I’m not sure I know of many news people who enjoy covering funerals. Some might see funerals as easy, one stop shopping gigs where all the players can be shot at one location. Plug in some of the service, get tight shots of the grieving family members or friends, add a little B-Roll from the crime scene or whatever circumstances led to the person’s demise, shoot a stand-up and it’s Miller time. A live shot for the next newscast might also be in order.
I’ve found that covering funerals can bring out the best and worst of both sides.
If it’s a high profile case like the one in Selmer, crews from all over descend on small towns usually not adequately prepared for the onslaught,requests and demands of big town media. They may feel overwhelmed and angry by the attention and instrusiveness. I understand in Selmer, news crews were kept a distance away from the church. I don’t know if a pool camera was allowed in on the service or not. If not, that means the crews will have to scramble to get other video and sound to flesh out their packages. That can be when the feeding frenzy kicks into overdrive.
It’s not just small towns.
A few years back, an Amtrack train hit an 18-wheeler at a crossing in Bourbonnais, Illinois, killing five people from the Midsouth area. The services were held at a large church on Poplar in East Memphis. It seems to me that we had about three or four news crews at the church and we were almost falling all over each other trying to get something different from each other. The family had asked that former Memphis mayor Dick Hackett be the family spokesman/liason. I had been told I had to get some sound from someone other than him and I asked him if he might be able to accomodate me. As I was under a lot of pressure from the office to get the sound and he was not very forthcoming, a decided to do an end run. He saw this and came over and said something to me to express his displeasure. He was nice about it and while I can’t remember his exact...