Friday, January 18, 2013

Black Day for News Cameraman - Medora, Kansas

From April 19, 1961 Hutch News
My "Bad Day at Black Rock
turned out to be a "mad morning
near Medora" Tuesday.
You never know when tempers
will flare and you will find yourself
and your camera lymg in the
muck of the Little Arkansas.
It didn't quite happen, but
there were times when things got
a little uncertain.
An attempt at news suppression
by threat on a lonely railroad
trestle in Reno County was
the last thing I anticipated when
I left my breakfast table Tuesday
But here's what happened:
I got a call from the editor.
A routine assignment: a teenage
girl had tried to lead a horse
across a railroad trestle, and the
animal had caught a hoof between
the ties.
When I arrived the veterinarian,
Dr. Brace C. Detter Jr., of
Nickerson had given the mare an
anesthetic, and was trying to get
her legs tied so she couldn't hurt
A group of Medorans, apparently
farmers, was helping. A tractor
was ready to move the animal
off the tracks on a wooden
No Publicity
"We don't want any publicity,"
said one of the men.
"Here comes a TV man," said
I hastened to point out that I
was from the Hutchinson News,
not a television station.
"You're not going to take pictures
of that little girl's horse,
are you?" another little girl
asked, animosity in her eyes.
"I have a job to do," I replied.
The girl, I determined later,
was Martha Suarez of-Hutchinson.
I then waded across the stream
to get on the east side of the;
group of men so I wouldn't be
shooting against the sun.
One of the men said it was "no
skin off my nose, but it would be
nice if you wouldn't take any pictures."
I again explained that I was
following orders and had to do
my job as best I could. What
was used in The News would be
determined by my superiors.
"Wliy don't you be real mean
and leave it out this time," he
said. After all, those little girls
have had enough trouble for one
By this time Dr. Detter had finished
tying the mare and she was
being loaded onto the sled.
Touch of Sarcasm
"I hope you got all the pictures
you wanted" said Miss
Suarez, a touch of sarcasm in
her voice. "Why don't you go
get a picture of that little girl
crying in the car? That ought
to make you a good front page
About that time one of the men
working over the horse asked me
how I would like to have him
throw me and my camera into
the mud under the trestle.
I think I am just horse enough
to do it," he said.
I thought to myself that he
probably was horse enough, but
said nothing. I didn't want to
lose my film or my self respect
at the moment.
By this time the horse was on
the sled, and I decided it was
time to leave. I stopped to get
one more picture, and at this
point Miss Suarez planted herself
in front of my camera to blot
the view. It truly was time to
go-As I turned my car around on
the gravel road, I wondered how
much help I would get if I backed
my car into the ditch.
I tried to drive carefully.

1 comment:

  1. That was ridiculous! It seemed like a simple news event without any controversy. Why they decided to accelerate the incident and heap abuse on you goes beyond rational thought. There is a better chance that you might've made the girl feel better by talking to her, but I guess they were too shallow to realize that. In my forty years of ghost towning, I've encountered many great people out there, some of whom have become my friends. But every once in awhile, there's a person with a chip on their shoulder....shrug it off.