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Being hub of tabloid universe is tiring; let's hope it moves on

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Court bailiffs and a Sheriff's Deputy escort the suspect in a kidnap case past a waiting gaggle of reporters and photographers on Monday at Strafford County Superior Court. (Rochester Voice photo)

Dunbarton, N.H., may be the geographical center of New England, but the epicenter for tabloid news last week was Rochester no doubt.

In the space of three days we had news reports of a Rochester woman kidnapping a stranger's baby after the man had stopped to offer her a lift, an arrest in a bizarre beating in the city's Planet Fitness parking lot and the county's first indictment in a "Revenge Porn" case.

On Monday the alleged kidnapper created the biggest ruckus as she was paraded into a Strafford County courtroom before a gaggle of press with video cameras held high and still photogs with motordrives locked on fast and furious.

When the suspect walked through the upstairs lobby and past the outer door of the courtroom she was whisked into a sideroom, so all the photogs rushed inside the courtroom to get a picture of her as she entered.

Pretty soon the courtroom was packed with onlookers, who were each photographed as they came through the courtroom door by cameras hoping get that "money" shot of the defendant.

So it went like this. We'd see a figure on the outside of the door, then lift our cameras at the ready like marksman. Then wait breathlessly ... the door opens, and you hear the fusillade of clicks, then groans from the photogs and sheepish grins from the bailiff or other court official who had caused the wasted effort.

The ridiculousness went on like that for at least a half hour while lawyers and others prepared for the arraignment, which, itself, ended up being pretty mundane.

The next day, Tuesday, there was supposed to be a 1 p.m. arraignment for the suspect in the beating case. He didn't show as he waived his arraignment, but his victim, a teenage girl who has been open with the press, did. When some from the media began grilling her about the case as she left the courthouse, she got frustrated, yelled at them and ran through the parking with her friend to their car.

When this writer rolled into the parking lot at the perfect time, we found about 10 reporters, photogs and cameramen chasing the girls halfway to their car before stopping. For a moment with all the tumult I thought perhaps it's Jared Kushner coming out of the courthouse.

Do you think we could get all the out-of-town TV stations and newspapers to come to a play at the Rochester Opera House or the Riverfest or an outdoor concert at The Governor's Inn?

Yeah, keep dreaming.

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