Friends remember WDBJ’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Documents Show Vester Lee Flanagan’s Turbulent Tenure at TV Station Before Virginia Shooting.

The 41-year-old suspected shooter, identified as Vester Lee Flanagan II, was believed to be a disgruntled former employee of the TV station, say police. The news became personal for the CBS affiliate in Virginia when reporter Parker and cameraman Ward were fatally shot during a live broadcast Wednesday, forcing co-workers to balance the stunning tragedy with professionalism. “This is a hard day for all of us here at WDBJ7.The gunman who shot dead a female reporter and a cameraman on live television appears to have carefully planned the attack to maximise mass media coverage. After the shooting Flanagan sent out a series of tweets alleging that Alison had been racist towards him in the past and that Adam had previously complained about him to HR.

But in court papers and interviews with The Daily Beast, former colleagues describe Flanagan as a problematic employee, who was repeatedly reprimanded for his harsh treatment of coworkers, and complained racism was behind harsh evaluations of his work. “He just had a history of playing the race card,” former WTWC anchor Dave Leval told The Daily Beast. “I know he did that in Tallahassee a couple of times….” The day Flanagan was fired from a Virginia TV station in 2013, his bosses called 911 because of his volatile behavior—an incident captured on camera by Adam Ward, a man who would later become one of his victims. Mr Marks described him as ‘an unhappy man’ and ‘difficult to work with’, always ‘looking out for people to say things he could take offence to’. Flanagan’s arrival at WDBJ, a television station in Roanoke, Va., station executives and rank-and-file employees were deeply concerned about his conduct.

What unfolded was familiar to any TV viewer: A recounting of the crime; news conferences with updates from authorities, and reaction from those who knew the victims. As he raised the firearm at the oblivious news crew, Flanagan appeared to pause until Ward’s camera returned to the interview to ensure the murders would be broadcast live on-air. They say Williams filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC) against Ms Parker, and that Mr Ward had reported Williams to human resources. Ms Parker screamed and ran away as around 15 shots rang out, as the news camera operated by Ward fell to the ground and fleetingly captured an image of an armed Flanagan. Mr Marks said Williams alleged that other employees made racially tinged comments to him, but said his EEOC claim was dismissed and none of his allegations could be corroborated.

The station in Virginia’s Roanoke-Lynchburg media market, however, left it other outlets to dwell on the footage from WDBJ’s unwitting broadcast of the shooting and, in a bleakly modern twist, apparent “selfie” video posted online by the alleged gunman. I’m going to make a stink and it’s going to be in the headlines.” “He repeated … his feeling that firing him would lead to negative consequences for me personally and for the station,” Dennison said, according to a statement in a racial discrimination lawsuit Flanagan filed in 2014, which was dismissed. It has since been revealed that Flanagan, 41, was a former reporter for WDBJ7 and used the screen name Bryce Williams before he was fired two years ago. Shortly after 7 a.m., Flanagan approached Ward and reporter Alison Parker from behind at a local park while they were interviewing Vicki Gardner of the local chamber of commerce.

You may have realized the story had taken another terrible turn by the cries of co-workers saying, “Oh, my God.” The grief, too, went viral, as WDBJ7 co-workers and loved ones took to Twitter to mourn the murdered journalists, Alison Parker and Adam Ward. The station received calls for interview requests from media outlets in Russia and Australia, among others. “We are choosing not to run the video of that (the shooting) right now because, frankly, we don’t need to see it again. WDBJ7 has confirmed both Parker and Ward died in the shooting, while it is understood Gardner, the woman being interviewed by Parker, was shot in the back and has undergone surgery.

