Media Slut Michael Tracey Gets Camera Shy

Categories: Media

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The April 10 Message column kicks off with an anecdote about University of Colorado professor Michael Tracey, one of the journalism department faculty members who assembled earlier that month to mull the future of the Campus Press, CU’s student-operated online newspaper. Tracey wigged out after yours truly snapped the mediocre classroom image of him and colleague Len Ackland included here. “Ask permission before you take a photograph,” he barked, even though it was common knowledge among attendees that press would be at the gathering. In response, I asked if he or anyone else had an objection to additional picture-taking, or if he wanted me to exclude him from subsequent clicking. But Tracey didn’t answer, choosing instead to turn away and continue his conversation with Ackland, seemingly satisfied that he’d already made his idiotic point.

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In contrast, Tracey didn’t have the slightest problem with me taking this second shot outside the Boulder Justice Center in August 2006, shortly after the arrest of John Mark Karr. As a reminder to those with short memories and/or the ability to block out irritating incidents from the past, Karr nursed an unhealthy obsession with a certain JonBenét Ramsey – and over time, he began sharing his creepy thoughts with Tracey, whose own fixation on the late tot led to a series of documentaries that have precious little to do with the sort of journalism the prof is ostensibly paid by CU to teach. (Get the whole story here.) Tracey shared these back-and-forths with Boulder law enforcement types, who eventually arranged for Karr to be collared in Thailand and dragged back to the states as a suspect in JonBenét’s murder. When Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy called a news conference to talk about this bogus break in the case, Tracey turned up and practically leapt into the media swarm, eager to soak up every last drop of attention, glorious attention.

These days, apparently, he’s less eager to shove his dashing profile into the nearest lens. And for that, we should all be grateful. -- Michael Roberts

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