WFLA reporter Adrienne Pedersen sees car crash video land on Jay Leno, CNN, GMA and beyond
It wasn't quite the way Adrienne Pedersen imagined she might land on Jay Leno's Tonight Show or CNN.
But video of Pedersen giving a live report Wednesday morning on WFLA-Ch. 8 -- only to have two cars over her left should get into an accident on camera -- has become something of a viral hit, featured on Leno's show, CNN, Good Morning America, NBC's Early Today, England's Daily Mail newspaper, Fark.com and the Drudge Report.
My own item here drew more than 28,000 pageviews, thanks to a link on The Drudge Report website. Pedersen said WFLA's video drew more than 35,000 pageviews Wednesday, but likely has many more today. Today, I watched CNN play the story twice within 10 minutes.
And while many viewers have made fun of Pedersen's focus -- she didn't realize these had been a car crash behind her until anchor Gayle Guyardo pointed it out -- the reporter said TV journalists often tune out extraneous sounds while reporting live.
"When you're reporting, you hear noises all the time," she said. "People yell things, people throw things; you're taught to just stay in the zone...I think not reacting is better than screaming something inappropriate. Good luck getting another job after that."
Pedersen said neither driver was hurt badly, which helped the video become a light-hearted viral hit. And to mollify snarky critics who implied she and photojournalist Rugene Moore may have distracted the driver -- guilty as charged, though I was really just cracking a joke -- Pedersen said they were set up many feet from the intersection and could not have caused the accident.
(As a critic, I'm surprised at how many national news outlets spent time on something which was essentially a cute local story. It really is true that TV and online outlets will put up video of almost anything if it is compelling enough.)
Moore actually helped pull one of the drivers out of their car. "I'm just glad everybody was okay," said Pedersen, who has worked at WFLA for just 18 months. "I honestly thought, when I got back to the station I would tell my co-workers about this crazy thing that happened. I had no idea they already knew."