Monday, August 13, 2007

Blame The Rum Raisin

Lennox, CA

Have you ever noticed how some sentences make perfect sense until you get to the end? Where did you put the elephant? I would like a side order of carburetors. A man was picked up on a DUI this morning after crashing his ice cream truck.

The gentleman, whose name was withheld, was driving an ice cream truck he claims to have recently purchased, though it wasn't registered to him. He says he swerved to miss a cat and hit a parked car instead. Police found several empty beer cans in the truck.

The thing I love about this, which says a lot more about Los Angeles than it does about the crash, is this:

The ice cream truck suffered significant front-end damage, according to a camera crew at the scene...
A camera crew.

Los Angeles is loaded with video stringers. Some work for the networks, but most don't. These are guys who listen in on half a dozen different police bands and run to where the money shot is. If they're lucky, they can sell the footage to a network or two. If not, they've blown ten gallons of gas running from place to place. Exciting work. Like being in the middle of gunfire exciting. On an NPR story on L.A. stringers last year a guy who'd been covering South Central decided to give it up and go work for Halliburton in Iraq because it was safer. Paid more, too.

If it wasn't for these guys, I wouldn't have anything to write about. The networks don't have a full complement of news vans running around at 2am, so they depend on the stringers for their morning news. They put themselves in the middle of the shit to get the shot. Or sometimes to get shot. Last year in Compton stringers covered a shooting between Sheriff's deputies and a suspect where over 120 round were fired by the police. The stringers got the story, the suspect got away.

So when you hear about some drunk moron embarassing himself at 2am for bouncing his ice cream truck off a pickup, thank the unsung video stringer. If it wasn't for him putting his life in mortal danger, possibly getting in the way of the police, or tearing through crime scenes, you wouldn't get your morning's entertainment.


sandra seamans said...

John Sandford wrote a book called The Night Crew about video stringers. The book was pretty much panned but I loved it because it took me into a world I never knew existed. thanks for the reminder - I'll have to give it another read.

inkgrrl said...

One less ice cream truck on the road means more black market Rocket Pops and Wax Lips for me!

Psst - Ixnay on the umRay aisinRay!