a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A tragedy nearly out of control


While some may think differently, I do not derive any pleasure from having to take these types of photographs. Emotions soared Sunday afternoon in Webster, Pa., when 12-year-old Terrence Carlock of nearby Donora drowned after being swept under by the currents in a dangerous stretch of the Monongahela River.

Volunteer firefighters at these scenes can lose all sense of rationalization when they see someone with a camera taking photos of grieving relatives, as was the case after Terrence disappeared while swimming with a group of unsupervised children.

Like it or not, everyone in America has the right to free speech and stand in a public place to shoot photographs or videos. It’s among our federal privileges that some of us in journalism work hard to uphold.

Often in these situations, news photographers end up with shots of rescuers in boats or concerned bystanders watching from afar. Or, they get there too late and settle for a long shot of the scene after everyone has left the area. But, I just happened to be in the area when the emergency sirens flared.

And, this photograph would never have been taken had someone taken better charge of the situation and not allowed the victim’s 11-year-old sister to be given a police escort to the riverbank, only to witness her brother’s lifeless body being pulled by a scuba diver from the water.

It's not like I was hunting her down or in anyone's face. I was just doing my job.

4 comments:

cmyers4 said...

Scott,do not feel you have to explain yourself. I know the feeling of seeing the pics surrounding a tragedy. I also know when you need to be heard,you are someone they would seek out.

Alison said...

That's an amazing, heartbreaking photo.

Thanks for the free speech bit; I'm not a journalist, but sometimes I feel weird when I'm out photographing stuff. Statements like yours remind me that I have every right to do what I'm doing.

Anonymous said...

freedom of speech my ass you ought to be a shame of yourself and now I fully understand why people punch,kick and spit at people like you for takeing pictures of their kids without consent and for the record since you were just"doing your job"she didn't see her brother takein out of the river they removed her from the area so she wouldn't and she's not 12 she's 11 so if takeing this picture was about doing your job then the least you could have done was get correct information to go along with it!!!!!!!!!

David said...

9-17-08
This is my First Time seeing this page, I did not realize they had a picture of Davina in this stage, I feel it is wrong to show my Daughters pain without her knowledge. I also respect the right of free speech and journalism but there comes a time certain lines must not be crossed.
~~> Her Fahter David <~~