Bob Tur

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Robert A. "Bob" Tur (born June 8, 1960)[1] is an American scientific researcher, and news producer that used his knowledge of sensor physics and systems integration to build the first modern news helicopters for live news reporting. As a broadcast reporter, and eventual 10,000 hour commercial pilot,[2] Tur created the Los Angeles News Service with fellow reporter, Marika Gerrard. Their news service was the first to use an AStar helicopter in a major city for the coverage of live breaking news,[3] and the first to televise a high-speed police chase.[4] Other noteworthy reporting included the attack on Reginald Denny during the L.A. Riots on April 29, 1992[citation needed], and was the first to locate and televise O.J. Simpson's infamous slow-speed chase in 1994.[5]

He was also called to cover what he describes in "Ultimate Police Chases" as "The weirdest chase he has ever been involved in" in approximately 1995. He was at home when he was called and requested to fly over the LA Freeway. When he and his team arrived at the location he found what he was asked to cover - several police units chasing a bus! The person who stole the bus was earlier in the bus company's office requesting work when he was informed that he was underqualified and had no experience. Angered by this he stole the bus. Bob Tur later said about this "He was rejected from a job driving a bus, but boy could he drive that bus". The Police eventually managed to capture the person, and he was sentenced to prison. However he was deemed as mentally incompetent and was sent to a mental institution and was released 10 years later in 2005.

In 2007 Bob Tur hosted his own documentary series on NBC's cable network, MSNBC, called Why They Run. The show reported on why criminal suspects ran from police, and included interviews with those actually involved in the country's most notorious police pursuits.

As a team, Tur and Gerrard received three Television News Emmy Awards; Two Edward R. Murrow Awards[6] for broadcast excellence (for his reporting on the Loma Prieta/San Francisco Earthquake, and a feature on American Jews leaving their homes for Israel at a time of war); An Associated Press National Breaking News award; The NPPA Humanitarian Award (see below); several Golden Mikes; and numerous other local and national citations.

Tur has also been credited with locating nine missing aircraft,[4] including Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771. The Pacific Southwest Airlines passenger jet suddenly dropped from radar, crashing in a remote mountain range near Paso Robles, California. An FBI investigation into the crash that killed all 44 people aboard found that a deranged and suicidal airline employee named David Burke smuggled a .44 Magnum revolver aboard the flight, using it to murder both the pilot and copilot while the doomed plane cruised at its assigned altitude of 22,000 feet (6,700 m).

Bob Tur has also been featured in well over two dozen programs, including NBC's Today, ABC's Nightline, Inside Edition, Rescue 911, and a two-part episode of the ITV documentary Police Camera Action! with Alastair Stewart in December 1996, called The Man Who Shot OJ. Tur is also a regular on the talk show circuit, frequently appearing on Fox News, CourtTV, and CBS. He currently has his own show on MSNBC, called "Why They Run".


Litigation against YouTube. U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals sides with Tur

On July 14, 2006, Tur's news operation was first to file a historic lawsuit in U.S. District Court against YouTube, to protect the rights of copyright holders. The lawsuit alleges hundreds of copyright infringements that have led to hundreds of illegal downloads.[citation needed] Among the works involved is the attack on Reginald Denny by a mob at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South-Central Los Angeles, shot minutes after four white Los Angeles police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King.

On April 5, 2012, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Tur, and his fellow plaintiff, media giant Viacom, Inc., ruling that the plaintiff's had presented enough evidence against YouTube to warrant a trial, and the case should not have been thrown out in summary judgement because "a jury could conclude that Youtube had direct knowledge of the infringing activity." The court did uphold the ruling that YouTube could not be held liable based on "general knowledge" that users on its site were infringing copyright. The case will be sent back to the District Court in New York to be tried. The case is worth more than 1 billion dollars in statutory and actual damages.

