Money shot

WGCL's money shot

WGCL's money shot

If you’re going to spend all night at a hostage standoff, you want one thing:  You want the picture of it ending.  The four Atlanta TV stations spent the wee hours of Monday in Madison, where an ex-cop named David Deitz was holding his baby hostage in a motel room for some twelve hours.  But when Deitz walked out of the hotel room holding the baby, WSB and WAGA missed the shot.

WGCL got the video.  And it wasn’t the best picture in the world– but it clearly showed Deitz emerging from the room, baby in arms.  An accomplice emerged through the same doorway seconds later.  An AJC photographer also got the photo, which WSB used and credited.

How could you spend all night waiting for this very picture, then miss it?  It’s easier than you’d think.

Photographers can’t roll continually on the doorway.  The sheer volume of video would be unmanageable, and they’d drain their batteries.  Likewise, photographers have to shoot other action, like when SWAT team guys position themselves.  They have to shoot spokespersons when they hold news conferences.  They have to shoot their on-camera talent during live shots.  They have to abandon their cameras periodically to edit packages for newscasts.  If the TV station sends no more than one photographer, then the station risks losing the money shot.

Sometimes law enforcement agencies will intentionally divert news media away from the money shot, by holding a news conference as the climactic moment is taking place.  It’s unclear what happened Monday in Madison.

By the time most people saw this story, it was long finished and of rapidly diminishing interest.  But the managers at the TV stations keep score on this kind of stuff.  Score one for WGCL.

This entry was posted in AJC, WAGA, WGCL, 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.

4 thoughts on “Money shot

  1. Dagmarlover

    Big Deal!!! No one saw it! Don’t you realize no one in Atlanta watches a GCL newscast? Why do you waste so much time on them?
    Doug…you are really getting boring!

  2. Jim

    I once had a PIO do this, he started giving me sound just as they were getting ready to pull a guy who’d been ejected from, and trapped under his overturned garbage truck. He was fine, thanks to landing in a depression in the ground, but all you could see were two feet sticking out.

    After 30 minutes of lifting with airbags, they were finally ready to slide him out, and I’m supposed to roll an interview???? PIO insisted, so I managed to move him so the action was over his shoulder. As soon as he started talking, a quick zoom into the action solved it.

    A couple of weeks later, he pulled the same stunt. This one I really didn’t need, so I framed him very tight, eyebrows to chin. Asked him repeatedly if he was sure he was ready, then rolled. When he saw the ECU shot with the big sweat ball about to drip from the end of his nose, he wasn’t happy. I explained to him that, when the photog asks three times if you’re sure you’re ready, you might want to ask him if there’s a booger or other problem you need to fix.

    After that, we reached an understanding. He stays out of my way, and I don’t make him look like an idiot.

    I know what you mean about not being able to roll tape on it all. Sometimes you just can’t get it. I’d be interested to know if they had any warning this was coming, or if it just happened so fast that it was purely the “luck of the draw” to get it.

  3. Scott Hedeen

    how did Wxia do? i wonder if the photographer was on his/her way to the station in their personal car to get a camera when it all went down? i didnt see anything about this so i can’t really say… i was just curious Doug. You know ‘back in the day’ I used to always get the shot. (Mr. Hedeen’s internet access is now monitored by the Dipsh*t police… any references to “faded glory” “former greatness” or “cat like reflexes” are flagged and removed.thks!)


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