Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week in Review...

It's been a workweek full of ups and downs. When I told a professor who has been a reporter, anchor, and news director that I found a job and was going to be reporting he said: Get ready for a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I've certainly been feeling some of those this week.

Rogue River Lodge Re-Opens
A historic dining lodge on Crater Lake Highway had lost popularity over the past 15 years or so, but new owners (from Walnut Creek) bought the property and renovated it. They opened the new Lodge on Wednesday, but this preview piece looked at what they aimed to do.

Medford Schools to Charge Rental Fees
In the past, the Medford School District charged some groups facility usage fees while some used it at no cost. Tuesday the District discussed the proposal of charging all groups a fee. Some non-profits and children's recreational leagues could be hit hard by the new price.
I liked doing this story because it was interesting and many of the people I needed to talk to actually wanted to talk with me. I made many calls and was able to get the interviews I needed. I also met the superintendent for Medford Schools and he was very helpful and friendly.

Later in the afternoon, a summer thunderstorm hit. This was big because we've had such hot and dry weather that the chance for wildfires goes up a whole bunch with the lightning strikes. There was over an inch of rain in a few hours, hail, and over 800 lightning strikes.

3 Bridges Program
Our General Manager, Renard, suggested this story in the morning meeting and gave me a contact for it. In the 15 minutes between when i first talked with him and when I arrived, he was able to wrangle up three clients to interview. Having everyone in the same building and having all of the interviews set up allowed me to shoot the entire package in just over an hour. This timeframe had been a goal that I'd been trying for for a while, but hadn't reached yet.

I did a folo (TV slang for follow-up) with Oregon Dept. of Forestry on what they were doing to look for fires that may have started or smoldered and were now starting because of the hundreds of lightning strikes from the day before.
After a lot of running around, changes of plans, and driving to where a fire engine was supposed to be, but wasn't there I started to head back to the station. However, it was about 2:30, I was still at least thirty minutes from the station and still hadn't shot a single frame of video.
I don't think it was my fault because I was told to go to different places by ODF, but nothing or no one was there. Still, to my producers and co-workers, the ultimate responsibility is mine. If I don't have video it's my fault.
I stopped by ODF headquarters and shot some video very quickly and got back to the station at 3:20. Not a lot of time to turn around all the stories I had that evening.
Somehow I was able to get all of the video cut and stories written and it all worked out OK.

Even though I ran into a lot of problems, I was very happy with how I handled it and how quickly I worked to make everything work. I couldn't have done it without help from some of my co-workers though. One helped write part of the story and another shot some video for me too.

I had three vosots and no packages. Which usually is a good thing. One was a folo with ODF on the fires, one was a story about Goodwill's Back to School Donation Drive, and the last was about a woman who had hundreds of thousands of dollars of property stolen from her.
I felt good about today because I worked quickly and was able to finish all of my stories and videos by 4:30. I had two live remote shots, one in the five and another in the six. I wouldn't have time to drive the 20 minutes from the Goodwill store back to the station to finish my other stories, so I had to finish everything before I left. And I was able to do it. Felt very good.
At Goodwill, I used some of the clothes as props during my live shot and felt pretty good about how I performed. Unfortunately those videos aren't online because our station has a policy not to showcase the "air check" (an in-house recording of the show) stalled and couldn't be used. This happens several times a week. But believe me, it was one of my better performances.

This one was a bit tougher, I worked on a story about people who dredge rivers in Southern Oregon; that is, they suck up dirt and ground at the bottom of the riverbed and send it through a sifter looking for gold. A state senator wants to ban out of state dredgers because they use public land and are a burden on law enforcement. I was able to interview the lawmaker and an out of state dredger, but the two sides of the story turned out to be a "He said, he said" argument. Both were on opposite ends of the spectrum and maintained the other was completely wrong. It's a difficult story to tell fairly.
Getting video was tough and I got a late jump on the story and it ended up being not as great as I thought it could have been. It was a not-so-solid way to end up the week, but since I'm working the weekend I'll have a few more chances...

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