All the threats and violence I've seen in recent weeks against people working in news media is seriously bothering me. I can't tell you how much spitting on me is going to ruin my day.
People are jumping to the assumption that anyone with a camera (video or still) is a tabloid paparazzi vulture. It pretty often feels like we're being stereotyped and that creates a very hostile atmosphere. Suddenly we have fewer rights than "regular" people.
(Day after one of the Staple Center Riots)
On the other hand I've been there when my fellow news photographers and I are tripping all over ourselves as we backpedal in front of a famous (or infamous) newsmaker. I'll admit at those times it feels like our reputation isn't completely undeserved. It's just unfortunate that out of all the good we do, images from those moments are the ones that people remember.
Having been in that type of scene, I admit it's difficult to not get caught up in the adrenaline rush of getting the shot that makes the story better visually or getting that quick and unscripted off the cuff remark.
I think people still need to understand that the majority of the time, that's not how we operate. The presence of a camera doesn't immediately set off a feeding frenzy.
(On the street in front of Robert Blake's House)
I can't quote the laws that directly relate to my right to videotape someone. If you're out in public view, the assumption is that your expectation to privacy is different than if you were sitting in your livingroom.
(Round the clock in front of David Westerfield's home)
That doesn't excuse bad behavior from us or the public.
I tend to be courteous about what I do and I'll avoid shooting someone who is trying to avoid being in my shot. I feel bad when I see people realize that they're walking in front of a rolling camera and they start doing the ducking zig-zag dance. People, just so you know, you're never out of frame. It's just making you look goofy.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I tend to avoid shooting people who aren't part of the story I'm covering. If you happen to be standing next to Michael Jackson, Robert Blake, or Donald Trump. . .come on, let's just be realistic.
(Outside of the home of Danielle Van Dam)
If you see me with my camera covering the news, try not to push me, jump on me, or throw bottles at me. I'm not breaking the law to do my job and you shouldn't break the law to try and stop me from doing my job.
At some point you'll be held accountable for your actions, just as I'm held accountable for mine.