Local news directors react to Roanoke shooting

At an Atlanta Press Club luncheon today, executives at all four local stations echoed the same theme after the tragic Roanoke shooting of two news employees on live TV this morning: sadness with a reminder of standard vigilance while on location.

“This one hit close to home,” said Jennifer Rigby, news director at NBC affiliate 11 Alive (WXIA-TV). “I do hold a little concern about a copycat. This person was determined to get attention. He posted video. He tweeted on his own Twitter account… We have to be vigilant.”

Larry Perret, news director at CBS46, said he sent a note out to staff telling camera crews to leave a scene if they don’t feel comfortable. “We just want to emphasize to be on guard,” he said.

Mike Dreaden, news director at Channel 2 Action News as part of the ABC affiliate (WSB-TV), said staff discussed the situation at the early morning meeting. “We’ve had cases where crews have been held up and equipment stolen,” he said. “We are already conscious of security issues. We are out here and visible and easy to identify. This reminds you how careful you have to be.”

Rachel Tobin, a former Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter and former Atlanta Press Club president who now works at Jackson Spalding, asked for a moment of silence for the deaths of  WDBJ7 photographer Adam Ward and WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker around 6:45 a.m. during a live broadcast in Roanoke.

I’ll add more from the luncheon a bit later. I just wanted to get this up pronto.

The Press Club has held similar events in 2009 and 2013. (Here was my recap of the 2013 event.)

Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group.

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