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TV Choppers Collide: The Reaction

choppers_7.28.jpgFour TV news veterans are being remembered this morning after the helicopters they were in collided mid-air, while covering a police pursuit in Phoenix. As the nation’s 13th largest TV market, Phoenix is seen as a so-called feeder market for talented reporters, anchors, producers and photographers who move on to even larger markets or to the network level. Sean McLaughlin is one of them.

McLaughlin emailed TVNewser last night, toward the end of “6 1/2 hours” of live reporting for CBS affiliate KPHO. “We’ve all covered tragedies where we see police officers or firefighters hugging each other, but it was all of us, the media, reaching out for each other between live shots.”

McLaughlin spent a decade at Phoenix’s NBC station KPNX, before moving east for weather gigs at NBC’s Weekend Today, MSNBC, and NBC Weather Plus. A year ago, he moved back to Phoenix and CBS5. It was, in fact, coverage on MSNBC which first alerted McLaughlin to the tragedy unfolding “less than 5 miles” from his house.

Sean_7.28.jpgMcLaughlin’s brother (driving through Delaware) got a call from his mother-in-law in South Dakota, who was watching the story on MSNBC. “Shawn called me to see if I was okay or my station was involved in some way. I was just walking through the door with my 3-year-old daughter and 18-month old son, not knowing what he was talking about I flew to the TV. Seconds later my station was calling and I dropped everything to head to the scene.”

Another former network anchor, Daryn Kagan, wrote about her experience working at KTVK and knowing one of the men killed.Rick (Krolak) had a quick wit and smile. A good news sense, and not much patience for management. Just the right kind of guy to show the ropes to the new kid on the block.”

>More: “Warriors of this industry.” KSAZ’s website has in-depth coverage, including a closer look at the two pilots and two photographers who died and an interview with their own pilot who witnessed the crash.

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