There were police officers spread all around the perimeter of the house trying to process the remaining evidence on a Lake George crime scene. News teams had already begun to flood the scene along with several police cars and an ambulance was standing by.
Worried neighbors stood by the road watching police investigate the scene – and then a reporter was taken away in handcuffs.
On Nov. 2, professor David Blow brought that reporter, David Taube, 24, of Glens Falls, to Castleton as a guest speaker for his News Media Ethics class. While finishing up the chapter “Working with Sources,” Taube was came to illustrate the importance of police-reporter relations.
Taube, a reporter for the Post-Star, was arrested on July 9 while reporting on a murder-suicide scene in Lake George.
An officer with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department arrested him after he reportedly had refused orders to leave the area.
“It wasn’t like I was interfering with the crime scene,” Taube said to students, while explaining there was no police tape blocking him from the scene at the time of his arrest. “It was four hours after the crime had been reported.”
Though he was not actually placed in a cell, Taube was fingerprinted and had a mug shot taken.
Taube was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, a misdemeanor, but was released in time to cover the department’s press conference on the murder.
“He has an ego problem,” said Warren County Sheriff Bud York in a phone interview with Blow, who provided transcripts to Taube and students of the conversation. “We’ve never had problems with news media ever.”
According to York, Taube has a reputation with local police in the area for pushing it to the limit at crime scenes.
“I’ve had to be more careful on scenes,” Taube said to the class adding that the incident otherwise has not crippled his career as a journalist in any way.
Students in the ethics class seemed to sympathize with Taube, with many saying he had done nothing wrong.
“I would’ve done the same thing,” Castleton junior Hannah Messer said acknowledging that as a journalist Taube’s job was to report the crime to inform the public.
But fellow student Annie Hartman was a little more skeptical.
“As a reporter it’s important to choose your battles and respect authority,” arguing that Taube may have crossed the line.
Overall the class took away an important message, that there is a fine line between pushing the envelope and overstepping the boundaries while out in the field. They learned that having cooperation from law enforcements can be vital to a journalist when reporting crime stories.
“I like reporters who walk a tight rope,” Blow commented during class, adding that in his 21 years of working with the Post Star, he has never seen a reporter arrested.
Blow encouraged his students to have drive when going out in the field and looking for stories.
“I look for guys who have a little bit of fire in their bellies when they are on the job,” he said.
For Taube, the ordeal won’t be over for w hile. Charges were dismissed in the case, but only if he avoids further trouble. With six months of good behavior and no more run-ins with local authorities, Taube said the charges will be “expunged” and leave him with no record.