Keene, NH- Saturday’s celebration of the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire took an unusual turn as many Keene State College students and travelers to the event became drunk and disorderly.
Multiple sources claimed that the streets of Keene became chaotic when several house parties were shut down by police, which led to large numbers of intoxicated individuals roaming the town. Much of the mayhem- including rioters throwing liquor bottles, setting fire to various objects, and flipping over dumpsters and a vehicle- occurred on the outskirts of the festival’s location on Main Street.
Festival coordinator Ruth Sterling appeared to object to local news coverage of the rioting. The video above, from Keene public access station Cheshire TV’s Channel 8, shows Sterling repeatedly grabbing at reporter Jared Goodell’s microphone even after he criticized her for preventing him from doing his job.
Free Keene reported that Goodell spent over eight hours covering the Keene Pumpkin Festival and spent over $5,000 of his own money to assure production of the event’s coverage.
“Right now Ruth Sterling who is the festival coordinator is on site here, is being, well, she’s not letting me do my job and to report to you. She would not like me to tell you what is going on at Keene State College,” said Goodell as Sterling attempted several times to take away his microphone.
“Now I’m being called a Free Stater,” he said.
Goodell told Annabelle Bamforth of Benswann.com that he is not a Free State Project participant.
Sterling emphasized that the Pumpkin Festival was “100% safe” and the riots were not at the festival. “So if you think that inciting these people is a good idea,” Sterling said to Goodell, “I am going to pull the plug on you. Because you are a guest of the Keene Pumpkin Festival and I have assigned you this spot.”
“You heard it here first everybody,” said Goodell as Sterling circled him and continued attempting to wrestle away the microphone, “when you report the news, when you report the reality, the people in charge want to shut you down. This is against freedom of the press, folks.”
“We have been bringing you coverage all day. Yes, Ruth is correct that this festival is very important for Keene. We have been reporting that all day long,” said Goodell.
Sterling then accused Goodell of self-promotion. “I’m not self-promoting anything,” he said.
“Yes you are,” Sterling retorted. “Can we agree he’s self-promoting?” she yelled to the crowd.
“Everybody, Ruth Sterling, the festival organizer of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, censoring local media from the truth of what is happening outside the footprint,” said Goodell as Sterling walked away.
Goodell told Bamforth in an interview that Sterling stayed close to the set after the segment. He said that there were reports of Sterling attempting to find Channel 8’s power supply and ordering the station to shut down their broadcast. Goodell stated that the atmosphere was hostile during his interaction with Sterling.
Sterling could not be reached for comment.
UPDATE #2, October 22nd, 2014, 10:56 a.m. Eastern: Jared Goodell provided Bamforth with additional video, available below, that shows Goodell reading a statement from Keene State College officials regarding reports of violence and subsequent injuries occurring nearby the college before taking a commercial break. “This newly released video provides context to what was I reporting on when Ms. Sterling stormed the live TV set,” Goodell said. “It is clear that my reporting was based on facts and intended to warn viewers at home of safety dangers which could have been taking place outside their home.”