On The Road

We are on the road and headed down to Vero Beach Today.

The FTVLive Intern will be taking over for the rest of Today and Tomorrow.

This is a first road trip for Rory,  FTVLive's VP of Cuteness. It will be the first time we will see how Rory handles staying in a hotel room. 

One thing is for sure, if you compare my suitcase for the trip compared to Rory's, it's no contest his is much more packed. I put his bowls and a few toys in his. I left the suitcase on the floor and open and Rory filled it up with more toys.

Try telling a dog that cute that he can't take all his toys with him..... go on....I dare you. 

Anyway, it will be good to get away for a couple of days. It has been tough on everyone that works in and around TV news.

The FTVLive intern will guide the ship for you and do stay safe.

Suspect Warned of "Negative Consequences" after Firing

When Vestor Flanagan AKA Bryce Williams was fired from WDBJ back in 2013, police had to be called to the station. 

Flanagan warned a manager that there would be "negative consequences" for his firing and vowed he would "make a stink and it's going to be in the headlines."

"Get your hands off me!" Flanagan told police who had been called to remove him from the station, tossing a cross at his supervisor and telling him, "You'll need this."

Described in court documents, the ugly scene now appears to have foreshadowed a tragedy aired live on television.

The ending to Flanagan's year as a reporter at the Roanoke, Va., station, is detailed in a lawsuit he filed last year accusing his former employer of racial discrimination.

The file, at more than 100 pages, details incidents at the station that suggest Flanagan, 41, was underperforming, angry and belligerent with colleagues and supervisors.

Flanagan, an African-American who had complained to managers of racism in the office, had more than a decade previously filed a failed racial discrimination lawsuit against a TV station in Tallahassee, Fla., that had also let him go.

Over the nine months leading up to his dismissal, WDBJ-TV managers documented Flanagan's repeated failings as a reporter and a series of minor but disturbing incidents of "unprofessional" behavior which made his colleagues feel "threatened," according to the suit.

Flanagan's boss Dan Dennison wrote in a May 2012 memo to Flanagan that, "On three separate occasions in the past month and a half you have behaved in a manner that has resulted in one of your co-workers feeling threatened or uncomfortable."

His behavior included berating a cameraman without good cause in front of the public and cutting short an interview, having "stormed off in anger," Dennison wrote.

In a later memo after another angry outburst, Dennison warned Flanagan that "under no circumstances should you engage in harsh language, demonstrate aggressive body language, or lash out at photographers in front of members of the public."

And by June 2012, Dennison had mandated that Flanagan get help or face dismissal, the suit said.

"We can no longer afford to have you engage in behaviors that constitute creation of a hostile work environment," the supervisor wrote.

But Flanagan continued to disappoint. He was faulted in a series of critical memos for wearing a sticker supporting President Barack Obama, for failing to properly investigate stories he was assigned to cover and for stiffly clutching papers in his hands even when reading from a teleprompter.

He seemed to nurse grudges against colleagues, snapping at an anchor over a trivial script dispute and venting at a producer after a technical glitch canceled one of his live shots, the file alleged.

By December 2012 he confided to bosses that "maybe it's time for me to go."

Still, he took his dismissal poorly, according to the file.

Three co-workers gave accounts of his anger as he was escorted from the building, after telling his bosses that they should call the police if they wanted him to leave.

He told one officer who led him out, "You know what they did? They had a watermelon back there for a week and basically called me a n-----," the records state.

When police arrived to escort him out of the building, Flanagan refused. The officers approached Flanagan and tried to remove the desk phone from his hand, repeatedly asking him to leave.

Flanagan then threw a hat and a small wooden cross at Dennison, reportedly saying: “You need this.”

H/T Chicago Tribune

WDBJ Staffers Worked Through the Tears

While the staff at WDBJ was shocked at the killing of their two co-workers while doing a live shot, the station still had newscasts to put on the air.

While the newscasts were more memorial than news, the station staffers still had a job to do. When you station becomes the news, it puts everyone that works their in a position for which they are not familiar. 

Their grief was evident during the newscasts that followed, but so was their restraint.

"This is a hard day for all of us here at WDBJ7. We are mourning Alison and Adam, but it is our job to find the facts," anchorwoman Melissa Ganoa said during the 5 p.m. EDT newscast, less than 12 hours after the shooting. 

The station quickly made the decision that they were not going to run the video of the shootings.

"We are choosing not to run the video of that (the shooting) right now because, frankly, we don't need to see it again. And our staff doesn't need to see it again," Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ's president and general manager, said on air soon afterward. "But we will do full reporting on it later. Our teams are working on it right now, through the tears."

WDBJ news director Kelly Zuber was asked in an interview whether the station planned to air the selfie video. In it, a hand holding a gun is seen behind Ward for several seconds and then squeezes off shots at Parker.

"At this point we don't," she said Wednesday evening. "We'll review that as we go. It's pretty raw right now in our newsroom. And we will continue to process the journalism, and if that piece of video is important to what we do, we'll include it. But for right now, no. No."

Last night's newscasts by WDBJ was done on adrenalin and emotion, the story was about them and their two colleagues. Soon it will be back to covering regular news and then it will be hard not to think back to the friends that were lost.

