Breaking the Code

The news cameraman and their stills photographer counterpart form a very small and exclusive club. Being at what is often the front line of a war without actually taking part is not an easy thing. It creates a bond between these newsmen who are comrades while waiting for something to happen and competitors when the action starts.

Recently a Channel 9 Melbourne cameraman insulted the father of a man charged with several crimes, including rioting, after being verbally abused by the father outside a court. It’s happened before. Many times. I’ve witnessed it. When you see footage showing angry mourners or defendants or their families attacking news crews typically you don’t see or hear anything from the cameramen or photographers. There’s two reasons for this:

  1. 99 times out of a hundred nothing is said by the newsmen,
  2. That one time something is said the ‘code’ is such that no other news putlet would report the incident.

But with this story the ABC in Victoria have removed themselves from the club by breaking the code. The SMH and all Fairfax papers are also out now. In fact, not only out, but ripe for retribution from the Nine Network.

But here’s the interesting thing about this story; if the son is found guilty, the cameraman will not have been insulting the father but stating fact.