Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Louisville | When a story makes for great video

[Video still shows reporter R.G. Dunlop, left, and Aaron Cantrell]

After Dr. Richard Albert pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegally prescribing 50,000 pain pills in eastern Kentucky, a reporter and photographer for The Courier-Journal confronted owners of the Care More Medical Management clinic where he worked.

"Don't give me no First Amendment," co-owner Aaron Cantrell told photographer Scott Utterback as he tried to shield his face from the camera.

The Paintsville parking lot encounter, captured in a video published yesterday, is an excellent example of the sort of story angle better told with video. Its publication comes as Gannett renews its push for more reporter-produced videos across the company's more than 80 U.S. newspaper newsrooms.

The Louisville newspaper's video and accompanying story show hard-hitting public-service journalism at its best. They're part of an ongoing series of stories called "Prescription for Tragedy."

With his guilty plea, reporter R.G. Dunlop writes, Albert also agreed to forfeit assets of more than $500,000, which he kept in more than a dozen bank and investment accounts. He could be sent to prison for as long as 20 years when he is sentenced April 18.

But the story doesn't end there. Care More is still in business, according to Dunlop. And court documents show Cantrell's wife, Tammy, helped fill out some of the prescription forms at the heart of the case.

She says Albert was a rogue employee, and denied knowing what he was doing.

“He done his meanness after hours,” Cantrell told Dunlop. “What he was doing illegal was after hours, not on our time.”

Earlier: In Asbury Park, an employee, drug deals -- and comments.

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