U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

KSTP News 5 crew’s cable cut during live shot, interrupting broadcast

Incident Details

KSTP 5 News/Kirsten Swanson

An unidentified man cut the cable connecting a KSTP 5 News crew's camera and live truck, interupting their broadcast on July 20, 2020.

— KSTP 5 News/Kirsten Swanson
July 20, 2020

The cable connecting a KSTP 5 News crew’s camera to its live truck was cut during a live shot outside a bar in Anoka, Minnesota, on July 20, 2020.

Reporter Kirsten Swanson told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that her crew was working on a general assignment piece about bars and restaurants warned by the state’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division after failing to comply with coronavirus safety guidelines.

While the news crew, based in Saint Paul, was in an Anoka bar speaking with the owner, Swanson said they noticed a patron who went in and out several times, but specified that the man hadn’t acted aggressively toward them.

“Right before six o’clock, when my photographer went to set the camera up, the patron asked him, ‘Is that camera live? What are you guys doing?’” Swanson said. Her photographer explained they were preparing for a live shot and that they were reporting on the bar. The man scowled at the photographer, she said, before going back inside.

Swanson went on-air shortly after 6 p.m., and she introduced their piece before the recorded package began playing. Within seconds, however, she said they received word from their producer and the technician in the KSTP truck parked up the block that their live shot had dropped.

“Being in this business for a long as we have, you know technology sometimes doesn’t work so we didn’t really think anything of it,” she said. When they went to see what had gone wrong, the technician began rolling in the cable that connects the camera and the truck but only half of it came back.

“The tech stopped and looked down and said, ‘Oh my god, someone cut the cable,’” Swanson said.

Swanson said they filed a police report for the damages, and that security cameras captured footage of what happened.

The Anoka Police Department did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].