“During the week I have to be in by 8:30 p.m., weekends it’s 9:30 p.m.”
Geoffery Rogers, who is the “Youngest News Reporter in Rochester” (New York) according to his business card, Facebook page and Twitter account is gaining the attention and affection of many of Rochester’s police officers because, unlike most 14-year-old reporters who focus on their school’s cafeteria menu or modified sports teams, Geoffery’s beat covers shootings, motor vehicle accidents, house fires and other public safety events in his hometown.
Videos on his Facebook page show him at scenes day and night.
“During the week I have to be in by 8:30 p.m., weekends it’s 9:30 p.m.,” he said of his mother-assigned curfew.
He has covered marathons, festivals and other lighter events, but prefers crime coverage. He began reporting about two years ago when he was given the iPhone and visited a crime scene in his neighborhood.
“I walked up to the news reporters because they had these cool cameras and stuff and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this when I get older,’ so I bought some camera equipment and I just started doing this.”
But he began in earnest at the beginning of this summer when he decided he didn’t want to pay for his video game membership any more and needed to produce more content for his “fans” — as of 10 p.m. Thursday, 940 people “like” his Facebook page, GSL Show (GSL stands for Geoffrey Show Live). That’s a growth of 654 percent in the last week.
“I said, ‘You know what? I’ve gotta get back on my news because I can’t let all these fans down, these people who are watching me I can’t let them down so I just came out and started doing it again … this will be 42 crime scenes,” he said.
His mother said part of the reason her son started reporting was to make his neighborhood safer, and improve relations with police in his northeast Rochester neighborhood.
“I don’t know where it comes from,” laughs LaClara Carter, a local radio personality and stand-up comedian who hosts an open-mike night at Clarissa’s Lounge every Monday. “He does amazing things. Last year there was a bully situation in the neighborhood and he called 311 and got them involved. He was really concerned with keeping the peace, he just wanted to feel safer in his neighborhood — what could he do in his community to make it safer? It’s positive and he’s got a real strong relationship with the neighborhood police.”
Geoffery said he enjoys the conversations with officers and the interplay of interviews, but also wants to be taken seriously.
“They think I’m fooling around; people don’t take me seriously because of who I am and other kids who do all this stuff,” he said.[On being at a crime scene]: “It’s really nothing to me anymore, I’ve seen all types of stuff so it’s not traumatizing to me at all, I’m just like an adult,” he said. “I’m an adult in a kid’s body, you get it? My soul is old; I got an old soul.”
But his mother does worry, especially when he covers events such as a police chase and arrest of people on North Street a few months ago. Geoffery was in the middle of the chaotic scene and reported that dozens of police officers had guns drawn as they attempted to control a crowd.
“I do worry a lot, especially him being young and African-American … but they (the officers) look out for him,” Carter said.
(from an October 20th news story at the Democrat and Chronicle)