Mark Bell, President
Phone, toll free: 1-UR-SAFE-6090
ENG Safety Newsletter
(photo courtesy of Michigan Assoc. of Broadcasters.)
Mark Bell has been in various technical support roles during his 30+ years
of work in television engineering/broadcasting. He worked on on the
conversion of Emerson College's television facility from black and white
to color in the early 70's, then was involved on the first Boston based
CBS News ENG crew in the mid 70's. Bell then worked in a TV station as an
operations, then maintenance technician, and branched out on his own as
a freelance technician in 1982, one of Boston's first. In that same year,
Bell attended the NPPA NewsVideo Workshop to optimize his understanding of
the techniques the Workshop is so famous for.
similar to that of so many others, Mark's career direction changed. He moved
into areas which allowed him to become experienced in ENG as ENG trucks
were being modified from the first primitive "tilt-up Goldenrod mast" vehicles
to the sophisticated vehicles of today. Mark was also a pioneer in satellite
broadcasting, operating early model satellite uplink vehicles, some on 40
foot tractor-trailers used for C-band event uplinking. His work also helped
launch many corporate networks in the original Ku-band days. He developed
techniques and created protocols for many first time satellite transmissions
from all over the US for entertainment, sports, corporate programming and
news information transmission.
to perform equipment maintenance is another area of accomplishment he brings
to the industry. He still serves as a contributor to the great Television
Broadcast magazine, now Digital Television, where his
articles regarding many notable parts of our industry appear monthly. His
four part series on ENG Safety in 1994, which exposed the need for safety
training, is one of his more recognized accomplishments.
In 1995, he was
named a faculty member of the well regarded National Press Photographers
Association News Video Workshop in Oklahoma.
In 1996 Bell
investigated and published information regarding premature headwear in broadcast
VCR's which prompted the Sony Corporation to also investigate the issue,
leading to massive product and warranty reforms.
In 1997, after
being promoted to Contributing Editor of Television Broadcast, he was the
lead editor of the most comprehensive ENG safety report published to date;
this time as a cover story and separate section in the October Television
Broadcast. Bell was also given the honor of an invitation to his first LEVA
(Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association) Conference, presenting
information on equipment maintenance.
forth the NPPA's eight page ENG Safety publication, "Look up and Live" set
for distribution to over 12,000 readers. It is the largest single mass distribution
of safety material ever in the broadcast industry. Bell commented: "The importance
of this large scale distribution is even with the importance of potentially
life and business destroying ENG accidents which safety training helps avoid.
There has yet to be a serious accident involving a properly trained and certified
ENG operator, which means all incidents were somewhat destined to occur."
forth the birth of ENG SAFETY NEWSLETTER, a new and comprehensive
means of educating and reminding all station employees about ENG Safety.
In 2000, Bell
added the ENG Safety Memo to the ENG Safety Newsletter.
The memo is for those who already have a monthly newsletter and want
a safety supplement, or would like a one-page sheet to post on a bulletin
board. Bell also started technical writing work under another company
name, Technically Write!. He also shared in the "Award
of Merit" from "Media Communications Association International"
for co-writing and co-producing (as well as appearing in) the most widely
distributed safety videotape in broadcasting, "Safety is Good News,"
produced with Carissa Vanitzian of Phoenix's public power utility, "Salt
more of the same with presentations, papers, and keeping up with the 120+
subscriptions to the newsletter and memo. It's estimated that more than
3000 people read the newsletter each month, and well over 5000 have seen
the awareness presentation! Bell spent a great deal of time presenting the
safety message to all of the ABC Network O & O stations as part of an
safety drive through their insurance carrier, CNA/RSKCo. The program was
successful in getting the message to those behind the scenes in the newsroom,
producers and desk folks, and expanded the scope of those included to reporters
and anchors, who occasionally get out in the field for assignment. Many
stated that they were happy to have received the safety awareness information.
