Giving the finger *

Nose pickerAnyone who has watched the regular KOCE reports from the Register newsroom in Orange County knows it's hard enough to get print schlubs to give good television. It's even more challenging to do a quality show when one of the newspaper's editors all but moons the camera in the background. Now, it's been a difficult week at the Register's "content center," with running layoffs hacking at morale. But the news director of KOCE doesn't see the humor in some guy picking his nose on camera. His memo fingering the perp as a repeat offender, and warning the Register of consequences, is below:

[* Noted: The Register's editor says the act was misconstrued and blown out of proportion. Click for his response.]

Dear Colleagues,

We had an incident occur with a Register employee that is frankly inappropriate and unacceptable.

During an interview, which will air tonight, with Register reporter John Gittelsohn another Register employee walked over to the interview area, intentionally stood behind John, faced the camera, picked his nose, and wiped it on his shirt.

Unfortunately, this was part of our live-to-tape 30 minute broadcast which airs tonight at 6:30 for all to see. It is also scheduled to be posted on the Register website after it airs on Real Orange. I have attached a video still image for you to see right now.

I've spoken with Register Broadcast Engineer Don Nebel about this individual. Don has stated that when the lights for the camera go on and we begin interview segments, this individual makes it a point to be loud, disruptive, and perform antics for the camera. Don has "waived him off" on numerous occasions, however he continues to disrupt our segments and has now escalated his attempts to embarrass both KOCE and the Register.

We cannot continue to conduct interviews from the Register newsroom, with this employee present. I do not want to cancel the next 4 segments we have scheduled this week at the Register, nor do I want to ask Register reporters to take valuable time out of their day to travel to our studio to avoid this disruptive employee. But I will have to do one or the other, until I can be assured that this employee is no longer going to be a problem.

Michael Taylor
News Director, KOCE-TV

I don't know the picker, but my Register sources say his name is C.P. Smith — and that he has offered to take one of the buyouts. (And had been accepted.) * Update: Smith is the Register's page one editor, its former rock critic, and the husband of L.A. Times deputy editor Sherry Stern.

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