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Hypothetical car crash scenario...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rusty Shackleford, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    This is purely a hypothetical, hasn't happened to me or anyone I know, but...

    Say you work for a smaller newspaper, the kind where a local car crash with injuries/deaths are regularly front-page news. You're driving somewhere in your car, not for work-related purposes. You're in, say, a three-car accident. You're fine, just some cosmetic damage to your car. But somebody in one of the other cars is killed, with others injured. You have no life-saving training (no CPR), so you're really of no use to help any of the injured.

    As both a reporter and a principle participant in the accident, what do you do? A coworker and I got into a debate about this last night. He says you're the first journalist on the scene -- take notes, maybe get some interviews of some witnesses that weren't involved or the police once the injured are tended to. Plus, you've got a first-hand account to draw from.

    I said get out of the way, help the injured in whatever pathetic way you can and let the assigned journalists for this kind of thing deal with it. You can be one of their main sources on the story. Hell, if you wanted to be an ass about it, you could talk only to your paper and not to anyone from any other news source.

    But he just insisted that you're a journalist, and you're the first on the scene of a deadly accident -- take advantage of your 'scoop.' It could be a breaking story for the ol' Web site.

  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I say you make sure you are OK. Try to help others as much as possible and call your paper.

    You should not be working the story because you are involved. You have a built-in conflict of interest and the perception would be that you are spinning the details of the accident to get yourself off the hook.

    Now, you can be a witness. Maybe one of the drivers have a bottle of Old Grandad clutched in his hand or something and you can tell another reporter from your paper, but you cannot write the story.

    No paper or website should let you.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Ace is correct.

    You should not be involved in the reporting. Same thing as if you are a witness (or victim) to a burglary, etc. And I have thought about a similar situation if a wildfire decides to knock on my front door, which isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility.

    Your observational skills can help the reporter who IS working the story, but you should not be the one to do it.
  4. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Provide details to your paper but don't write it yourself. You're too close and too involved to write about it fairly.
  5. T2

    T2 Member


    Would it be different if you were not a reporter but a photographer (for print or TV) and happened to have the only camera on the scene?
  6. So how does this hypothetical apply to Katrina-New Orleans and ALL the reporters from the area affected by the devastation (see SMG's recent interview) who hung around to report on the stories that emerged.
    Isn't this the same thing on a MUCH larger scale?
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    A man and his son are driving in a car. The car crashes into a tree, killing the father and seriously injuring his son. At the hospital, the boy needs to have surgery. Upon looking at the boy, the doctor says (telling the truth), "I cannot operate on him. He is my son."

    How can this be?
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The man is Idaho, the doctor is Uma.
  9. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Either the dead guy or the doctor is his biological father, the other is his stepfather.
  10. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Or, the more logical answer would be that the doctor is his mother.
  11. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member


    Ace had it right. The doctor is the mother.

    So sad you assume the doctor had to be a man.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'm just sorry that Idaho had to die to illustrate the point.
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