Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Ultimate Sentence

I've been sneaking peeks behind my little black and white screened reality show for more than 7 years. In that time I've covered numerous murders, mysterious deaths, car accidents, and other varied life altering/ending events. Tonight will be the same.

Well...except for one detail.

Tonight the life ending is planned.

Alan Matheney is scheduled to die by leathal injection tonight at Indiana State Prison. Matheney was convicted of brutally beating his former wife Lisa Bianco outside of their home in northern Indiana.

Thankfully I will not be witnessing the execution. I will be close though. I will be safely tucked away in a conference room waiting to hear from the prison spokesperson. A little after midnight, I will be in place behind my reality TeeVee, framing up my shot waiting to hear that the state has carried out the sentence. I'll also be one of the first to find out what if any were the last utterances from the condemned.

I don't know what I'll walk away with from this tonight. I'm undecided on the issue. It's hard to argue that Matheney deserves to take up space above ground after what he did to Lisa Bianco. On the other hand I don't feel that putting someone to death actually accomplishes anything. However, I'm not paid to have an opinion.

But, when I wake up in the morning, maybe I'll have a better understanding of the State's ultimate punishment.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Third verse...same as the first(and the second)

Or...Meetings: The great reward of Nightside.

County City building- Many a TeeVee photographer knows the joy of politicians, concernedNO Tondu!!! residents, and developers gathered inside the darkened council chambers.

I've been stuck in my own personal Groundhog Day, except that I'm not in Pennsylvania, not as funny as Chris Elliot, and not stuck getting snowed in every day(not yet at least).

One of the jobs of news people is to listen to the clarion call of the numerous NIMBY groups. Ours is not the place to opine on the said complaints of concerns of those who do not want the new shopping center, new road, or new developement. Neither do we weigh in for those who push such developments.

We simply try to gather video and soundbites from all the parties involved and encapsulate the arguments for the viewers tuning in for 20 minutes of news after the rousing evening of must-see prime-time TeeVee.
NO Tondu!!!
However, there comes a time after visiting the sites of the impending or impeding change, that the TeeVee makers must trudge into the darkened chambers that make up the home of the decision makers. When I say trudge I mean no disrespect. It's just that, I can think of nothing more boring to the viewer's eye than council chambers with people sitting around and talking.

What's harder is when you have to attend multiple meetings until the council(or whatever form of government you would like) makes a decision. You must then hear the same arguments several times, often the same arguments, forcing you to tell your viewers nothing new several nights in a row.

Just a little vent. I guess it's a small price to pay to get the chunk of change in your bank account every other week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Scribblings from a note pad


Blink, blink, the clock stares back unmoving.

"Whew, it was just a dream."

"Bill 110-05: An ordinance to vacate..." the clerk's voice drones on down the list.



"Brian, stop your scribbling. Our agenda item is coming up."

Suddenly the crowded room slams into focus like a lens being handled by a rookie who doesn't know how to finely finess the macro. I look up from my doodling to see the other photogs sauntering up to the podium to turn thier mics on.

That's when it hits me.

This is Nightside.

Four hours of public comment and I wish I was dreaming!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back to school

I was going to title this "Hot for Teacher" thinking the salacious title might titillate. However, that title might actually work against me. See, my wife is that teacher and she might swing by my ramblings here and I'd have to answer for the things I've done(believe me, I already have enough to answer for).

My wife has been a teacher for 7 years now. Teaching 4th through 8th grades. I've talked to her students several time through the years. Actually they've talked mostly to the reporters I've convinced to come along. I think I like it that way. I like the safety and security of being the unseen force behind the viewfinder. I do like the kids. So, when the lovely Mrs. Sapphoto asked if I'd come in and tell her 7th & 8th graders the magic and process of TV news, I easily obliged. Oh yeah, the free lunch helped entice me too. I also convinced my reporter friend Dustin Grove and my night side producer Jason Brocklesby to come along and help me tell the students how the rough draft of history is churned out.

After I finished munching on my sandwich it was my turn to talk.

I started a brief overview of my broadcast career. That's easy since it's been a relatively brief career. 2 years junior college, 2 years Southern Illinois University, 2 years schlepping away in southern Illinois, 5 years in Tampa driving around a Ford E350 van with a big pole impaling it's middle with a camera stashed behind my passenger seat. And now 2 years of rolling tape and rolling out cables on the events and happenings of Michiana.

Slight Aside here: I just realized that I've spent 9 years filling the insatiable appetite of the news beast this month. Wow. I'm getting older. (Not old.)

Dustin and Jason finished out the introductions talking about their backgrounds and why they decided to pursue the Siren of News that sings out her alluring song, trapping us much like flies to flypaper.

Then we answered questions from the students. Where do hurricanes come from?(They had been talking about Katrina for several days at school.) Sorry, we didn't bring the meterologist this time.

Do you travel? Some.

What's your favorite thing about your job? Being able to get outside and see something different everyday.

Can you be late? ...pause...ummm...pause...nervous looks...

From our initial response, you think they would have asked us the square root of pi.

Next came the nervous chuckles, and the reply, "Ummm, no you can't be late."

Living inside the little box of television news the only constants are: change, liveshots, stand-ups, and the unmovable, unrelenting deadline.

I don't remember exactly what we said, but we made sure the kids understood that the news was on at 5 and we had to have the story ready NO MATTER WHAT!

I'm not sure how we did talking to the students but my wife says there were plenty of "teachable moments."

Yeah school!!!