The Button Camera, Back Alleys, and French Multiculturalism

A deserted street in "No-Go Zone" in Paris.

I was holding my small HD camcorder, nearly hidden across the street. I could see through the open door of the Halal butcher shop. It was a busy day in this north Paris suburb, and a nearby Arab market was in full swing. Men were bringing in slabs of red meat from a white box truck, cutting it in long pieces, and hanging it on strings for purchase. As I looked through my viewfinder a hallowed face slowly drifted into frame, his eyes looking straight down my lens.

It took me a second to realize that I had been caught. Holding up a big butcher knife to the camera, another man walked by and shut the side door. This was no normal butcher shop–this was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group with thick historical ties to Islamic extremism. Continue reading

Jim Cantore, Hurricane Earl, and the Storm Waiting Bug

 

Efrem Graham does a news stand up in the Outer Banks the morning after Hurricane Earl rolls through.

 

I’ve never been in a hurricane before. The closest I’ve been to experiencing one was last year this time while covering a tropical storm that formed over Virginia Beach. We dealt with flooded homes, stranded cars, downed power lines, that sort of thing. I remember in amazement the water level at my door step, watching it slosh up and over the curb. I remember barely getting to work in my gray Sonata, worried that the flooded streets would hurt my engine. Going into Hurricane Earl I didn’t know what to expect. That was a tropical storm, this was a hurricane.

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Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em’

It’s been nothing but the usual lately…

To be honest, I haven’t covered anything worth writing about. Just typical new’s trips: abortion, gay marriage, salvation stories, religious extremism, immigration. I haven’t had any stories that break the typical news mold. And I haven’t had any interesting encounters or funny stories. So, here’s my plan…I’m going to tell a story from about a year ago, a story I was reminded of when I heard a song on the radio yesterday.

It started when a news photographer got sick. I was local for the week, on call to  shoot stories around Virginia. I had a free afternoon the next day, unbooked, and received a phone call from our scheduler. 2:30PM, he told me, in the green room, tomorrow. We had a guest coming on one of our talk shows, and I was going to shoot a side interview for our news programming beforehand. Fine.

Then our boss told me our guest was Stanley Kirk Burrell. Some of you may recognize that name. I didn’t…

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