WDBJ TV reporter Alison Parker was slain by her disgruntled former co-worker, Vester Flanagan, over words she used, which are actually commonplace in newsrooms across the country. But the crazed gunman interpreted the news-speak as being racist!
Reporter Alison Parker, 24, was targeted by Vester Flanagan, 41 for using words that are used daily in just about every newsroom nationwide. Common terms such as “in the field” and “swinging by” were judged by her killer to be racist, leading to the shooting death of the young reporter and her 27-year-old cameraman, Adam Ward on Aug. 26. Vester eventually committed suicide a few hours later.
Vester took simple newsroom terms such as “in the field” to be racist, referring to cotton fields of slavery days. But in reality, the term simply means you’re going out into the field to report a live story, as opposed to doing it inside a newsroom. Job listings for reporters routinely use the term “field reporter” to let candidates know they’ll be going out and about to cover stories that are going on in that city.
He also took offense to the term “swinging by” a location, as a reference to lynching. But in newsroom-speak, it simply means going by a location to check things out, get an interview, shoot video and the like. It has absolutely no racial overtones whatsoever. What’s further baffling is Vester worked in numerous newsrooms during his career and would have heard such terms used routinely. Adam was marked for murder for filming Vester’s eventual firing back in 2013.
Killer Called Alison A Racist After Murdering Her
The killer made waves about the terms in 2012 at WDBJ TV in Roanoke, Virginia, according to an internal complaint he filed against Alison, who was white. Former reporter Vester, who went by the TV name of Bryce Williams, was black. Alison was an intern at the time and was not disciplined for the remarks, but Vester never forgot them. Even after gunning his victims down on live TV, he took to his Twitter account to announce “Alison made racist comments” and “They hired her after that??” he wrote.
Alison and Adam were working on a live shot at 6:45 a.m. local time, when Vester ambushed their location and shot both dead. He later led police on a chase that ended when he crashed his car. It’s believed he planned to make a clean getaway after a wig, multiple license plates and other disguises were found in his vehicle. Instead of being taken into custody, he turned his gun on himself.
Hollywoodlifers, would you ever consider terms such as “in the field” and “swinging by” to be racist?
— Beth Shilliday