Wednesday, 22 August 2012

No Smoke Without Fire... Are You My Next Story..?

I have only been back on the news trail for a few weeks now and already the wheel of local news is turning at much the same rate as it always has, including what i like to call the 'wheel of same old stories'. Work as a TV Cameraman long enough and you will see a pattern emerge. Different people, different places, but the same story.

Fire scene No 3.

 One of the hardy perennials of the news industry is the unfortunate case of people who perish in house fires. Sad stories one and all. So why do i find myself filming the same stories..? I guess it's because no matter how many times we broadcast such tragedies to the general population, many of them still don't get the message that the vast majority of the deaths that i report on could easily be avoided by having a smoke alarm installed.

I filmed three such cases yesterday which occurred over the past year or so, resulting in the local Coroner bouncing up and down screaming that something should be done. And it should. I bet though that the vast majority who saw my report will not act upon the advice given.

I felt so annoyed that yet again, i had to spend a working day looking for relatives of the dead, friends and family who wanted to talk about the sad demise of someone they knew and loved. We, as journalists don't relish this task, we would rather the grieving be left alone to grieve. However, if i am destined to cover more stories of people who died for the want of a smoke alarm then i will. It's my job to try and educate and inform people as to the dangers of not having a smoke alarm or not maintaining it so that one day, it won't be your house i visit with my camera to film your sad, but oh so preventable death...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.