“We have a situation…”

Once, while putting the finishing touches on a story that took all day, the following phone conversation took place:

News manager: We need you to go to Norcross. There’s a police situation.

Yours truly: What’s going on?

News manager: We don’t know, but the chopper is showing us cops with lots of guns. How soon can you be there?

Damn that chopper.

With that, our crew punted a day’s work and spent the late afternoon / early evening watching SWAT team cops surround a house. Inside, a guy was holding himself hostage. We did two live shots.

Tuesday, Atlanta TV caught wind of an event in Decatur, and the best word they could find to describe it was “situation.” DeKalb hazmat teams went to a vacant home where some construction workers reported they’d been sickened by a white powder.

Turned out the powder was boric acid, used to kill roaches. One person commenting on WXIA’s web site noted: “Wow, the toxicity of boric acid is half that of table salt. To get a bleeding nose, those workers must have been inhaling lines of the stuff.”

Anyway. It was quite a spectacle: Folks in moon suits doing the hazmat thing. Wide-eyed neighbors, helpfully telling TV how doggone weird and scary it was.

Our favorite shot, though, was in Richard Elliott’s package on WSB. Hazmat guys were walking behind a neighbor who continued to barbecue his supper within feet of the “situation.” The neighbor showed the correct amount of disregard for this event. Elliott concluded his piece by telling viewers it was “no big deal.”

Yet big enough to earn a couple minutes on the evening news.

This entry was posted in Elliott, WSB on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

5 thoughts on ““We have a situation…”

  1. TravisBickle

    LAF: Did you ever get to air your original story?

    Yeah, let that happen a couple of times a week, that’ll put out the fire

  2. live apt fire Post author

    The original story never aired, and I was so disgusted that I preferred to toss it. The attitude helped maintain my sanity, and my betters didn’t really care.

  3. Chas

    My favorite is when the SWAT team decides to surround a house where someone MAY be inside holding them at bay. This usually happens exactly 45 minutes before a newscast… just enough time to switch everything around. Then at 5 minutes ’til news time, the reporter who got yanked from a real story calls in to say nobody was in the house. Then the reporter has to do a live shot from two blocks away from the empty house with the SWAT vans driving away behind him/her. But at least the sot with the toothless neighbor made slot.

  4. nooozeguy

    The bitterness and truthfulness of this sordid tale is palpable (esp. the comments)… My gosh.

    LAF, if you *did* air your original piece, it would have meant that the *next* time “breaking” news occurred, you would be the first one to be busted anyway.


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