The cell phone photo that Auburn senior Shaye Smith tweeted at 2 a.m. Sunday has become the go-to graphic for almost every news posting pertaining to the recent fires at Toomer’s Corner (TWER included) since the story broke (because, you know, the photo basically broke the story).
Kind of an inauspicious way to cap off your final home game Saturday as a Auburn student, but at least memorable.
We tweeted Shaye down to get what so far seems to be the first eye-witness account of the fire (or at least the first of what is now known to have been three separate fires) up on the internet.
Because inquiring Auburn minds want to know. (We want to know.)
Shaye Smith in her own e-words:
Well, a few friends were in town with staying with me this weekend and we had been at Bourbon Street bar (Downtown Auburn) seeing one of our favorite bands, The Grand Magnolias (formerly Hightide Blues). I was gathering everyone together to leave and walked out of the bar at about 2 a.m. and I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and he ran past me pointing at Toomer’s Corner.Surprised that he didn’t stop to say hey, I turned around and the tree was already on fire, but I caught it in time to watch it grow. Everyone rushed to the corner across the street (honestly, someone who wasn’t an Auburn fan would have thought the world was ending). I pushed up to the front and asked a guy standing on the curb and he told me that a UGA fan had lit some toilet paper hanging from the tree with a lighter. That’s just what he said. I can’t guarantee that’s truly what happened. Everyone’s reactions were quite different. Some were shocked, some were mad and some (fans who have been rolling the tree since they were too young to remember-like me) were worried.
I’m a senior in public relations who has an obsession with social media, and I keep many friends and family updated on what’s going on in Auburn, so of course I pushed my way to the front to snap a few photos on my phone.The fire fighters were there within a few minutes while the crowd continued to watch at the corner (there were actually still people walking under the tree) and the fire truck was parked in the middle of the street and the fire fighters got and put out the fire within a few minutes.We left at 2:06 a.m. (I know this because I texted a friend when we were walking to the car) and the fire had been controlled, but the fire fighters were still working. The fire was out for the most part.I uploaded the photo to Twitter on Sunday and also uploaded a few others to Facebook. I have a friend (@ap_sims) who I know retweeted it on Twitter and I know many others did as well because it was big news in the Auburn community on Sunday. I’m not sure if WSFA used it, but he told me that WTVM used it. I have also googled the event and found it on quite a few other sites.I don’t mind that people posted it, because (obviously) I uploaded it to Twitter for people to know about the event, but I was there and they wouldn’t have had the photo if they hadn’t gotten it from me (on Twitter). Being a PR major, I have taken many journalism classes, but not any journalism ethics/law classes, so I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with them doing that. It’s just frustrating and it would be nice to have some credit-especially since I am currently in the job search process (graduating in Dec.), and I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to have my photo posted in quite a few places. 🙂
Debbi Rogers says
I, too, @DebbiRogers, had the other Fire photo that was posted in the War Eagle Reader. I uploaded it Sunday morning and the War Eagle Reader gave me photo credit. The photo was technically taken from my daughter @LindsayLRogers phone from the scene of the fire coming out of SkyBar before 2am, have seen the photo also used everywhere. Don’t really care about it being used everywhere, it’s news and it was shameful to who ever started the fire. (Have more fire photos also)
Actually, it could have been a PR stunt for the a new novel centered around Auburn University athletics that’s coming out soon. It’s called “As The Plains Burn!” Read a preview of it here:
I’d say just the excepts are RIVETING!
Journalism student says
You might feel differently if your future career was in a journalism and/or a communications/PR field….
No photo cred means no physical evidence to give to an employer that you have an aptitude for solid, citizen journalism. Just saying….Granted this story was not as huge as we all thought/hoped it might be, but still. How did we know? Shaye did her duty as a journalist to capture a moment… and should be given credit… Not have WSFA give credit to WTVM who ripped her photo.
That photo is technically her creative property.. i.e. she should get credit for that. Not just brushed off because, “it’s news.” It takes 5 seconds to type a photo credit. They knew where it came from because they pulled it off HER twitphoto page.
You’re absolutely in the right to say… meh… who cares, it’s news.
But for a professional news outlet to just use someone’s photo, having been students trying to break into an industry themselves, it’s just kind of lame.
Not illegal.. just lame. Give someone a photo cred. .. it takes 2 seconds.
Congrats to Shaye!
Jerky "Jerkoff" says
I see you’re still unemployed from the last time you came here trolling the site….
Still no life? no friends? no hope? Way too much free time?
– troll on, I guess-
Run, Aubies, Run…. the Feds are coming and they’re pulling up to Auburn University in the “Karma” bus ready to take passengers aboard. Justice is very sweet, indeed!
Jerky "Jerkoff" says
For those confused by Jerky….
Jerky is still under the impression that anyone in the western hemisphere still cares about/discusses Bobby Lowder…
I informed him that if students here, first even know who Bobby is, or even know about that situation, which I am also assuming even Jerky doesn’t know anything about (aside from a few “op/ed” pieces about it)……second…. Nobody cares anymore
You’re literally just once again proving how much free time you have on your hands and how little responsibility the rest of the world trusts you with….. don’t you have a ledge to be hanging out on?
Jerky “Jerkoff” < —– I like him. He's funny. 😉 I see you didn't take the time to read the link. Figures. You can't tell cult members that the world isn't going to end unless the cult leaders say so. Phone up Pat and ask him how his FBI interview went.
Great read, Jerky, but they left out the Trilateralist and the CFR connection. I didn’t Jesse Ventura was a football fan.
The Hitler quote was a nice touch though. Lyndon Larouche would be proud.