I'm not actually back yet, but I can't resist sharing. It struck me that this illustrates in microcosm both the advantages and the problems of crowd-sourced media. True, someone is there when this weird and unusual mini-event happens...
But then he or she doesn't follow up. If Mike Plews* had been taking that, you can bet he would have wiped off the lens, showed the aftermath, and...well, reported. Were people laughing, and unhurt? Hurt, and crying out? Did the train stop and board passengers, or pass through? Snow can stop trains—did it stop this one?
Reporting wouldn't leave you asking basic questions.
It also shows one of the downsides of keeping your nose buried in your phone. The woman in the foreground is apparently unaware of the world around her until the last seconds. Or maybe it just happened too fast.
Hope no one was hurt.
And, well, that thought I had...trained reporters still needed**. It frustrates me to not know things I want to know about pictures and now, videos.
[UPDATE: Turns out this is being very widely reported/"shared," so it's possible to piece together some provisional information about it. It happened Wednesday, March 15th, at the Amtrak Station at Rhinecliff, New York, 85 miles north of New York City along the Hudson River. The train was Amtrak Empire Service Train 236, the first train of the morning, scheduled to arrive at 9:07 a.m. The video above was shot by Craig Oleszewski. Amtrak has stated generally that using trains to clear snow off tracks is routine, and on Thursday issued a statement about this specific incident saying "Our investigation has determined the train was traveling at the authorized speed when making the station stop and all rules were followed by the engineer." KARE-TV reported that several people were thrown to the ground but there were only minor injuries, including one minor head injury.
A commenter on cs.trains.com noted that "The station guy was probably so proud of the excellent job he did of clearing off the platform, too." A second answered, "Yep—probably just pushed it off the platform and onto the tracks. I've done that on our platform, but not with that much snow." A third added, "Doesn't look like first train after the storm—it looks like first train after a snowblower blew all the platform snow onto the tracks!...Away from the station the plow [on the locomotive] wasn't pushing snow."
At least three people made videos of the event, and the maker of one of the videos was quoted saying that people boarding the train looked "like little frosty ice-men."
So there's a little more of the story. —Mike the Ed.]
While I'm at it, maybe you need to see the world's most awesome indoor RC airplane flight. The model is just under 16 feet wide, balanced to be nearly weightless by filling the fuselage with the right amount of helium. The company that made it is called AirStage. Flown indoors at Modell Süd Stuttgart (the Stuttgart Model Fair) 2016. The YouTube Commentariat thinks it's a model of a Boeing rather than an Airbus. Either way, very cool.
(Both vids via Gizmodo via Jalopnik)
*A TOP reader and commenter who's a longtime TV news cameraman, if you don't recognize the name.
**No pun intended.
Original contents copyright 2017 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Stephen Scharf: "My years of (safely) doing motorsports photojournalism have made me acutely aware of the presence of oncoming vehicles (for example, never walk down an Indy Car pit lane with your back turned to the car or its entrance to the pit box).
"One of the key things motorsports PJs do to stay safe is stay out of 'impact zones.' This is the zone where cars, bikes, dirt, trees, K-walls, photographic equipment on K-walls (never leaver your camera on the K-wall) will end up when said vehicle or vehicle-impact-generated detritus literally goes ballistic. I simply cannot believe that woman stood there that long without realizing what was inevitably going to happen. All I could think while watching her stand there was, 'Get out! You're in an impact zone!'"
Thomas Rink: "Regarding crowd-sourced reporting—I think that this is a big problem with the coverage of recent international conflicts in the media (e.g. near east). Newspapers and broadcasting stations have fewer and fewer reporters out there, due to increasing violence against journalists (but probably also because of tighter budgets). Instead, they increasingly rely on witness of activists and bloggers (e.g. the 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights'). The problem with this is not only that these people are mostly not trained journalists, but also that it is not clear whether they follow some hidden agenda. For us, this poses the question how reliable our media are—I'd rather have my news reported by a regular journalist."
John R. Barker [of AirStage]: "Hi Mike. Glad you liked it.... Check out our homepage...."
Daniel: "With all the cell phones newspapers will accept anything. Even lower standards when whey get it free. North Dakota at Tunbridge had a row of rails cars alongside the main track. Snow during the blizzard last week drifted eight feet high behind them. Amtrack train comes along on the tracks and doesn't stop—gets stuck. Reports say the snow drift was 25 feet high. Photos show it was no more than eight feet. Measurements after the fact show it no more than eight feet. Minot Daily News goes with 25 feet high and when actual height was called to their attention they did not want to do a correction nor send anyone to double check. Instead they got very pissed off at being told the truth and told those reporting it to them to 'find another newspaper to read.'
"Citizen journalism can be fine. We have seen Pulitzer Prize winning news photos from a Kodak Box Brownie camera from the crowd. Generally a professional photojournalist will get better images and more accurate cutlines. Nothing wrong with any source as long as you are accurate."
mike plews: "Perhaps one of the TOP faithful can tell me who first said that 'a picture is worth a thousand words provided it is accompanied by ten well chosen ones.' I'm not being cute, I honestly can't remember. Edward Steichen? not sure but this clip really begs for some context. Hell of a shot though. In the words of my spirit animal, Eeyore, 'thanks for noticing me.'"