ArchiveBlogBlog 14

Famous for a Little Longer

By Jess Pinnell

I major in photojournalism. I love the prospect that I can take one photo, put it into context, and let the picture do the talking. I often feel as if one photograph can tell much more of a story than anything I say or write.

I also get to be behind the camera and separate myself from the news story. I don’t like the sound of my voice. I also like to keep myself in an unkempt appearance with a utilitarian wardrobe. I’ve always looked down on broadcast journalists as fake, pretty people who are products to be sold on television.

Metro TV is a television station. There are no photographers on the staff. We only use still photos for imported, international stories where we don’t have the resources to send a videographer and broadcast journalist. Seeing that they wouldn’t send me to Gaza for the five weeks, I had one option – be a broadcast journalist.

I eventually made my very own story. There were some difficulties, like getting consent to film strangers. But, I went out to the streets (literally) and talked to people. I also secured two government interviews with government officials. I found out that the laws were intentionally not being enforced until drivers had a fair amount of time to install seatbelts in their cars. I found information that nobody in the newsroom already knew.

They were going to air it twice. It would air once on the evening news and once on the morning news the following day. Then it would become officially “old news” and disappear into the archives.

I stayed late that night to watch it air on the evening news. It aired last, as it was more of a human-interest story than hard-hitting news. It was still cool to see myself on national television – despite the fact that the anchor (despite several arguments beforehand) still insists to this day that my last name is pronounced as “PEE-Nell.”

When I got back the office the next day, Metro had a surprise waiting for me. My story was now #2 in the lineup, and it would be on both the morning news and the news at 1 p.m.

Here’s the #1 story: GRAPHIC

Here’s my story:

I was at #2 because my story was related to #1. A “tipper truck” (proper English for dump truck) had collided with a taxicab, killing a family of four. Metro had secured raw footage of the four dead bodies lined up along the road. I was a little surprised that they were willing to show fresh corpses, but I was all for it. I love the idea of uncensored news.

In short, the top story was that four people, including children, had been killed in a traffic accident. Then, we aired me right behind it, although we didn’t directly suggest that wearing a seatbelt would have saved them.

I got to be famous for a little longer.