Other achievements

Tur was credited by the Los Angeles Times[7] with saving the lives of 54 people during a freak Southern California storm in January 1988. At the request of a local fire department, Tur piloted his AS-350B2 Eurocopter helicopter through 60-knot (110 km/h) winds, and driving rain, at night, to airlift stranded tourists from 22-foot (6.7 m) seas that pounded against their hotel, the Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club in Redondo Beach. Timing the interval of the waves, Tur and his camera operator, Byron Alperstein, made a dozen near-zero visibility takeoffs and landings without losing a single victim. Both Tur and Alperstein received a number of awards for their heroism. [8]

In August 2006, Tur was cited by Israeli medics for saving the life of a IDF soldier during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.[9] During a Katyusha rocket attack, Tur, a trained medic and his high-definition television news crew came across a 19-year-old soldier trapped in his crushed vehicle. With the soldier unconscious and not breathing, Tur, who had been shooting a documentary for an American satellite news operation, performed an emergency tracheotomy, which restored his breathing. The rescue, which was caught on tape by his reporter, Dave Barker, aired as part of a news package focusing on the quality of life for the residents living on the Israeli-Lebanon border. Tur's cinematography, coupled with Barker's commentary, helped earn Cablevision the highly prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award. It was Tur's second Murrow.

Tur has also been credited for his work in copyright protection by proving that news photography is copyrightable because photographers exercise creative control over their photography by choosing the composition, focus, and exposure of the subject matter.[citation needed] To date, Tur and his ex-wife, Marika Gerrard have won seven United States 9th Circuit decisions dealing with intellectual property protection, establishing that news videotape is copyrightable, and a landmark victory that bars a "fair use" defense by an infringing news organization that copies the video images of another news organization and then broadcasts the work as their own.[10] Tur and Gerrard's work in copyright are widely considered by legal experts as a series of major victories for creators of intellectual property, allowing writers, actors, producers, directors, and union members to be fairly compensated for their work.[11]

BP Oil Spill

In the months following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by BP, Bob Tur was hired by BP to conduct scientific studies to locate the submerged oil that threaten the sealife swimming through hydrocarbon plumes deep below the Gulf. Tur was successful in being able to track up to 1,400 square miles (3,600 km2) a day for deadly MS-252 toxins, results confirmed by Ken Lukins, BP's consulting director of their High Interest Technology Test (HITT) Team, but despite the results that could keep neurotoxin dosed fish, and crabs from those that consume Gulf seafood, BP has been unwilling to green light Tur's scientific helicopter based sensor program.

Personal life

Tur's marriage with Gerrard came to an end in 2003. The couple have two children: Katy (born October 26, 1983),[12] and James (born November 19, 1985),[13] a physics graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following the breakup, Tur dated Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher; they split in late 2005.[14] Tur's daughter, Katy, is an Emmy Award winning local and national NBC News reporter, who also reported for MSNBC during the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, BC. The 28 year-old, like her mother, is an expert videographer who enjoys covering dangerous stories.


  1. ^ Date of birth found on the California Birth Index 1905-1995 under TUR, ROBERT A, on June 8, 1960, in Los Angeles County.
  2. ^ FAA pilot records
  3. ^ New Yorker Magazine-August 1, 1994
  4. ^ a b Jerome, Richard; Young, Stanley (September 12, 1994), "Chopper Newshounds Bob and Marika Tur are L.A.'s Prying Eyes in the Sky", People,,,20103873,00.html, retrieved October 1, 2009 
  5. ^ CBS News, 60 Minutes-The Man That Shot O.J.
  6. ^ KCBS News Radio-San Francisco-Loma Prieta Earthquake-October 17, 1989
  7. ^ "Gathering More Than News" Editorial Section-January 20, 1988
  8. ^ Los Angeles Times-January 19, 1988
  9. ^ HDNews (VOOM), News 12-Long Island
  10. ^ Los Angeles News Service v Tulo, Los Angeles News Service v KCAL, Los Angeles News Service v Reuters
  11. ^ Justice Kim Wardlaw, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals transcript
  12. ^ Date of birth found on the California Birth Index 1905-1995 under TUR, KATHARINE BEAR, on October 26, 1983, in Los Angeles County.
  13. ^ Date of birth found on the California Birth Index 1905-1995 under TUR, JAMES BEAR, on November 19, 1985, in Los Angeles County.
  14. ^ NPR radio