A television reporter from West Virginia, USA has gone viral after being hit by a car during a live broadcast, leading to a conversation about media safety and questions on how the show allowed the accident to unfold on TV.
Tori Yorgey of WSAZ-TV was reporting about the water main break in nearby Dunbar during an 11:00PM broadcast when a sports utility vehicle struck her from behind and knocked her down. The camera also fell to the ground.
"We're good, Tim." pic.twitter.com/9kn2YElDLK— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 20, 2022
“Oh my God! I just got hit by a car, but I’m okay," Yorgey said off-camera. "I just got hit by a car, but I’m okay, Tim," she added, addressing the show's anchor Tim Irr.
“That’s a first for you on TV, Tori,” Irr said.
Yorgey, who was on the field alone without a crew, got back on her feet, adjusted the camera and even carried on with the report.
“We’re all good. I’m OK. That’s live TV for you," she said, even telling Irr that it's not her first vehicular misfortune as she had gotten hit by a car in college once.
Irr, who was quizzically looking at the screen, asked Yorgey where she thought she was hit.
"Were you bumped down low or were you hit up high I could’t really tell," Irr asked, to which Yorgey said she doesn't know either.
"My whole life just flashed before my eyes, but this is live TV and everything is ok. I thought I was in a safe spot but clearly we would need to move the camera over a bit," said Yorgey.
The driver who hit Yorgey could be heard apologizing, but the reporter told the driver that she's fine.
“Ma’am, you are so sweet, and you are okay,” she said.
Denver Post's Elizabeth Hernandez on Twitter described Yorgey's experience as "not a story of resilience but of a sick industry and work culture that pressures people to put their job above their health/safety."
a journalist getting hit by a car live on air & continuing her job is not a story of resilience but of a sick industry & work culture that pressures ppl to put their job above their health/safety. Let’s work on making this a job where you don’t have to be resilient every day.— Elizabeth Hernandez (@ehernandez) January 20, 2022
"Let’s work on making this a job where you don’t have to be resilient every day," Hernandez added.
Kate Cagle of Spectrum News in South California said the incident is "a terrifying example of the broken local news industry," in which young reporters are being sent alone at night to cover dangerous topics and then go live with no cover or situational awareness.
A terrifying example of the broken local news industry - sending young reporters alone at night to cover dangerous topics and then go live with no cover or situational awareness. Working your way up to a better station is no longer just about ambition, but also self preservation. https://t.co/GQEpgt6aqJ— Kate Cagle (@KateCagle) January 20, 2022
"Working your way up to a better station is no longer just about ambition, but also self-preservation," Cagle said.
If it were for Tyler Feldman of KVUE News in Austin in Texas, he said he will sue the station and the company, stressing that the local TV industry "must make drastic changes."
I’d sue the station and the company. She laughed it off, but this is unacceptable. There’s a severe weather alert painted in red, and you send a reporter out by herself in terrible conditions. Really, she’s lucky to be alive. The local TV industry must make drastic changes. https://t.co/POoPl97RlF— Tyler Feldman (@TylerFeldmanTV) January 20, 2022
"She laughed it off, but this is unacceptable," Feldman said. "There’s a severe weather alert painted in red, and you send a reporter out by herself in terrible conditions. Really, she’s lucky to be alive."
Some also questioned how the show went on even after seeing the field reporter harmed on TV.
"I understand that maybe the anchor wasn’t able to see or react right away but there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for the producer that did not immediately cut the feed and toss to break to make sure she is ok," Twitter user Stephanie Esquivel wrote.
WSAZ said Yorgey went to the hospital after the incident, and reported "just soreness."
In an interview after the incident, Yorgey explained that she was on the pavement of the apartment complex, not on the road, when the incident occurred.
“My boss took me to the hospital, and I did get checked out," WSAZ quoted Yorgey as saying. "Everything is OK ... I am good, little bit sore but nothing major and no broken bones!”
She also took it to Twitter to thank those who extended kindness and well wishes.
Wow. I am flattered by the kindness and well wishes. I am feeling fine, just a little sore! Thank you all so much.— Tori Yorgey (@toriyorgeytv) January 20, 2022
For the record: @WSAZirr couldn’t see what was happening in that moment. He is one of the kindest people I know, and was first to call to check on me. pic.twitter.com/kusuDnEvfG
"I am feeling fine, just a little sore! Thank you all so much," she wrote. She also gave Irr a shout out, clarifying that he "couldn't see what was happening in that moment. He is one of the kindest people I know, and was first to call to check on me."
Irr also explained how he did not actually see the event unfold live, as the studio did not have a TV monitor in his field of vision.
"I think a lot of people were caught off-guard by that. I actually myself couldn’t even see it on the monitor, which is a little small monitor over to the side. I could only hear it on my earpiece," he said.