Blame and Grace

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I'm just finishing up my first 3 months as a news photographer, though it feels a lot longer. I'm enjoying the main functions of the job- shooting and editing. What gets me is that every day I get blamed for something out of my control. Today I tried to do everything in my power to watch my back and still i get yelled at because my pager is not working properly (it had batteries.) Basically I feel that no matter what the technical difficulty, it is the photographer that gets burned. One of the tape-ops decks are too hot and I have to explain and prove to the anchor that I did white balance and that, "It was not my fault." My question is these little battles come up everyday, and everyday I work my ass off climbing bleachers to get the best shot. Are these battles worth fighting for, or should I just let my video speak for itself? Do you vets have to deal with what I'm talking about? What's the key to achieving grace in these situations that so far just piss me off. If I sound green and naive its cause I probably am and would greatly appreciate any advice to change the situation.


Well-known member
It's the "curse of the new guy." I went through it, and all the newer photogs went through it. Yep it'll seem like every day you go through something, but keep your head up. Work hard and try to keep your attitude up! You get out of it what you put into it.


Well-known member
welcome to tv news. sh4t rolls down hill! it'll get better as you gain experience and others in the newsroom gain confidence in your ability. but when the sh4t hits the fan, it is always the fault of the last guy to touch the tape -- that is always the photog.

good luck.

<same boat>

I'm pushing 10 years in the biz now, and I still get some of that... My station's philosophy is "if it's fouled up, it MUST be a photog's fault!" ,, or atlest as far as managemet is concerd anyway...
with anchors that know that I know my stuff will generaly take my word for it.....


I once overheard our GM mutter something about it being the photog's fault when an alternator died on one of our vehicles.



Well-known member
Ah, happy days. I fondly remember getting hopelessly lost when the reporter misread the direction on the map, not that it mattered as the producer had given the wrong address. I turned the car around and as we drove in silence for two hours back the way we came, I could feel the finger of blame somehow pointing my way. It couldn’t be their fault.
Actually, I’m afraid that as a newbie you will make mistakes. The trick is owning up to them honestly, learning from them and moving on. Don’t accept blame if it truly wasn’t your fault but nothing is more annoying than listening to the new kid wine about being picked on instead of asking for help to make sure it wont happen again.


Great comment cameragod. in other words, "it's better to ask a stupid question than to make a stupid mistake" (as my former chief used to say).


It's not always the photog that takes the blame for other's mistakes. It seems that a lot of people in the biz refuse to take responsibility for their own actions (stupidity, carelessness, etc.)

Case in point... While working in a small market station, a reporter's package turned up missing from the box that the editors kept the ready to air show tapes in. I start getting phone calls from the producer & reporter asking where the tape is. The assistant news director comes back to the edit bays and "helps us look" for the tape while the producer is screamin on the phone in my ear. After alot of searching the tape was nowhere to be found. It turns out that the reporter wanted to check some content in the PKG and ended up taking it with him to the live shot!

Somehow that was our (the editor's) fault. There was no apology given by anyone. Some people just have trouble accepting responsibility for their own actions or find it easier to shift the blame onto someone else.

Thanks for listening to me vent, I feel better now.

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