DC Spot News Photographers

(bios were submitted by the photographers and lightly edited for the Web.)

Joe Brown


Tom Carter

Carter was born in 1949 and lived his entire life in Prince George's County. He fell in love with photography when he took a course in high school. He joined the school newspaper while at Prince George's Community College and the photography club.

It was also during that time that a fellow student at the college sold him his first police/fire radio in 1969. It was a surplus tunable military radio from a World War II Army tank. Carter was able to tune the radio to the county’s low-band fire frequency. He has been listening to police and fire broadcasts ever since.

Carter says he went to some fire scenes and took spot-news pictures back then just for the experience. But because of the lack of money and the high cost of photography he quit taking pictures in 1970.

Carter joined the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department as an ambulance technician in 1972. He became one of the first people in the county to be a full-fledged EMT but was forced to quit in 1982 because of hernia complications.

After Carter heard a minister in church preach about using one's talents in 1985, he started taking pictures again. That same year he started as a videographer and newscaster for the Bladensburg Cable News (now defunct) for about two years.

Using his scanner, Carter monitored a plane crash in the front yard of a house in Riverdale Heights in 1985. He lived five minutes away, and drove to the scene. When Carter arrived, firefighters were pouring foam on the plane which was still smoldering. He shot all the pictures he could, about 40 shots, before firefighters covered the plane in foam. The media showed up after the plane was covered. When Carter realized he had the only action shots, he called the Washington Post, which told him to bring in his pictures. The Post bought two pictures which both ran on the front page.

Carter has been taking and selling pictures ever since. His pictures have appeared in publications such as: The Prince George's Post, Prince George's Post Sentinel (now defunct), South County Times (now defunct), Beltsville News, Laurel Leader, Greenbelt Review, Bowie Blade, Diamondback, Washington Post, Washington Times, Montgomery Journal, Montgomery Sentinel, Arbutus Times, Black Explosion (a now-defunct African-American newspaper), Soundoff (Fort Meade). He is freelancing for a new magazine, the Prince George's Suite.

Carter was the main photographer for the Prince George's Sentinel for about two years after the paper's photographers left until they could hire a replacement. He freelanced for the Prince George's Journal for 17 years and became the paper's main photographer for about a year after the photographers left until they hired another photographer. He was still freelancing for the Journal up to a week before the paper closed its doors.

Now Carter takes pictures for an agency in California that supplies photographs to textbook publishers. He has had pictures published in more than 100 textbooks all over the country including home economics, terrorism in American, and numerous police/fire-related textbooks.

Listening to scanners Carter became interested in police dispatching. He dispatched Takoma Park police for three years, then Bladensburg police for a year. In August 2006 Carter became the fourth county police dispatcher to retire after dispatching for more than 30 years.

He has no plans to retire from photography. He says he plans to continue taking pictures until he dies. Carter says he is still single because he never met the right woman. For more on his background and samples of his work see:


James R. Davis

Davis has been a freelance videographer covering over-night spot news in the Washington D.C. area since 1996. He is the Webmaster of dcfire.com and is a volunteer firefighter in Prince George's Co. He has been with Branchville Volunteer Fire Department since 1985.

Davis says he has a bachelor of science degree in family studies/psychology/sociology/education from the University of Maryland, College Park and lives in Greenbelt.




Steve H. Eisen

Eisen was born in 1947 at Sibley Hospital. By age 16, Eisen's fellow CB'er, Richard Choi, introduced him to monitoring police and fire broadcasts using tunable kit-built receivers. Eisen soon started his news career monitoring a tunable radio Choi built for him. He monitored such frequencies as the original fire dispatch channels used by Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, 33.78 and 33.82 MHz.

Around 1964, WWDC offered $1 to $5 for news tips. One of the first tips Eisen scooped for WWDC was a robbery/holdup/shooting/kidnapping with the arson of a grocery store in Aspen Hill on Georgia Ave. He soon became familiar with legendary Washington personalities such as Ed Gallagher, Willard Scott and one of his mentors, Larry Krebs.

