Friday, July 27, 2007

Fallen Friends

A pall fell over the nation's TV newsrooms this afternoon as satellite feeds began blaring deeply sobering images. Even with aerial footage and live narration, the pictures - and the feelings they brought with them - were hard to process. Two news choppers, their crews consumed with televising a low-speed chase, collided over Phoenix and plummeted downward until all that was left was smoking rubble. Lost were KNXV's pilot Craig Smith and photographer Rick Krolak. Not far away the remains of KTVK's chopper lay smoldering, its pilot Scott Bowerbank and photographer Jim Cox killed on impact.

I knew neither man, but I'm sure someone I've worked with before did. TV News, after all, is a small business - filled with hard-charging people who mercilessly compete with each other all day and frequently party together at night. It's this occupational camaraderie that I love - the chance to hang out with engaging people and compare war stories. Thus, my heart is heavy tonight - not just for the pain the victims' families must now endure, but for the entire Phoenix TV community. In the coming days, investigations will be launched, motivations will be second-guessed and fingers will be pointed. I hope within the din of this inevitable backlash, we will not lose sight of the simple facts: Four fellow broadcasters are no more, taken from their loved ones while shadowing a most trivial pursuit. Sadly, we cannot expect this tragedy to lessen the public's appetite or our industry's affinity for these salacious chases: we can only remember our fallen friends and hope their deaths will not be in vain. Nor can we fathom the unfairness of it all, for in reality accidents do happen and tidy epilogues go unwritten. My condolences to all who feel this loss...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As usual...well said.