Reality TV over local news?

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

This week’s massive pileup on the 401 brought the Kingston region into the National spotlight.

As journalists tried to get access to the scene, they were told by the OPP it was too dangerous – due to a chemical spill.

The closest CKWS TV’s cameras got to the crash scene was an overpass 4 kilometers away

CKWS and every other media outlet had to rely on pictures and video from stranded motorists.

Lars Hagberg is a freelance photographer for Canadian Press.

He’s been turned away from dangerous scenes before.

Lars Hagberg: “It’s too bad. I just wish they would have escorted us in.”

But one media crew had no problem filming the crash scene.   Early Wednesday morning, the OPP tweeted out this photo – explaining crews from the Reality TV show ‘Heavy Rescue 401’ were interviewing officers on the scene.

This tweet had Hagberg, and other members of the local media wondering why the double standard.

Lars Hagberg: “Look there’s a TV show here. This is great, this is fantastic. But then when we ask to get on the scene it’s just a blank no. There’s no budging, no nothing.”

Acting Sergeant Angie Atkinson justified letting the reality crew in when no one else could film the scene.

A/Sgt. Angie Atkinson: “The OPP and the production team from Great Pacific Television are working within an established Memorandum of Understanding and where and only when it is safe to do so. From my knowledge, the OPP did not “ban” any media outlets from this scene.”

But our cameras were told by the OPP they could not attend the scene.

And even, local OPP media officer Sandra Barr wasn’t aware another camera crew had been granted access.

Sandra Barr: “I’m not privy to that, but it was probably under escort. I don’t know, like you said I mean we couldn’t just allow people to wander through there at their leisure. Walk through there or whatever.”

So if you want to see what the crash scene looked like you’ll have to wait until Heavy Rescue 401 airs this episode.

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