Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seems We Struck A Nerve

...with our posting of yesterday morning around 8 AM.

Below, I'll reprint my response from the comments section of that item. But first, a recap:

Around 6:30 PM, Your Tri-State Media Watcher was alerted to the fact that a home had exploded in the 7200 block of US Route 25 in the historic downtown section of Florence. The location winds up being next to both a doctor's office complex near the intersection of US Routes 25 and 42 and Main Street and a Catholic church, Saint Paul's Church immediately to the south. I didn't hear about it til 6:37 PM - but apparently it was shown on the 6 PM news.

I didn't happen to catch it, even as I flipped the dial on a Sunday night. It was, again, that twitter message that got my attention.

I didn't leave home until 7:30 PM, opting to try and stay out of the way of crews by staying on the other side of the road. But yes, I was at the local Taco Bell (which FYI is within 1/2 mile of the scene). And yours truly never saw a news crew - it's hard to miss a big vehicle with a station logo on it, and I never saw one. (The above revelation isn't exactly irrelevant, but it's not really important either - again, we didn't depart until 7:30 from the TSMW HQ.)

Now, the comment and my response (the first comment is the anonymous poster, the rest is my reply):

Channel 9 had a story and photo posted within 30 minutes, along with video from 6 within an hour... what else do you need?

Besides, sources say you were at Taco Bell at the same time as a news crew.

July 28, 2009 4:56 AM

J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...
Anonymous 4:56 AM: One, yes I hit a taco bell establishment in town. But I didn't go there, nor was I near the scene, until AFTER 7 PM (and in fact, my recollection is that I looked at my cell phone clock which showed it being almost 8:30 before yours truly headed home). I did see the scene itself, for myself because I almost couldn't believe it had happened. (By the way, reports that it shook houses up to 2 miles away are true. I felt something here.) I only saw stories that had been published around 6:30 PM - which may have been updates to previous stories, but ALL those stories were "breaking news" on the websites even at 15 minutes before 7 PM, 3 hours post-event. Never once did I see anything via twitter from any station until the above tweet came in (around 6:37 PM), or any kind of breaking news alert anywhere else on TV. Correct me if I am wrong - but, shouldn't local stations run SOME kind of alert, whether going across the bottom of the screen, OR do a cut-in as soon as they know of the event? I didn't see either.

This leads us to another point: The explosion happened in the historic DOWNTOWN AREA of Florence, near Main Street's intersection with US 25 and US 42. Those US highways are all heavily traveled thoroughfares. 25 was closed well into the evening, or at least one lane was northbound. Shouldn't viewers know about that? Betcha if this had happened Monday afternoon instead of Sunday - every news operation would have had boots on the ground, reporting live by 4 PM. THAT is the point I'm trying to get to. Not that they DIDN'T cover it. They did. I didn't happen to see coverage until after 6 PM news had ended, either online or elsewhere.

By the way, 5 and 19 both had video from the auto spa across the street from the scene today on their websites before 4 PM, so I'll give them points for that nice grab. (I suspect 9 and 12 have it, too.)

Oh and one more thing, if you find the above referenced video - note how close the red car comes to being IN FRONT OF the house when it explodes! It passes by, and about 10 seconds later, the explosion, debris goes everywhere (there was broken glass all the way across US 25 [and that's, again, a heavily traveled roadway with 3 lanes]). Further, natural gas is highly explosive. IF someone had been on scene and lit up a cigarette, anybody within a half mile of the place would have been blown to smithereens. Sunday or not, is that not dangerous enough to be on air saying hey, stay away from this area until otherwise notified?

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