Eisen earned an associate of arts degree from Montgomery College-Takoma Park in 1970 in humanities and social sciences. That same year, Eisen reported spot news for WAVA, then he worked at WTOP-AM, copying tapes in the newsroom. From 1966 through 1971, Eisen worked for Safeway. But his first sales job was in 1971 as a representative for Mrs. Paul's (frozen foods). While on the road as a salesman, Eisen says he always kept an ear on his radio.

Eisen is proud that he was able to use a radio to save the lives of three people in three separate incidents by responding to the scene to administer first aid.

As a child, Eisen says he sometimes would arrive at crime scenes on his bicycle. One of the early fires he "buffed" was at age 13, which was at Cook's supermarket in the Woodmore shopping center. In 1964 he equipped a Ford Falcon with a 102-inch CB antenna and a crystal receiver. And in 1971 he took his stepfather's Polaroid to Lockwood Drive in White Oak where three people were killed in a house fire. The Post couldn't use the pictures, but he says it was good experience and taught him a lesson. While at the fire, some of his radio and camera gear were stolen from the front seat of his car.

In 1974, Eisen shot his first still published photograph. A teenager at a PEPCO substation in Four Corners was electrocuted when he climbed the wall. The Washington Post published the photograph. Eisen sold pictures regularly to the Post, Star, Journal and Firehouse Magazine. He started doing slides for the TV stations in 1975-76. They paid him $20 for each slide.

Eisen got married in 1975 and moved to Beltsville. He joined the local volunteer fire company (Co.41 Beltsville-Calverton) after being encouraged by one of the fire chiefs. He later divorced in 1983 with no children. Eisen visited China in 2004 to get engaged to be married sometime during 2005-2006.

Eisen gave up on still photographs and purchased his first video camera, a Panasonic VHS-C, in 1999. His first news video to air was that of an accident in Beltsville on I-95 which he sold to WUSA. He had also shot 16 m.m. film for a defunct seatbelt safety documentary in 1982.

At one point during the 1970's and 1980's, Eisen said he sold news tips to all of D.C.'s news operations, including A.P., all TV and radio news outlets, and the Post, Times and Star.

He says he likes being in the "know" and he likes being a "prestigious know-it-all." As his business card says, he has a "nose for news."

Among his most notable works are videos of several of the sniper shootings. Eisen co-authored a book, Trauma Code, including pictures he and others shot of tragic incidents few publications would considering printing. Eisen says he has covered every train wreck in the Washington-Baltimore corridor, including the Chase, Maryland wreck.

Eisen says he likes to pay back police or firefighters or aid in their investigation by providing photos or videos free of charge. He has a vast collection of photos from the past 30 years for those interested. You may reach him anytime at 301-933-6804.

Chip Forte

Zane Gorove

Gorove was born in Evanston , Illinois but lived in the D.C. area since he was eight months old. He started listening to a scanner as a teen. Gorove mostly shoots for pleasure, including D.C. protests, equestrian events and "barnimals," but sells occasional spot news video to local stations. He is a landscape contractor and is married with no kids. Gorove shots stills with a Canon 20D and plans to buy a digital video camera to replace his Sony Hi8.





Vito Maggiolo

Vito Maggiolo was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1952. He is a life-long fire buff, as far back as he can recall, spending time in local firehouses wherever he lived. During his college years in New York until moving to D.C. in 1978, he served as an auxiliary firefighter and auxiliary lieutenant with FDNY Engine 62, as well as helping to operate the Bronx Salvation Army Disaster canteen, during a period of fire activity in the city known as "The War Years."

While living in D.C. during 1967-70, Vito became associated with the Friendship Fire Association, the Washington D.C. fire buff club, and began assisting with its canteen operation. He was granted membership upon turning 18 and has remained a member ever since.

Maggiolo began his television news career in 1975, working for Action Movie News in New York City. He was the original assignment editor for this freelance organization, which covered breaking news in the New York metro area. He monitored activity throughout the region, dispatching and coordinating the work of several photographers, and kept in contact with the local and network news stations that purchased their material.

In 1978, Maggiolo's company was contracted to staff a Washington television news bureau for the Independent Television News Association (ITNA) and Vito returned to D.C. as a sound technician and cameraman covering national news.

