Solano NewsNet video equipment damaged by Vallejo firefighter
(Photo courtesy Geoffrey King for OpenVallejo.org)
A note from publisher Matthew Keys:
Solano NewsNet prides itself on being Solano County’s breaking news leader. Tonight, while covering a breaking news story in Vallejo, broadcast equipment used by Solano NewsNet was damaged by a firefighter.
The incident happened on a public easement, when there were no active flames, and while I was standing near another member of the news media. At all times, I was wearing equipment that would have made it clear I was a member of the news media, including an orange safety vest, a handheld radio and a lanyard that bears the Solano NewsNet logo and the words “news media.”
While filming, a Vallejo firefighter yelled for us to “get out of there,” then two seconds later sprayed our equipment with water. The incident was captured by a colleague who was also on the scene. Our camera began malfunctioning, and was damaged to the point where we were forced to leave.
The damage to our camera has caused us to lose our ability to provide live video from the scene of an incident. We will continue to cover events with still photography and limited on-demand video through alternate means until we can determine if our broadcast equipment is repairable.
We understand a firefighter’s first obligation is to public safety, not to the news media. Still, California law enshrines the news media’s right to access the scene of an emergency, even when it is closed to the public. I have reached out to the Vallejo Fire Department to discuss the matter further and will provide our readers an update accordingly.
(Update: Shortly after this was published, Vallejo Fire Department Chief Kyle Long told Solano NewsNet the agency is investigating the matter.)
Publisher, Solano NewsNet
A Solano Media, LLC Company