Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Shutters and President Obama

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President Obama has just finished speaking about our nation’s most recent mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon.  As of this writing, the Associated Press is reporting 13 people have been killed by an as of yet unidentified shooter at Umpqua Community College in Douglas County.  It was by far Mr. Obama’s most passionate, most animated and most comprehensive speech about gun laws, gun rights and gun violence in the United States.

Amelia Templeton of Oregon Public Broadcasting said he sounded “weary” to be making what the President himself reluctanly called another “routine” speech about another school shooting.

What I noticed was the frequency of camera shutter clicks as he spoke.  At the start of the press conference, the throng of photographers were clicking furiously.  It sounded like there were at least a dozen or more photographers in the room.  But as he spoke and the intensity in his voice rose, the clicking diminished, until by the very end of the speech, there were hardly any clicks at all.

Photographers are trained to pick up fine changes in facial expressions to capture the emotion in their pictures.  Perhaps all of the angles they were looking for were found in the first few minutes of the conference.  But I wonder if they were caught off guard by the fury in Mr. Obama’s voice and for a few minutes, forgot to press their shutters.  It’s possible.  I know I stopped and turned toward the radio, surprised by the frustration in his voice.  News people can be temporarily suspended like everybody else.

May God bless the victims and their families in the wake of this needless tragedy.

UPDATE: As of 5 p.m. PST, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin has confirmed 10 causalities and three critically wounded.

Written by Interviewer

October 2, 2015 at 05:50

Posted in Scratchpad

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