If you haven't been paying attention lately, it seems news readers (we prefer to call ourselves reporters and anchors) are becoming news makers and not in a positive light.
In the past week video has surfaced on YouTube showing an experienced and respected New York City anchor screaming the f-word at her co-anchor on the news desk. Bill O'Reilly is also victim to an internet posting that shows his anger being unleashed on a poor production assistant (you may know them better as the studio camera guys).
Some have shrugged it off by simply saying "oh well, it happens. We're all human." Yeah, true, but these are humans that should know better. Heck, I remember the first news director who gave me a crack at reporting sitting me down and telling me the dos-and-don'ts of TV news. #1 on the list was always assume the camera is on and the microphone is ‘hot'. Always. So far, knock on wood, sooooo good.
Now, that's not to say I haven't made this mistake before.
When I was 18 and a minimum wage earning tape editor at a small TV station in Texas, I accidentally left the edit bay microphone on while dubbing a news story from one tape to another. When that story aired on the 6pm news that night, you can hear everything I was saying to another co-worker and it wasn't pretty. Yes, I was suspended and a tough lesson was learned, but I'm very thankfully I learned the lesson when I was young in my career, new to the biz and surrounded by folks who were understanding and forgiving.
So, should we forgive Bill and the WNBC anchor who have now been added to the growing list of news folks who are busted shouting naughty words in front of a camera? Well, we ARE humans, aren't we and we're going to make mistakes now and then, but in my personal opinion, these are folks who should have made those mistakes many, many moons ago - not now. Those big fat paychecks they're getting tells me that they should know better.