Saturday, January 02, 2010

A TV Guy's Sig Out

     I was asked to write an article for our station newsletter about my time at WSBT. This fits for my time at all my stations. I've been told all articles have to be passed by the corner office so I'm going to post it here as well. I didn't say anything derogatory, but you never know.

      Standing in a packed auditorium in the University of Notre Dame's Guglielmino Athletic Complex is where it hit me. I realized I was shooting my last press conference. I was waiting for the announcement of the new Notre Dame head football coach. This wasn’t my first time rubbing elbows with local and national media. There have been presidential visits (Mr Clinton and Mr Bush) There have been press conferences after NFL football games, rowdy fans at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII, and even a visit to the “Big House” for a Notre Dame/Michigan game. I’ve also done the mundane, knocked on the doors of grieving relatives, covered funerals of those just trying to make our communities safer. Those all have a place on the newsreel in my head. However, they’re a little harder to pull up compared to the stories of some of the characters I’ve met; the man who chased down two punks several miles through the streets of St Petersburg FL, the alligator that stopped traffic and just wanted to get past a fence into a retention pond, the boy in rural St Joseph County who found a piranha type fish, David Snyder and all of those shenanigans, and even the woman who sits on the side of the road waving to people looking to support our troops. I never won any awards(well actually I did win an AP award for my part of a story, but it was a junky story so I didn't think it counted). I admit, I didn’t really apply for any. But the memories I have from all of these stories good and bad make up for any statues that I might have on my mantle.

     Three and a half years ago, I didn’t think I would shoot many more press conferences. I made the move from being a grunt in the field to giving the orders to those grunts and the people who held the microphones for them. (Truly, I love you reporters! ☺) I wanted to gain experience on the other side of the storymaking process. Well was it a trial by fire. My first week as assignment editor, there was a terrible crash on the Indiana Toll Road. I had to roll crews after they were already done with their daily work. No sliding into the hot seat and getting settled.

      It was an interesting three years where I ended up organizing crews to cover the stories we all see on the news every night. I learned the needs of two different White House staffs when it came to covering Presidential visits. I learned how to get crews to "swing by" a location and "spray" some video. I learned how to deal with dispatchers who didn't want to give you information when the deadline keeps approaching. I also learned that the newscasts producers work on every day only get filled by the content we gather and create. I learned how to ask the engineers to teach me to keep from asking them questions(or to not break stuff). I learned how to ask account executives to get their clients my number when they have a story idea.
     The most important thing I've learned is the same thing I learned from the field. It's the people. Plain and simple, I've spent the last six and a half years working with a great group of people. Sure there are times where we don't make each other happy, but that's the way friendships go. You have a bunch of GOOD days, some GREAT days, and some LOUSY days. But they have always been with people I care about. I won't say I haven't worked with some people who weren't really made out for this TV thing, but I don't work with any of them now. Given our recent economic challenges, the team this past year has been the best group by far. I have really learned something from each and every one of you.

     I can't believe it's time for me to be saying my good-byes. In just a few short weeks I will be learning a whole bunch of skills. Mostly from a group of 5th graders. I will begin my student teaching at Emmons Elementary School in Mishawaka. I will finish my student teaching and Transition to Teaching classes by May and will be looking for a teaching job. I am leaving because God has called me. I am listening to his call and think it's time for me to seek my challenge in a place where I can see some of those stories up close again. And believe me every kid has a story. Good, bad, and well you know the saying.

     So, it's with some sadness, but with plenty of eagerness that I will not be out there in the trenches knocking over tripods to get the best spot or spending my time gathering names, birth-dates, and SSN's for an impending visit. I will miss all of that fun(most of it actually is), but most of all I will miss my friends and creating more memories of making TV with you.

I know the news will go on without me. The deadline doesn't stop nor care for those who fill our seats, but comes relentlessly on it's daily passing.

15 seconds, stand-by, cue!

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