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What happened to Newshub reporter wasn't 'good fun' - it was intolerable

Newshub logoNewshub 12/07/2018 Craig Norenbergs

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Imagine if your father got up to make a speech on your wedding day, cleared his throat, and someone threw beer over him as he tried to express his feelings.

Or, your next visit to the local surgery was ruined by people standing behind the doctor, cheering and singing songs as they tried to find out what was wrong with you.

Or, if you were a butcher or carpenter, and were heckled and abused by passers-by as you attempted to do your best work.

People don’t cheer or jeer the average person on the street for simply doing their jobs, so why is it okay to do it to a television or radio reporter?

As a veteran of electronic news media, one of my chief hates is when a group of people stand behind someone doing a live cross, waving and gurning like circus clowns.

For some reason, it often happens at sporting events. I've been the focus of it a few times, and it's very off-putting.

This was taken to extremes when Newshub European correspondent Lloyd Burr had a beer thrown over him while he attempted to report from London during the World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia.

He did very well to stay composed.

Big events seems to bring out the monkey in people. A small percentage, fuelled up on grog, and obviously unhappy with their lot in life, ruin it for everyone.

Last month, a Brazilian female reporter was kissed by a spectator during her live cross in Russia, while a Mexican journalist took action after she was groped during a cross in May.

Aussie reporter Ben Davis was famously assaulted on-air after an NRL playoff in 2007.

It's horrible to watch. But it's accepted. They're only TV reporters, after all.

Do a Google search, and you'll find it’s some sort of worldwide attention-seeking disease.

In the late 1990s, while I was working for Sky Sports in London, rugby coach Bob Dwyer was doing a live cross after a game where his team, Bristol, was soundly beaten.

A bloke kept chipping in with criticism off-camera, so Bob paused mid-interview, and told the man to "f**k off" before continuing with the interview as if nothing had happened.

I also remember one of Sky’s rugby reporters trying to do a live cross from the main grandstand in Gloucester, having fans grab his nether regions repeatedly to try and put him off.

Aside from being intrusive, criminal behaviour, why would you do that?

I took to Twitter last week to voice my anger at poor behaviour during live-crosses, and was surprised how many people replied that it was simply "good fun" and "larrikin behaviour".

It's not - it's rude and boorish, and psychologists and sociologists would have a field day with it.

It wouldn't be tolerated in any other industry.

Lloyd should get a few of his mates together, track down the bloke who threw beer over him, and do the same while he tried to do his job.

But then, that'd be seen as really odd behaviour and wouldn't be tolerated, eh?

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