A Chicago news team from the Univision Chicago network was recently robbed at gunpoint when recording a segment reporting on a series of recent robberies. A cameraman and reporter were filming the segment in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago, where the previous robberies had taken place when they were approached by three masked men. The men were clearly carrying firearms, so the news team had no choice but to let the robbery happen in order to remain safe. The men robbed the film camera as well as other equipment and personal items from the two men.
According to reports, the three men approached wearing ski masks over their heads.
The robbery occurred in the early hours of the morning on Monday, around 5 a.m. The segment about the robberies that was being filmed was intended to air later that morning in the news. The footage was entirely on the camera that they filmed with, which was stolen. When the thieves stole the camera, they stole all the footage as well, so the story never went to air.
The names of the victims have not been released, but they have been identified as a 28-year-old man and a 42-year-old man. In the midst of their report, a gray sedan and black SUV drove up and the three perpetrators got out. They then fled in these same vehicles. While the men were armed, there were no injuries to either of the victims.
Luis Godinez, the vice president of news at Univision Chicago, gave a statement assuring that the men are safe and recovering well after the attack. He said they are “working on it together as a team,” with the police.
This attack on a news crew is actually the second one this month. A photographer from WLS-TV was robbed and assaulted on August 8. In this incident, the victim was getting ready to film a segment at a news conference one afternoon.
After these two attacks, there is a growing concern for the safety of reporters and photographers when reporting in the field.
The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 41, the union representing TV photographers in the Chicago area, has particularly felt the threat to their camera operators. The union is set to have a special meeting dedicated to discussing the increasing threat to safety.