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The Pat-down: A Reporter's Revenge

Pat Tomasulo

Television live shots are pretty standard. There's a reporter, usually standing in front of a courthouse, or on a highway overpass, or in a snowbank, or in front of a ballpark. The word "LIVE" appears in the top left corner of the screen. And in the other corner of the screen, usually over the reporter's shoulder, is the other staple of every good live shot.

A moron trying to get on TV.

Now, the moron could be doing a variety of things- staring, waving, grabbing his or her junk. It really makes no difference- they look equally dopey regardless. Some will even demand you include them in your broadcast. "Put me on TV!!!" My response to them is always the same:

Do something newsworthy.

Of course, saying that to the wrong person might bring even more trouble. But I haven't been shanked yet, so I'll continue on. 

I say, if they want to be on TV so badly, let's put them on TV.


I'm not complaining. It doesn't bother me, and anyone who gets into TV news should expect and accept it. But I still find it very fascinating. Imagine if a hazard of other jobs was a drunk Cubs fan jumping up-and-down behind you. How would Dr. Smith like it if, while examining a chest X-ray, some guy got behind him and started dry- humping the air? Or what if Officer Johnson was writing a speeding ticket, and behind him was a guy signaling what he did with his lady friend last night?

I would never do anything quite so risque. But I'm always willing to harass people in the name of a good social experiment.


Now enjoy some of my favorite reporter-idiot exchanges of all time.  And then watch more of "The Pat-down."


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