know. Perhaps they did remain on private property when they were asked to move. If so I am sure they well get their appropriate fines when they go to court. And if that was the case, the definitely acted inappropriately and unprofessionally.

I just can't shake the feeling that wasn't what happened at all. There were other circumstances I am sure. We probably won't ever know what they are. In fact, we might not ever know the outcome of it.

I just think it's in poor taste that the storm chase community act like the judge and jurors on something with nothing more than a brief report from CNN (not like they have ever gotten anything wrong or cut out some of the fact eh?) just because TWC is chasings favorite bashing post next to WF.

Give them what our constitution gives us....the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. If they get a conviction from this, then go to town on them.

Anyone want to volunteer to follow up on this several months down the line and see what the outcome is?
 
On the flipside of this, it is worth mentioning that if you are on public property shooting video or photos, *no one* has the right to tell you to leave or stop shooting, not even the police. If in such a situation they detain you, physically contact you or restrain you, take your camera/tapes/film, or even continue to harrass you, *they* are then liable for a whole host of offenses including theft, coercion, battery, harassment, even kidnapping.


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Not exactly. To preserve public order and safety, Police can impose restrictions on movement in disaster areas. Failure to observe a lawful order from a police officer is a crime by itself. And in fact not only that, IF they did disobey a LEO then they could have been arrested for trespassing regardless of the fact if they were on public property or private property at the time.

any person who willfully fails or refuses to obey such signals or directions or who willfully resists or opposes a sheriff or deputy sheriff in the proper discharge of his or her duties shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished as provided by law for such offenses. RSMo chp 575[/b]

This is from my state of Missouri, but I would think that the laws of other states would be nearly identical.
 
Am I the only one that thinks that incident was probably caught on tape?

...just a thought.
 
I think everyone should be careful until the entire story is known.

It is quite possible the cops over-reacted during an emotional time. I do not believe any news crew would be "asked 30 times" to leave and ingore the request. Let's hear their side of the story.

Mike
 
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