The Highs of Journalism: 5 News Reporters Who Got Buzzed on Camera

TV news reporters typically do their best to act like they are serious people doing a serious job, at least when on camera. But sometimes the mask drops a bit, or the make-up is too thick, revealing—to the sadistic amusement of the viewer—the person behind the persona. This may occur when reporters are reporting on drugs or when reporters on drugs are reporting. Or, best of all, both.


Last month a video of BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, laughing hysterically in front of a burning pile of opium and hashish went viral after the reporter himself shared the video as a “Christmas present” to his Twitter followers. This reminded us of other times reporters have been intoxicated in front of the camera.

Here, for your exploitative pleasure, are five videos proving that far from being teleprompter-reading automatons, news reporters are flesh-and-blood humans with the capacity to get as loopy as the rest of us.

1. BBC Reporter Gets a Cannabis Shot or Two

Unlike Sommerville, the state of inebriation of this BBC reporter is deliberate. Maybe too deliberate. She visits a psychiatric research center conducting studies of the possible neurological associations between psychosis and the active ingredients in cannabis, which are THC and cannabinoids. She agrees to take part in the experiment, which involves getting two IV infusions and documenting the effect of each on her state of mind. After the first infusion—a combination of THC and cannabinoids—she laughs and laughs and laughs; after the second infusion, of pure THC, she stops laughing. Fast.

2. CNN Reporter Makes “Contact” With a Colorado High

The most popular YouTube video of a news reporter getting inebriated in recent memory is this “special” on Anderson Cooper’s AC 360 on CNN which explored Colorado’s newly legalized recreational pot industry by sending reporter Randi Kaye to different pot shops around the state. In her final segment, Kaye rides in a limo with a group of “ganja gurus” who are testing different strains of marijuana. The predictable result is a very engaging and convincing attack of the giggles. “She got in contact with sources,” says Cooper. “A lot of contact.”

3. Fox News Reporter Goes Out of Control in Colorado

The uploaders of this video had apparently been lucky enough to have their DVR running when they caught this live Fox News segment about a group of Colorado pot smokers driving under the influence. But it turns out the only under-the-influence driving the network caught was its own reporter, Dan Duro, who is filmed stumbling and bumbling in the snow as he delivers his lines along with a lot of improv. Sure, there is no way to factually confirm that he was high (or, more likely, drunk—this is Fox, after all). But even the show’s anchors back in San Diego had to cut him off to ask him if he’s “having a party over there.”

4. Geraldo Rivera Tokes Up for Real in 1974

In another Fox News report, this one on medical marijuana, host Bill O’Reilly pulls up a brilliant little gem of a video from 1974′s Thursdays With Geraldo. A doe-eyed Rivera is shown smoking a doobie “under medical supervision” at a New York University research center. After just a few puffs, the legendary news reporter has trouble keeping his eyes open, and when the researcher tells Geraldo that the pulse is a good indication of the “height” of intoxication, Geraldo replies, “It’s pretty high.”

5. Fox 13 Reporter Has an “Ice Cold Cerveza” Moment

This video is a short but sweet testament to the risks live news reporters face every time they step in front of the camera. Salt Lake City-based Fox 13‘s Sean McKane misses his “on air” cue to start his segment on the death of a rookie cop and is broadcast finishing what he thinks is an off-camera conversation. In the cool tones of Clint Eastwood, he is heard saying, “…got an ice cold Cerveza.” “Uh, Scott?” says a man behind the camera. The instant he realizes that he is on air, he flips seamlessly into his best professional sober-voiced self, erasing almost all viewer recall of his mortifying gaffe. Good work, McKane.

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