Can you imagine - it's your first day in front of the camera. Let's just say you're a rookie news anchor in a North Dakota television station. The mic just happened to be on, and you utter a profanity. On the air. Which is heard by everyone tuning into the newscast. Not to mention the countess others who watched the video after it went viral. Not too long after that, you are canned.
Such was the story of A.J. Clemente, who was working for KFYR-TV in Bismarck, N.D. It was his first night doing anchor duties. He was at the station for the previous three weeks reporting. At the beginning of the video you can hear the cursing right off before he launches into his introduction. His co-anchor looked a little uncomfortable (can you say awkward?), because, well, his mic picked it up, and he was heard loud and clear. According to Clemente in an eonline article, he was looking at his scripts and trying to figure out how to pronounce the name of someone from the London Marathon. It was his first time anchoring, and he wanted to make sure he was ready to go. He thought his co-anchor was practicing, but no, they were on the air. He said he didn't realize he cursed on air or that the cameras were even on.
He was fired, of course, and he went home, "balled up in his bed and called his parents."
Clemente is sorry for what he's done, but now he's an overnight celebrity of sorts. He was the subject of a David Letterman Top 10 list. He's made an appearance on the "Today" show, been on "Letterman" and will be covering the red carpet premiere of the movie "Love Is All You Need" for "Live! With Kelly and Michael."
I'm sure nerves could've played a factor, especially when you don't want to slaughter the pronunciation of someone's name. But oy, if you're on camera, you're there for all the world to see and hear. I guess I can say, "glad it's not me." There have been some times when I worry that a typo that is basically a swear word slips past me. Maybe not in large screaming headlines but within the body of the story. It has happened though in the Independent. Spell check doesn't always catch everything. There are some perks to print journalism though - you don't have to worry about your screwup going on YouTube. But if you misspell a word, you may get some razzing.
So what's next for A.J. Clemente? Apparently he told Letterman he wants to work for ESPN. Yeah, aim high A.J. Maybe his 15 minutes of fame will break him into something bigger than Bismarck, or he'll just end up as yesterday's news. He's not the first one to swear during a live newscast, and he sure won't be the last.