Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo., on Jamar Black’s first day at Fox TV 2/KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Black spent the next three months covering the subsequent protests and civil unrest in Ferguson in the aftermath of a story that divided the nation and was a flashpoint for the Black Lives Matter movement. How’s that for an instant immersion into covering hard news in America’s 21st largest television market?
The 2003 Wilmington College graduate has thrived in that competitive environment as a broadcast journalist and won an Emmy Award this fall for Best Breaking News Story at the 41st Mid-America Emmys.
His story, titled “Officer Blake Snyder,” features a police officer killed in the line of duty while responding to an early morning disturbance call in October 2016. An 18-year-old man shot him from point-blank range. The officer left behind a wife and two young children. “I was just a minute away from the scene and I was able to capture very graphic and compelling images and do so in a respectful way (with regard for the victim’s family),” he said, noting he was first on the scene and managed to shoot exclusive video of both the officer and suspect being loaded into ambulances and escorted to the hospital by awaiting police cars.
“In breaking news, it’s all about getting on the scene, shooting your video and getting scanner traffic information confirmed so you can go live on TV,” he added. “I was honored to have my work recognized at this level, but I wish there would have been a different outcome for Officer Snyder.”