A brouhaha has erupted on the Canadian Association of Journalists e-mail list over the behaviour of TV crews at the funeral of Pierre Trudeau last week.
A large TV screen and speakers were set up at the west corner of the Notre Dame Basilica square, allowing the many mourners outside a view of the proceedings. But hundreds on the east side of the square had their view of the large-screen display almost entirely obstructed for three hours by a cameraman from Radio-Canada (CBC's French-language arm) atop a cherry picker 20 feet above the ground, writes Barry Rueger of Ottawa. "Once the mass started, there was no reason for (the cameraman) to be there," Rueger tells NOW. As the casket was carried out, spectators were treated to the sight of the cameraman fumbling for a smoke.
Rueger's complaint triggered other list members' stories of over-anxious camera crews. Others rose in defence. Christopher Waddell, Ottawa bureau chief for CBC-TV News, acknowledged the problem and his regret at not being able to fix it.
Reached by NOW, Waddell notes the security challenges posed by the Trudeau funeral, attended by Fidel Castro and ex-U.S. president Jimmy Carter.
"It wasn't our intention to block the screen, and we were aware of the problem, but there were difficulties in trying to move the cherry picker."
Meetings are underway with authorities to avoid future such occurrences.