National media brings attention, distraction to fire
June 26, 2007
Just hours after the first reports of the Angora fire broke, national media outlets began converging on South Lake Tahoe.
Crews from more than 50 media outlets are in Lake Tahoe and have attended press briefings, according to Chuck Dickson, lead information officer for Federal Incident Management Team One. While an exact number isn’t available, regional media from Reno, Sacramento and the Bay area have been joined by national print and broadcast journalists.
Dickson said the list includes CBS News from New York, ABC News from Atlanta, CNN, the Sacramento Bee, Fox News West Coast, NBC News from Burbank, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times.
“Having the national media here doesn’t change what we do or how we report about the fire. The only thing that changes is the amount of staff we need,” he said. “Right now, we are still understaffed.”
Kara Finnstrom, a reporter from the West Coast Bureau of CNN, said she had only seen Tahoe briefly before coming here for the fire.
“It’s a beautiful area, and it’s sad to hear the stories of these people,” Finnstrom said.
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While the additional scrutiny doesn’t bother management officials, it does have an impact on the firefighters working to contain the blaze.
“We’ve had the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle come and talk to us,” said Capt. Mike Pott, with the El Dorado County Fire Protection District. “It isn’t a real big problem. Other than some of the firefighters are photo shy and don’t want to talk.
“It does distract us because we feel the need to look out for (their) safety and that draws our attention away from fighting the fire,” Pott said.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.