Monday, July 12, 2010

First Day

I reported at KDRV at 8:30 this morning for my first day of work! I spent most of the morning getting a tour of the station, meeting my co-workers, and filling out paperwork and processing forms. The highlight of the morning was being able to sit in on the 10am Production Meeting for that evening's 5:00, 6:00, and 6:30 shows. Overall, I got to know the station pretty well in the small amount of time before lunch.

The television magic happened after lunch. I worked with the Senior Producer to learn iNews, the software Newswatch 12 uses to create scripts, share story ideas, and create the rundowns for the shows. I was a little familiar with the software after interning at KRON-4 in San Francisco, but to get hands on experience and personal stories from the producers and reporters helped too. After getting the chance to use it hands-on that afternoon, I had a much better understanding of the program and how it helps get the show organized.

Then I sat with reporter Steven Sandberg, who I worked with in March '09 and who helped me get the job at KDRV, as he wrote and edited his two stories for the day. We use an editing program called Edius. It is similar to the editing software I've used before and shouldn't be too big of a jump.

At the end of the work day I sat in the control room as the Director and five others put together the show. I sat in front of a wall that must have had three dozen monitors with different camera and VCR feeds. The director was making commands that seemed almost foreign to me: "Roll Deko," "Standby C," "Up Audio," "Cue." However everything looked smooth in the Program monitor (the feed that is sent out to TV watchers at home). The people who work in the control room or booth do a great job of being in sync with each other and having the right timing to make the hundreds of individual portions of the show come together without any apparent seams.

One example of the creative ingenuity and uncoachable timing the Newswatch 12 team showed came during a live shot in the first three minutes of the 5:00 telecast. There was a big fire in a city near Medford and the two lead stories looked at the fire from different angles. The two reporters were both on scene and were slated for a live shot to lead into their story, which they would narrate while video of the fire played over their voice. The first reporter appeared on camera and then the video started rolling while she gave her voice over off camera. While she spoke, she handed the mic off to Steven, the second reporter on scene. All with out skipping a beat. But the difficulty would come in the short gap between the end of her story and Steven's first appearance on camera. As soon as she finished her voice over, with another camera being live, she ducked out of frame and the director took Steven in the next live shot. Had he taken his camera a half second earlier, or if the first reporter was a half second too slow, it would have botched the trick and would have looked very unprofessional. But the team pulled it off. They seem to always make it work, no matter how close it might be.

I learned today that KDRV is received very well by viewers in this Medford market. Neilsen ratings for the May sweeps were released recently and the shares that the station received during news broadcast times were higher than the combined shares of the competing stations. The management of the station have a background in news and know that the station's emphasis on news is what will set it apart in this market. I'm lucky to be entering such a work environment that believes this and know that the pressure is on to perform my best and contribute as much as I can.

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