2002 has had
its share of accidents, with 2 reported lightning strikes to ENG crews during
the early summer mixed in with the typical mast topplings from clearance
accidents or driving with the mast elevated, and some mast being raised in
the wrong spots. More people than ever write Bell through the website for
safety information, and station managers have been pleasantly responsive to
his (and their employees) safety efforts at many stations. The web name
engsafety.info has also been purchased for use in the news truck safety
info business by Mark Bell, and is linked to this engsafety.com page.
2002 also brought
forth one of the largest honors for Bell's work, as California passed legislation
for training and equipping of news vehicles. Bell attended numerous historic
hearings where manufacturers, lawmakers and safety officials met with members
of California's safety standards board and had specific input into the rationale
and creation of the now-signed-into law regulations. Bell's teachings are
quoted in some passages of the law.
At the end of
2002 and into 2003, Bell worked on the FAA's mandate for 100% baggage screening
at US Airports, working as an on-the-job trainer/assessor of baggage screeners.
He also attained expertise in equipment used for baggage screening. During
this time he learned about terrorism, protocol with the general public when
it comes to security measures, and a high level of security screening.
July 2003 kicked off
the 5th year of the ENG safety newsletter and pdf distribution of the successful
monthly safety reminder.
2004 brought forth both the surprise and honor of being named
in the acknowledgment of Jonathan Higgins' book "Introduction to SNG and
ENG Microwave for his contributions to the book.
2005 was a slow year, and that's a good
thing in the safety business. There was one terrible fatality in Texas that
resulted in sanctions to one station and stories from the reporter who escaped
the incident ringing through the industry as her call for safer practices
goes on. So far, as of Thanksgiving, it's been a thankful year as crews
and managers are hearing and heeding the messages of safety. The work goes
on, and the ENG Safety Newsletter is still read by as many, or more than
before, and the seminars are still popular. On and on we go!!
2006 to 2009 were years of Bell continuing his safety
work. The safety newsletter has been strong, and safety watches throughout
the industry remain very vigilant, with only a few minor accidents reported.
As technology is changing. more and more people are coming into the industry
with knowledge of the procedures that will protect life and property, as
well as how to get the news on the air as the quicker-than-ever demand for
instant coverage has become the norm.
2010 and 2011 - ENGsafety.com has been strong,
and the ENG Safety Newsletter maintains a solid subscription base despite
numerous stations sharing resources or simply stopping their news operations.
Presentations are also still requested, but hassles of air travel are simply
burdens and the largest individual expense for any seminar trip. In
2011 and into the future ENGsafety.com will be researching web-based presentations
for reduced price in a more convenient forum and time schedule.
In 2011 and 2012 Bell was active with safety
research for the newest development in ENG, live journalism via backpack
transmission, thus giving birth to the term PNG for Pedestrian News Gathering...doing
it on one's feet, recorded, or live. Bell also was active teaching MA drivers
courses to improve their driving attitudes on behalf of the National Safety
Council as well as working in areas of property inspections for insurance
companies after weather related tragedies hit the western MA area.
2013 has brought more improvements to journalism and
ENG Safety as the ENG Safety Newsletter will
be detailing a higher level of field safety and how field people can keep
themselves safe. Backpack News Gathering, BNG, is becoming the norm as technology
again steps up to create more ways to utilize existing infrastructure and
bring viewers live journalism from literally everywhere...moving vehicles,
back alleys, buildings and other places where cell phone coverage permits
multiline data transfer very much like the old ISDN wired-phone-line days.
The phrase in the preceding paragraph, "PNG - Pedestrian News Gathering"
is replaced, as it's not just a pedestrian technology, as the "Backpack"
goes everywhere, and many times is slung onto a tripod for instant/everywhere
2014 will undoubtedly bring forth more creative uses
for technologies as drones and other airborne devices, along with miniature
cameras like the "Go-pro" series, bring cameras and wireless a/v into a whole
Questions? email Mark Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be more..............
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