Our teams are working on it right now, through the tears.” In sometimes shaky voices, Marks, reporters and anchors shared tender memories of Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, as kind friends and dedicated colleagues. Then Marks, his hair disheveled but his emotions in check, put a stop to it, at least in those early, freshly painful moments. “We should probably go back to regular programming now, rather than prolonging this. Flanagan in a memorandum, “resulted in one or more of your co-workers feeling threatened or uncomfortable,” the documents showed. “We want you to work on the tone of your interpersonal relationships and exercise great care in dealing with stressful situations or disagreements and your response to them,” the executive, Dan Dennison, wrote. “You need to always work as a member of a collaborative team and allow your teammates to do their jobs and not assume that you alone are concerned with high quality standards.” At the time, Mr. In an age when video of crashes, shootings, fires and other tragedies is readily available and endlessly replayed, it was a decision — albeit it one influenced by personal loss — that other outlets often fail to make and for which they are roundly criticized. He was transported to a hospital, where he later died. “Vester was an unhappy man,” Marks said, adding, “when he was hired here, he quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with.

In it, a hand holding a gun is seen behind Ward for several seconds and then squeezes off shots at Parker. “At this point we don’t,” she said Wednesday evening. “We’ll review that as we go. Don Shafer, Flanagan’s former boss at WTWC in Tallahassee, called Flanagan a “pretty good reporter” but said “things started getting a little strange with him.” “We ended up having to terminate his contract and let him go for bizarre behavior and fighting with other employees,” Shafer said on San Diego 6, where he now serves as news director. A horrible reporter, but really nice.” Sextro, who was called to a deposition in the Florida discrimination suit, said the budding journalist was treated well at the station and that colleagues tried to help him with his writing. No.” Lee Wolverton, managing editor of The Roanoke Times, expressed the newspaper’s sympathy for the victims and its intention to provide complete coverage. Sometimes it’s something funny, or inappropriate — say, an Auschwitz selfie — but it can also be, as we saw Wednesday, a gruesome act. “In the old days, you imagine Bonnie and Clyde getting excited when they made the papers.

Flanagan claimed he purchased his gun two days after nine black parishioners were killed in Charleston in June—and that was fighting back in the race war Dylann Roof supposedly wanted to start. “The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily,” Flanagan wrote. “I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!” Flanagan also claimed he was attacked for being a gay black man, and that he suffered bullying, sexual harassment and racial discrimination at work, ABC News reported. “I am hereby requesting a trial which will be heard by a jury of my peers,” he wrote in a letter to the judge. “I would like my jury to be comprised of African-American women.” He also claimed head photographer Lynn Eller was the mastermind of a “carefully orchestrated effort by the photography staff to oust me,” court documents show. “Why did one of the photographers go to HR on me after working with me ONLY ONCE,” Flanagan wrote, in an apparent reference to victim Adam Ward. “There was nothing to report! It’s depressing,” said Keith Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and the co-author of “The Narcissism Epidemic.” “This is not a mass shooting, per se, by a technical definition, but it is clearly an attention-seeking crime,” said his co-author, Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “The technology’s made it easier, but there’s this underlying psychology of attention-seeking, narcissism, seeking fame.” The two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 fantasized that they’d be the subject of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Flanagan to contact the company’s employee assistance program. “We will continue assisting you with your professional growth and development,” Mr.

The 2014 Santa Barbara shooter uploaded a video to YouTube describing the mayhem he planned to unleash, and he distributed by mail a manifesto detailing his hatred of women and minorities. The Roanoke shooter began a Twitter account on Aug. 17, apparently knowing that soon his life would undergo scrutiny and hoping to craft a kind of memorial to himself. Dennison wrote a memorandum that detailed what he described as “recent examples of lack of thorough reporting, poor on-air performance or time management issues.” As the winter wore on, station officials decided to fire Mr.

But there’s no evidence that we’re becoming violent, and in fact the opposite seems to be true: Violent crime is down over the past two tech-crazed decades, notwithstanding the recent spike in urban homicides. The news media are obviously implicated in the rash of spectacular violence — granting prominent coverage to people who, without resorting to terrible crimes, would have had little chance of ever becoming famous. Gone are the days when a news organization could function as a gatekeeper and its editors could hold a meeting to decide whether to publish something disturbing.

When a Pennsylvania official, Budd Dwyer, shot and killed himself at a news conference in 1987, the gatekeepers could decide how they wanted to handle the footage and photography. It’s still there, circulating, like a pathogen that can’t ever be eradicated. “It’s like showing those beheadings,” said Andy Parker, the father of the slain reporter. “I am not going to watch it.

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