BLOG: Not my favorite kind of bird watching

Jason Werling
Sep 20, 2011

 

The winning drive of a high school football game, spending a day documenting life in a small town, graduating seniors throwing their mortarboards in the air. One of the great parts about being a photojournalist at a newspaper in this area is all the great moments you have the opportunity to capture through the lens and all the people you meet on a daily basis. Most of the time.

The photographers and reporters from the newsroom go to countless assignments, some scheduled weeks or days in advance, some scheduled the same day and others can be assigned to us just by listening to our local law and emergency officials on the scanner. Fire calls, police calls and anything we may think our readers may be interested in can be added at any time into our daily schedule. We don't enjoy taking photos of people's anguish or their worst possible days and our job one recent Friday was no exception. A call came over the scanner with the Marblehead fire department being called to move utility lines at the scene of a crash that had just occurred. Photographer Angela Wilhelm was available and I sent her to check it out.

When she arrived to take photos of the crashed car a woman stood in her way and asked her to respect she and her daughter's privacy and please not take any photos. Angela told the woman that it was her job to take the photos and since the crash happened in public and there were public services being used to investigate and clear the scene Angela had every right to take photos from the public street she was standing. The woman still would not budge and Angie called me to find out what she should do.
Our job is to take photos, many times we take them and they never see the pages of the Sandusky Register or sanduskyregister.com. Minor fender benders or someone's toaster fire isn't too big of a deal to all of you out there. And as much as anyone doesn't like to admit it, almost everyone slows down and rubbernecks when passing breaking news.

Minor or not, we still take the photos in case of a crash that doesn't seem too serious turns into something more serious and something you, the readers, want to know more about. Case in point, the tragic crash a couple weeks ago that took the life of Christopher Nichols. What seemed like a minor crash ended the life of a little boy.

The crash in Marblehead did not look too serious, as Angela told me on the phone. I told her to get a few photos and come back into the office.

When Angie returned to get a couple photos, the woman was even more irate questioning Angela's personal ethics and then calling her a name that starts with a "b" and ends with an... Angela told the woman she had to get the photo as it was her job and assured the woman that her daughter's name wouldn't be in the paper as she was a minor. This did not change the woman's demeanor.
As you can see from the photo above, the woman told Angela to "put this in your paper" and stood in front of the car with both fingers in the air. She also put a young boy in front of the vehicle because the police officer at the scene of the crash told the woman we couldn't put the photo in the paper if there was a minor pictured, advice that was not correct. (CORRECTION- The officer at the scene of the crash was NOT a Marblehead police officer- I spoke to Chief Greg Fultz of the Marblehead police department and another law enforcement agency handled the crash.)

I talked to the woman after Angela gave her my phone number and in the conversation we agreed to disagree. She asked me what I would do in the same situation, if it were my child driving the car. I would like to think that my focus would be on my child and not worry about whether someone was taking photos or not.

Just a couple ground rules in case you have an unfortunate event happen to you and one of our reporters or photographers have to do our job and come out report on it…

1) If a photographer or reporter is standing on a public sidewalk or street and taking photos or reporting we are legally allowed to do so, just as much as anyone else with a cell phone camera can take photos. It may be a private situation to you, but if the event is in public where police and fire have to show up, the newspaper may have to cover it. A link HERE to the ACLU website gives more information about photographing from a public place and photographing law enforcement doing their jobs.
2) Calling us names doesn't help the situation.
3) Standing in front of a car and throwing obscene hand gestures in the air may not make the pages of the Sandusky Register, but it might call for a blog to explain the rights of journalists when we are trying to do our jobs.

We aren't the paparazzi, but we do sometimes get behind a fire truck or rescue squad on the way out to a call, so I guess technically you could call us "ambulance chasers." As bad as some people think it may be, we have a job to do and the reporters and photographers from the Sandusky Register will try to use the utmost respect while still doing our jobs.

Comments

althenaruby

Sucks to be that lady  :)

Pete

Did Angela get the name of the trailer park this lady lived at?

Taxpayer

Hey Sandusky Register, you might want to consider blurring out that front license plate.  Every LE officer in your journalistic influence will run the plate to find out the indentity of this liberal lunitic who is only concerned about BLAME instead of her situation.  Who cares about any pictures being taken?  And how about the wrong advice from the Marblehead cop?  I guess this proves the officer's own Constitutional and Ohio Law knowledge and proficiency.  Ha! Ha!  She is simply engrossed and concentrating about BLAMING the reporter instead of thinking of her responsibility in this costly wreck.  What a peak performance in her ability to utilize accute sign language and be an example to her daughter and the little boy she USED as a plant.  Unless, she is concerned about having her picture taken to prove she is someplace that might be difficult to explain. 

Mrs. Smith

First, I do hope the daughter wasn't injured in the accident.  I mean, you can't really die of embarassment, can you?  Is that a towel she's wearing?   

