Things got a little heated when I was at a crash scene -- out of my traditional coverage of city limits -- the other day. Ultimately, the victims were two local physicians.
While emergency crews were trying their best to protect their confidentiality as patients, I will gather the information regardless of who the victims are in a story.
The crews need to remember that photographers and reporters have no HIPAA restrictions. ( See similar story at: ww.ems1.com/ems-social-media/articles/3017007-Photojournalist-5-tips-for-managing-the-media-on-EMS-scenes/ )
I probably arrived to the area in northern Vigo County at about 7:30 p.m., just after hearing it announced on the scanner.
Members from multiple emergency agencies were jumping in to do their parts from minute one at the scene of the single-engine plane crash . As I was observing the extrication of both victims from the small plane, I was impressed all the way around with the professional response of all involved.
Then there was a slight drama on the sidelines.. After I had been standing in the same spot, with video rolling, for several minutes, a local newspaper photographer warned me not to get in his way.
This was a new sort of conflict for me, with a counterpart. I had watched him walk to the area behind me earlier, so I had a good idea whose voice it was that I was hearing. I turned to make sure it was directed to me. All he had to do was simply hint, "I'm behind you, taking pictures," or something along that line, but he didn't. My temper admittedly got the best of me in the extreme heat of the day and I cut off the video.
In short, we had a quick verbal altercation and I stood my ground. I forgot all about him until a couple of policemen were rushing past us alongside EMTs -- transporting the first patient.
"No pictures of the victims!" they were demanding.
That was the icing on the cake. What a ridiculous order for us not to take pictures on a public roadway --not to mention the hundreds of bystanders with cell phones held high. I've been to a lot of wrecks and never heard that one before. The orders for no pictures continued when the second victim was brought out.
In effort to keep the peace ---- I just replied to one officer that I wasn't intending to post any with unidentified victims' faces showing. He seemed satisfied with that response. However, my new enemy was just clicking away, ignoring the police comments altogether. One officer then went as far to threaten to arrest people who kept snapping photos, which I also found extremely ridiculous. But I loved it, because he looked right at that guy when he said it.
Overall, after just a year- and- a -half of operating ICN, I think others are warming up to the idea of blogging and the sort. Also, aside from occasional sarcasm by another photographer who works at that same newspaper as this other guy, it's always been pleasant to work at scenes with all members of the local media.
Although a few departments were a little slower than others to respond to me, I'm grateful for the few agencies who've understood my mission and my website from the beginning. The following rarely give me problems with public information requests: The Vigo County Prosecutor's Office, Indiana State Police, Mayor's Office and the Terre Haute Police Department I'm also impressed with the FBI, since one special agent returned my phone call when I had been mistakenly transferred to her voicemail regarding the school corp. raid in June. The FBI always responds, now that I think about it, even if only to say no further information is available.
In reference to the raid, please remember the bad experience I had with the school corp. superintendent not long before that day. I'm keeping record. Some other examples of friction at various scenes have included: The time when a family member evacuated at a house fire gave me the middle finger,and I had to crop it out of photo, being made to move so far away from other scenes by a couple fire and policemen that I couldn't get a good shot and a time I was ordered by a witness at a car crash to put down my camera and help.
I'm only bringing old news up to point out that any conflict I've had has been far and few between. Remember, I oftentimes arrive to scenes and have no idea what I'm walking in to at first. If I walk too close to a fire or whatever else, just let me know. You don't have to rake me over the coals. I'm only there to get material for my local news website and leave.
I'm committed to continuing to bring fair and balanced news to the area. I welcome comments and suggestions.
Contact Lucy Perry at email@example.com
Journalist, Terre Haute
Lucy Perry, 46, enjoys writing about issues in her hometown. She periodically expresses personal opinions in her blog, Terre Haute Times.
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