Wow. Did anyone else watch the MASN coverage of Mike Flanagan’s death last night after the O’s game? It was a truly extraordinary moment in local broadcasting.
The MASN gang were forced to grapple with a question that no journalist should ever have to answer: How do you cover the shocking death of a friend and colleague on live TV?
It was clear that the team—including Amber Theoharis, Rick Dempsey, Tom Davis, Jim Palmer, and Jim Hunter—were devastated and had only recently heard the news. (They chose not to report the still-breaking news until after the game was over.)
Lots of tears were shed, but they managed to keep the show together with anecdotes and commentary, although Palmer was extremely choked up during his interview and Hunter actually broke down while interviewing O’s skipper Buck Showalter. (The camera cut away.)
My heart ached for all involved, and I almost wished there was some way they could grieve and digest the news in private. But, as journalists, we’re often put in the uncomfortable position of sticking a microphone in the face of someone who is dealing with a tragedy. This was a case of the tables being turned.
Kudos to all involved in last night’s terribly moving broadcast, especially lead anchor Theoharis, who expertly kept the program afloat.