Following Friday’s collision and crash of two television news helicopters in Phoenix, killing all four people aboard, Grumpy Editor notes major chat in TV newsrooms this week is focusing on use of airborne units in providing live video of ground police pursuits.
Sometimes helicopter problems don’t even involve such chases. Yesterday, two traffic reporters for Dallas stations and a pilot suffered minor injuries after their helicopter lost power and crash landed near a lake in southwest Dallas.
Several TV helicopters plus a police airborne unit were following the Phoenix chase. Some feel televising car chases (most all TV viewers recall the slow-speed O.J. Simpson freeway pursuit in 1994) is a waste of time, money and talent, that they are simply ratings grabbers, trigger noise and pollute the air.
Others argue that the air missions are fast ways to get to the scene of news events, such as fires, shootings and disasters, especially in remote areas or when roads are clogged, as during rush hours, and the local news deadline is approaching.
Already, suggestions being kicked around include an added person in the chopper to observe surroundings and pooling of a single airborne news unit to serve all stations in a region.