Kelly

Classy

SamAdams

The woman's rude gestures actually weren't an entirely unsuccessful attempt to avoid getting her picture in the paper. The problem, of course, is that it's perfectly usable if the hands are blurred out, and it's even more so as the "case in point" in a 'blog like this.

While I don't necesarily agree that you give up all rights to personal privacy simply because something happens to you in public (would you REALLY take a picture of a corpse just discovered, or a weeping, beaten woman just raped?), the fact is that if you're in public, you're fair game for both reporters AND government "agents" of all kinds.

Perhaps the confusion here involves the COMMERCIAL use of images. THOSE cannot be used without the permission of those pictured.

Rabbi

The bigger problem, missed by everyone commenting on this photo, and the issue that leads to the erosion of the very society many profess to protect is that of the behavior the mother is modeling in front of the child also picured in this image.  When we begin to hold parent accountable for the way they parent, we will see real gains in employment, manufacturing, and a general respect for one another, a real spirit of cooperation among people.  Children are born a "blank slate" upon which we write the pages of who they are.  Simply telling a child, "Hey don't do that or else" doesn't teach anything.  Modeling appropriate behavior is 9/10th's of the way to effective parenting.

There's a vast, gaping difference between a parents right to parent the way they choose, and the right (responsible) way to parent.  Go to the library and read a book.  You'd be amazed what you will learn.

The Answer Person

Well, I guess the Register could spend some time not taking pictures and work on grammar and spelling instead...

silly me...

Raoul Duke

I am so turned on right now...

Unabasho

Think first! Don't flip off
someone whose employer buys
ink by the barrel

rmb409

The way she has her right leg cocked leads me to think she may be passing gas.

Woody Hayes

THAT'S MY SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER!

Kimo

 

You can't tell me that was the only photo you took.

Why not use one of the other shots and show more class than the woman in the pic?

 

 

Kimo

 

Go back to sleep Duke.

; - ))

 

Cityslicker

From the look on the little boy's face, he thinks she's a jerk too.

Julie R.

I'm still laughing about that Cuyahoga County Judge Shirley Saffold (better known as "lawmiss" on cleveland.com) finding out the hard way that you never cross anybody that buys their ink by the barrel.............and  I would have to say this woman just found out the hard way, too. 

This is toooo funny!

meowmix

Judging by the sign in the back ground I'm guessing she was saying "Fudge You"....

The kid was flipping the bird too, he just had more class to cross his arms while doing it...

Peachy Keen

"Oh yes people, I am a big, important Register photographer with a job to do, so don't you forget it! I have rights!"  Honestly,this whole article is stupid and pretentious. Putting the photo up was as classless as the woman shown in it! Get over yourself, Werling.

althenaruby

I agree with Jason.  All Angela was doing was her JOB. Its not like she was asking the woman to pose for her.  It bothers me that people get so upset about the silliest things

007

In the article published today (FBI's drug suspect: I owe $1M to Mexican drug traffickers )

OK Jason which is it? You state in YOUR blog article (BLOG: Not my favorite kind of bird watching) where the woman is flipping your reporter the bird for taking a picture of her accident, you state (Just a couple ground rules in case you have an unfortunate event happen to you and one of our reporters or photographers have to do our job and come out report on it…

1) If a photographer or reporter is standing on a public sidewalk or street and taking photos or reporting we are legally allowed to do so, just as much as anyone else with a cell phone camera can take photos. It may be a private situation to you, but if the event is in public where police and fire have to show up, the newspaper may have to cover it. A link HERE to the ACLU website gives more information about photographing from a public place and photographing law enforcement doing their jobs.
2) Calling us names doesn't help the situation.
3) Standing in front of a car and throwing obscene hand gestures in the air may not make the pages of the Sandusky Register, but it might call for a blog to explain the rights of journalists when we are trying to do our jobs. ). In the article here you will see that ( At Troutman’s home on Tuesday, Brunswick threatened to take a reporter’s camera for trying to snap pictures at the scene.

“We kind of try to fly under the radar,” Brunswick said. “If you keep taking pictures of that car, I’m going to confiscate your camera.”

Troutman made his first appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
So who is correct Jason? You can't have it both ways!!
 

francineB

I also don't appreciate the photo.

pntbutterandjelly

I believe the woman in the photo is displaying a German version of American Sign Language. If my memory serves me correctly...

she is saying, " * ! ### ~ ! ". The translation is, of course, " I am dropping my Sandusky Register subscription".

Sue Meredith

I'm willing to bet that this story either would never had made the paper if this woman would have just walked away instead of making a spectacle of herself.  Her poor daughter is probably more embarresed mby her mother than by having a car accident.

44870-ish

Keep it classy, Sandusky.......

myname

I think this chick is smokin hot!!!