Westboro Baptist Church Pickets Spokane (view this story)

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Rep: 87
Michael Fagans Dec. 1, 2010, 5:43 p.m. permalink


For a short daily your video moves along well. In one sense it makes me sad that TV doesn't take the time to cover stories like this and also that newspapers have cut back on their video.

As usual your VO helped stitch things together well and folks should watch this for camera handling craft, ie. hand-held and on sticks.

While I liked your focus on the community coming together, I really wonder what makes the Westboro folks tick. I am sure that was outside the scope of a daily.

There is a fine line to be walked in how much you showed of the Westboro folks signage and opinions and it might help folks if you discussed some of your thought process in this regard.

I am curious how the community reacted to your video?

Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Dec. 1, 2010, 8:04 p.m. permalink

Thanks Michael, 

This video, like most the the news videos I've done, got hit strong for about a week. I struggled with whether to add more narrative from some of the Westboro Church people I  interviewed. It was mostly just a bunch of hollow sound bites that reflected what their signs already illustrated. I instead focused on the community response. 

These people are a bunch of evil cartoon characters and I really believe they do this to make money from all the people and police departments they sue along the way. Stepping on the American flag gets people fired up , including the cops sometimes. If they arrest them for flag desecration, Westboro Church lawyers file freedom of speech lawsuits and at times, collect large sums of money.  I thought the Spokane police officer handled the counter protester well by diplomatically explaining why  he had to allow them to do it. 

I really like shooting news video. It is fast, visual, and fun (quick) to edit. I wish more FtF members would put their video up for critique. I know there is a ton of news video being shot by newspaper photojournalists who are struggling with how to put it all together in a short amount of time. 

Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Dec. 2, 2010, 10 a.m. permalink

I like the pacing. It really moved along, keeping me interested enough to watch the whole thing. My favorite moments were the interaction with the police officer and they transgendered lady at the cross walk. I though both of those moments seemed very genuine. 

The video left me  wanting to hear what one of the Westboro Church members sounded like. It think it's the  one missing piece. Hearing someone say something out loud carries a different weight than reading it on a sign. 

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi Dec. 5, 2010, 3:56 p.m. permalink

I liked how this was put together, but I wonder whether the first line of your voiceover "A message of hate came to Spokane" is objective enough. It certainly grabs my attention, but journalistically it seems to be too close to editorializing.

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans Dec. 7, 2010, 4:11 p.m. permalink

Peter - I debated that one in my head for awhile. This falls into the continuum of are there two legitimate sides to every debate or issue? Are there positions that are so extreme we as journalists need to describe them as such?

What is objective for this particular story? The police officer spells out the larger 1st amendment issue. If these folks were part of the community or lived near town, I think a different perspective might be needed, but this 'church' does this across the country.

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi Dec. 7, 2010, 5:54 p.m. permalink

Yeah, I don't have a problem with using the word "hate" per se, heck, it's right there on their signs. I just think we need to consider whether someone would come across as one-sided.

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