Wednesday, January 14, 2015

First Person: Frein Hearing

The man who allegedly shot two state troopers in September, Eric Frein, had his preliminary hearing in Milford back on the 5th.  It was my job to set the table during Newswatch 16 This Morning, and then contribute something for our noon broadcast.

There's nothing like planning.  Photographer Corey and I left for Milford very early, so we could get a prime parking space for one of our satellite trucks.  Corey and I pulled in to town just before 4:00 a.m.  We were joined by two other photographers and two reporters as the actual hearing time approached.

Management gave us a great deal of freedom.  The photographers, Amanda Kelley, Jim Hamill and I decided among ourselves how we'd divide the story.  They would do the courtroom testimony.  Amanda would handle that for noon.  I'd concentrate on the scene outside the Pike County Courthouse.
The first element of the story was Frein's arrival.  This was my first up-close look at him, and I took the photo you see above.  They cleaned him up well.  He looks like your average 31 year old.  Yes, innocent until proven guilty, but you have to wonder how someone could get off the track so severely.

The rest of my noon story was a bizarre series of clips that reminded me one of those E! red carpet awards show arrivals, but sad and tragic  We had the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, the families, and the spectators all entering the courthouse.

Once all the video was collected, three photographers and I caucused inside the satellite truck.  Each told me what they had, and suggested elements to use.  I enjoyed the collaboration.  I banged out a script on my laptop and transmitted it back to the office for approval.  The green light came a few minutes later.  I recorded the audio.  Photographer Corey took the video from photographers Dan and Steve, and assembled the noon piece.  When Amanda arrived from the courtroom, we played it for her, so she would know how to introduce it.

The noon broadcast came and went flawlessly, and I was back in a car headed back to the office at 12:10.  Amanda, Jim, Steve, and Dan handled the rest of the day.

My day started at 1:30 a.m.  I walked out the door exactly 12 hours later.  There was a great deal of satisfaction with the team effort.