When the Cable News Network was established in 1980, he became the operations director for the fledgling network's D.C. bureau, working with his company as a contractor for CNN. He became a direct employee of CNN in 1980, beginning as an assignment editor, and continues to work at the network.

Maggiolo's career at CNN has taken him on overseas assignments as well as across the country. Among other stories, he has covered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the events in China during Tiananmen Square, U.S. peacekeepers in Bosnia, and he was a senior producer in Baghdad during a significant portion of the first Gulf War.

In addition to his work responsibilities, Maggiolo provides support services to the D.C. Fire and EMS Department as coordinator of field operations for the Friendship Fire Association's canteen and rehab operations. He also serves as the department's unpaid, civilian video photographer, known on the radio as "Car 100."

Vito's awards for his work with CNN include two national emmy awards for both China and Gulf War coverage, national emmy certificates for CNN's coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and the events of 9/11, and a DuPont for his producing in China, among other honors. He was also the recipient of the local chapter of the Radio-Television News Directors Association's 2002 Peter Hackes award, presented annually for accomplishments in the industry.

As the D.C. fire videographer, Maggiolo documents field incidents and provides all his raw video to the agency's archives at the Training Academy. If an event warrants media coverage, the material is made available to news outlets as a no-charge courtesy. In this role, Maggiolo considers his most notable videos an electrical explosion in the Foggy Bottom metro tunnel, an aerial ladder rescue of an elderly woman from a high-rise apartment building in D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood, and firefighters trying to battle their way through heavy fire at a fatal southeast row house blaze. His work for the department also won him a first place award in the video division of the International Fire Photographers Association's 2004 photo contest.

Maggiolo holds a bachelor of arts in mass communications from Lehman College of the City University of New York. He is also a member of the White House News Photographers Association.

Ken Mezger


Bob Pugh

Pugh lives in Northern Virginia and began his freelance career as a still news photographer in the early 1980’s shooting 35mm black & white stills for AP, the Washington Post and UPI.

Covering such events as demonstrations in Washington, D.C., the Air Florida Crash, local crime and fires and following the KKK around Maryland for several years, Pugh says he was able to teach himself what was newsworthy and how to best market his work.

He began video news photography in the late 1990’s shooting Hi8 video of local news events for the four local D.C. TV stations. Pugh has since upgraded his equipment to professional digital broadcast standards. Among his most noteworthy accomplishments was covering the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon in both still and video formats. He is seen below photographing the Pentagon just to the left of the car.

Mark Reinstein

Spencer Stevenson

Spencer Stevenson has been a freelance photographer/videographer since 1989. He is a volunteer firefighter/EMT in Prince George's County, Maryland. Spencer has been known to put his camera down to assist on accident scenes, pull hose lines and even throw ladders when needed at fires. He lives in LaPlata, Maryland with his wife and two children.

Stevenson is one of the only "stringers" in the Southern Maryland area. His most famous video was the tornado aftermath in LaPlata several years ago. Stevenson was on the scene within minutes shooting video and calling the news stations feeding them details.

Tom Yeatman

Tom Yeatman, born 1954, became interested in police scanners in 1979 when a teen-aged neighbor in Landover Hills had a scanner in his car. Yeatman heard the transmissions and instantly became "hooked."

Around the same time, Bob Pugh was getting Yeatman interested in 35 m.m. still photography. As a result, Pugh too became interested in scanners.

Yeatman started monitoring scanners, responding to scenes and gradually started shooting spot-news incidents. One of the first was one of two boys playing around a power plant in the 6800 block of Riverdale Rd. Both were severely burned. A medevac helicopter landed across the street. Yeatman submitted his pictures to the Washington Post. They did not run, but he kept shooting news photos.

Yeatman says it became clear around 1990 that ENG (electronic news gathering) was the way to go. Washington has four TV stations who pay more and are much more in need of "visuals" than the area newspapers. Yeatman says the newspapers reluctance to show interest in spot-news photos led him to abandon still photo news gathering entirely.

Tom Yeatman, below, with Bob Pugh in the driver's seat. That is Washington Post reporter, Kevin McManus, in the backseat.