Unprecedented move: RTM chairperson asks cameraman to stop taping meeting
Published 11:42 am, Monday, October 19, 2009
"The first item of business was to review and approve the minutes from Sept. 14," Armour said. "Because they had been delayed in arriving, no one had had the opportunity to read them yet. We decided to let people read then, and then start the meeting over again. I didn't think it was good television to have people reading.
"I thought it would be boring," she said.
It took several minutes for the committee members to finish reading through the four-page, single-spaced document, according to Armour.
Jim Cameron, who is program director for Darien TV79 as well as an RTM member, noticed a camera stop when reviewing the film Tuesday morning.
"With the exception of changing a tape, or if a meeting legitimately goes into executive session, the camera should stay on, even if that meant 10 minutes of silence," Cameron said. "We now have no record of what was said about the minutes when the camera was off."
Armour told the Darien News that there were a few amendments made to minutes, but "nothing substantive, nothing that changed the outcome in anyway."
Cameron said this is the first time in the three-and-a-half-year history of the televised meeting coverage that there has been such an interference in coverage.
"I assume Ms. Armour did this with the best of intentions to try and avoid 10 minutes of dead air, but she should not have asked the camera operator to turn it off," he said.
"We model ourselves after CSPAN ... and if you watch CSPAN, if Congress is in session, and they recess but do not adjourn, they keep the camera on," he said.
"The law says that we, Channel 79 ... have the right to record the sound and pictures of any public meeting, and she should no more tell [a newspaper reporter] to leave the room and close your computer than she should tell our camera operator to turn off the camera," Cameron said.
Armour said she did not think it was wrong to ask the cameras to stop rolling.
"It occurred to me that it was unusual," she said. "I still thought it be boring; a waste of tape if there was such a thing."