Thursday Coverage Notes and BP

Port Fourchon, LA — Another long day has come to a close. I’m washing some clothes and packing up tonight. I’ll head back home tomorrow night after we wrap up the 6 p.m. broadcast from Grand Isle.

I have a lot of great pictures to post, but my iPhone has been internet-less the majority of our time here. So the pics are stuck on there for now. Talk about frustrating. The only time I can get online with it is at our broadcast site, the Bridge Side Marina. Otherwise I’ve only been able to use Twitter and Facebook when I fire up my work laptop with aircard back here at the camp. The horror!

The crew here found out some exciting news today – the entire 4 p.m. news will originate from Grand Isle tomorrow. We have a lot of material to get into the newscast, so I’m happy we’ll have the extra time.

Today we visited Grand Isle beach to check on things there and one thing stuck out. Too many chefs in the kitchen. Just yesterday, BP CEO Doug Suttles said cleanup workers were free to talk to the media. He basically said all the instances of reporters being hassled was a misunderstanding. Today I asked the private security guard at the beach if I could talk to the workers. He said no and those were his orders, given to him by his boss. I didn’t push the issue because I figured at this point the workers wouldn’t talk anyway. He did say we could walk as far as the boom, which is all along Grand Isle beach. If you step over it, on the side closest to the water, you can’t step back over until your shoes have been decontaminated. We weren’t interested in crossing the boom, but we wanted to walk up to it and shoot video of the workers on the other side and explain what was happening on the beach. That was fine, according to security guy #1. But as we walked toward the boom, security guy #2 sprinted over to us like we just jumped the fence to the White House lawn. He said we couldn’t come within 100 yards of the cleanup workers. Huh? I pressed him on the issue and he said those were his orders. Finally, the supervisor for security guys #1 and #2 showed up and told us we could walk up near the boom. Really? Thanks. Legally, these guys have no jurisdiction over the beach.

The disconnect between BP and the people they’ve hired to work for them is unbelievable and, in my view, unacceptable. These people need to find a way to get on the same page and stop trying to intimidate the media with idle warnings from people who have no power to do anything anyway.

I’ll show you that video from the beach, plus a marina here taking a “shot” at BP and the personal stories of some fishermen affected by the oil disaster. That and much more tomorrow on WDSU News at 4, 5 and 6.

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Comments

  1. Our photographer has been jacked left, right and sideways by private contractors who think they own public land (sometimes backed up by government officials who seem to be working for private companies). Sad. It may take a few journos being arrested to bring enough attention to this. Reporting on it hasn’t changed anything.

  2. Similar to what happened to me in Pensacola on Thursday. I called the Marina to confirm their closure time, and they told me they had no idea what I was talking about and I must be sorely mistaken as to their closure. I told the person I spoke to Escambia County officials and that they had made the decision to shut them down immediately. The Marina employee told me: “news to my ears”. Nobody knows their right from their left around here!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] a perfect example. No one knows what the hell is going on. I previously wrote about my experiences here and now have video to back it up a day later. Click for Video: Grand Isle Beach Confrontation [...]

  2. [...] has more on his personal blog: We weren’t interested in crossing the boom, but we wanted to walk up to it and shoot video of [...]

  3. [...] referenced yesterday — of WDSU-TV’s Scott Walker being hindered by a private contractor from accessing a public beach — seems to have gone viral and is on a good number of websites today. Hope it gets half the [...]

  4. [...] Now following WDSU reporter Scott Walker’s blog. He verifies (with video proof) that media presence is deterred at clean-up sites by “security” despite orders to the contrary from above: Today we visited Grand Isle beach to check on things [...]

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