Station's around the country and reaching out. A station in Waterloo, Iowa sent a food basket, many station's sent flowers or cards.

As big as the TV business seems, it's really not. Everyone knows that it could have been a story that happened at their station and it could have been their co-workers that were killed.

They would be hard pressed to do a better job than the folks at WDBJ at still putting on the news. 

H/T The AP

WDBJ Anchor Talks about his Girlfriend Alison Parker

Chris Hurst is the main Anchor at WDBJ and his girlfriend Alison Parker was the morning Reporter.

Parker was gun down in the middle of her live shot along with Photographer Adam Ward by a former WDBJ employee. 

After the shooting, Hurst posted to social media that he and Parker were a couple, it was not something he shared publicly until yesterday.

Hurst spoke to WSLS about Alison and his relationship. 

News Crew Ordered to Delete Footage of Suspect's Crash Scene

BBC reporters Franz Strasser and Tara McKelvey were covering the story of the news crew shot and killed at  a Virginia mall. They were also covering the story of the manhunt for the killer Vestor Flanagan. 

The pair pulled up on the scene were Flanagan's car crashed after a short chase with police. 

After the chase, the Virginia State police this statement on their Facebook page: “The suspect vehicle refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. Minutes later, the suspect vehicle ran off the road and crashed. The troopers approached the vehicle and found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound."

Strasser and McKelvey, were reporting from the crash scene when they were told by police to delete their video footage.

On Wednesday night, Corinne Geller, the statewide public relations manager for the Virginia State Police, tweeted at Strasser.

Unfortunately, this is not a first for reporters in Virginia. Just last year WTVR-TV in Richmond reported on two incidents involving police officers and cellphones in Petersburg and Norfolk.

According to the ACLU of Virginia, their office has documented citizens who have been charged for filming police — usually as a violation of wiretapping laws.

H/T PRI.org

Should Twitter Delete Accounts While Investigation is Active?

Yesterday, while police were frantically searching for Vestor Flanagan AKA Bryce Williams, after he gunned down a news crew from WDBJ, the suspect was posting to social media.

Williams was using social media to rant against the station that fired him and try to explain his gutless act of gunning down the news crew.

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He went so far to post video that he took himself of him pulling the trigger and killing those people. The video was horrific. FTVLive saw the video seconds after Williams posted it. We knew it was not something we would post to the site.

When FTVLive first started following Williams on Twitter yesterday, he had less than 20 followers, it quickly grew to almost 2000 and then Twitter pulled the plug on the account.

You can't blame Twitter for suspending the account, but was it the correct call?

Having a suspect post to social media could be of great help to police. First, knowing that he is posting, gives police a chance to use technology to try and find the suspect. 

Second, say the suspect is captured alive, his Twitter feed could be used in helping prosecute him /her.

Does Twitter confer with police before they suspend an account?

We totally get why Twitter pulled the account, but in the end it might be better to leave it up while the investigation is still active.

MSNBC Pulls The Plug on Sharpton in Prime Time

MSNBC wised up and has decided to pull the plug on Rev. Al Sharpton’s show at 6PM.

Sharpton is being demoted down to a show on Sunday morning at 8AM, which is basically the Siberia of a TV schedule. 

One would think that Sharpton would have his political action league protesting the peacock for the demotion. But, somehow MSNBC got Sharpton to buy in the demotion.  

“I’m very happy,” he said Wednesday. “First, I can reach a wider audience of people who don’t get home by 6 at night. Second, I can now get the A-list guests and newsmakers I want. And third, a Sunday morning host is what I always wanted to be.

Wow.... Does the Rev really believe any of what he said? If he does, then NBC boss Andy Lack should be selling snow to Eskimos.  

“I never wanted to be a weeknight pundit. I wanted to be a Sunday morning newsmaker. I wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, not Larry King.”

Sorry to tell you this Al, but if Martin Luther King worked at MSNBC, he defiantly would have a show in prime time. 

Sharpton signs off from weeknight TV on September 4th. 

Rachel Maddow: Fox News Created the Donald Trump Monster

No one seems to be enjoying the Fox News vs. Donald Trump right more than MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

Maddow has been giddy to talk about the two sides going at it. She calls Fox News, "Republican Party Television" at the same time her own network is trying to stop being "Democratic Party Television".

But, Maddow just can't help herself from getting excited to bash both FNC and Trump at the same time: 

Fox O&O Names New GM

Fox has named Kieran Clarke as the station's new General Manager of its two stations in Charlotte, WJZY and WMYT.

Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, made the announcement to staff Wednesday morning. Clarke begins next month, succeeding Karen Adams, who left this summer for another corporate assignment.

Clarke was executive vice president for Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corp., which operates 16 television stations across the nation, including the Fox affiliate in Greenville, S.C. 

Before that, Clarke was GM of the Fox affiliate in Portland, Oregon. 

“Leading WJZY and WMYT is a tremendous opportunity, especially given the stations’ valuable franchises such as the Panthers, NASCAR and the FOX prime time lineup,” Clarke said in a statement. “I am also eager to grow and strengthen FOX46’s local news product and call Charlotte, a place where we already have family, home.”

H/T Charlotte Observer