Sure, not ALL TV News photogs are alike. People from all walks of life are drawn to the lens, and with them they bring a wide spectrum of tastes, preferences and outlooks. But a few personality-types can be found in EVERY shop:
THE SCANNER HOUND - You know the guy - he can recite infinite frequency listings but doesn’t know any girls’ phone numbers. The inside of his heavily marked Dodge Minivan looks like the cockpit of a Black Hawk helicopter. When not wolfing down chili-dogs behind the wheel, this shooter can be found buying cop buddies a dozen sprinkled donuts, or trolling the occasional adult bookstore. This photog-prototype may not do well in mixed company - but he can tell the difference between individual agencies emergency sirens from a 20 block radius.
THE FILM GEEK - A far different breed than the scanner hound , this Photogus Newsicus is something of a failed filmmaker. They’re easy to spot in the wild; just look for the guy setting up six point lighting at the mayor’s press conference. You know, the pale dude dressed all in black with the eyebrow ring. He may not know his own main-anchor’s first name, but he can reel off what kind of film stock your promo guys shoot on. Expect arcane movie references, a devotion to all things animation, and a penchant for sour facial expressions.. When not amassing illegal downloads off the internet, this classification of lensman can be found searching for a mate at local sci-fi conventions, or in his ratty apartment working on his homemade robot.
THE SPORTS GOOB - You don’t have to wander back to the Sports Department to run across the Film Geek‘s natural enemy. He’s probably in the hallway giving the squirrelly little graphics guy an atomic-wedgie. Usually suffering from spoiled athletic ambitions and an overload of testosterone, this is thick-necked shooter can be found cadging free grub at the local college’s pressroom, talking up cheerleaders on the sidelines, or holding court at the nearest sports bar. Look for his collection of press passes hanging from his rear-view mirror, and his wide array of free logo wear. But tread lightly - this bloke think news is for wimps, eats Taco Bell for breakfast and can’t seem to find his tripod. Use caution - they can smell fear..
THE GADGET NUT - A relative of the Scanner Hound , this shooter is far more concerned with collecting gizmos than obtaining pretty pictures. Be it the latest in Leatherman tools, collapsible step-ladders or black-market laptops that make acres of French-fries, this is THE GUY to have around at the prolonged stake-out. Never one to stray too far from his beloved toolbox collection, this lenser has also has a strange affinity for Happy Meal toys. He’s pretty easy to spot too, just look for the guy with more things hanging off his waist than Batman at a utility belt outlet.
THE IDIOT SAVANT - Ah yes, the category I fall in. This lens-swinging citizen stumbled into TV News only after failing at every other pursuit in life. Totally bereft of any official training, the idiot savant succeeds at the craft only because he’s WATCHED a lot of television as a kid. Painfully clueless as to how the boat-anchor on his shoulder works, he operates on instinct alone, mysteriously making TV magic and beguiling his better-versed colleagues in the process. Don’t even bother asking him what kind of camera he uses, as he’ll only stare blindly before meekly offering “S-S-Sony?” Despite (or because of) his lack of technical comprehension, this shooter is the biggest hit at cocktail parties. But I could be a bit biased.
Next time: THE ON-AIR WANNABE!