Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I last posted something. I've been busy doing things around town and editing a pair of weddings I shot over the summer. So, I haven't had a ton of time to post new entries or stories, but I'm slowly working back to it.

To start, here's a report I did last week about an elementary school in Ashland. Walker Elementary says 62% of its students are in poverty and they have the lowest test scores in the District.

Last Monday, the Ashland School Board attended a presentation by the school that demonstrated how it was working to improve its students.

I was originally told the meeting may discuss the future of the school and the possibility of reducing the number of teachers, or even closing the school entirely. However that wasn't the case at all. As I got there, my story changed from covering the meeting, to finding out what the school was doing despite all of the possible obstacles it faced.

Hopefully, it turned out ok.

Also, there's more blog entries coming...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow Friday: 3 Ms: Mayne, Mango, and Miracle

Happy Friday! It's finally getting to be Autumn weather in Southern Oregon. Earlier this week we had highs in the mid 80s, but it's starting to get cloudy, windy, and sprinkle raindrops. In case it's wet in your neck of the woods and you want to stay indoors, here's a few videos to check out.

Of course, I'd love it if you posted some videos or songs in the comments box below and passed along anything you like too!


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Kenny Mayne is a well-known comedic ESPN personality. Every so often he produces a short video that airs on TV and lives online. Somehow, I came across this one and it had me laughing throughout. This episode takes viewers on a fictional view behind the scenes as a newbie joins the ESPN team. It reminds me a bit of my experience starting out in the TV biz. Just exaggerated. A lot.

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This is a song I heard back in April and fell in love with. I remembered that I liked it so much but didn't have it. I downloaded it this week and have been listening to it nonstop. What do you think it's about?

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Found this video on facebook. An 8 month old baby that was born deaf had implants inserted in into his ear. This video shows one of the first times he is able to hear. I can't get over his reaction to hearing the world around him for the first time, especially his mother's voice.

I think it shows how important human contact and communication is to a person's emotions...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Catching Up on Stories

It's been a while since I posted stories that I've covered. I've been spending as much time I can with my friends before they left and in the sun before it leaves, as well. However, now I've got a bit of time and I'm happy to post some of the work I've done lately.

Free After-School Dinners
We've all heard about free school breakfasts and lunches, but some children in the Rogue Valley also receive a free supper. It's part of an after-school program sponsored by Sodexo Catering (who is also the food supplier at Saint Mary's) and non-profits. It was a really cool program to learn about and I'm glad i got to do the story.

First Southern Oregon Gay Pride Parade
Last week was National Coming Out week and Ashland celebrated with its first ever Gay Pride Parade. It's kind of a big deal that a town with a population of 19-thousand in a relatively conservative area (So. Oregon) is hosting an event like this. Usually you hear about big cities like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago hosting parades, but I liked that a small town rallied together to do something like this. The parade it self was on Saturday, but I covered a preview of the weekend's events on Thursday and Friday.

Dirty Dancing
Grants Pass High School's homecoming dance was came to a grinding halt when students were accused of dancing inappropriately. This was the second time students had done so and the school's administration is considering canceling dances for the rest of the year. It's an interesting story but I knew that I'd need something visual to really bring the story home. While I was talking to students, one told me about a youtube video that was taken on cell phone while the dance was shut down. Thankfully the audio was usable and I incorporated it. I think the story is pretty interesting and could lead to good discussion about what's appropriate for a school-sponsored event.

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood in Medford is receiving a million federal dollars over the next five years to implement a teen outreach program that has been shown to reduce dropout rates, teen pregnancy, and improve decision making. It sounds like it's oging to be a good program that will help hundreds in the Rogue Valley. What made reporting this story difficult is that another reporter Tove conducted the first interview and I was picking up from there. I was going to be reporting on this story without as much background as I would normally like. I also needed a second interview and no one was getting to me. Thankfully, Tove helped and we were able to get Planned Parenthood to help too. The end result was a pretty cool story about the group's program.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Follow Friday: Good Life, Luck-y hit, See the Sea

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"GOOD LIFE" by OneRepublic

This song feels so positive. And that's why I like it.

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The Heisman-hopeful Quaterback may be lining up as a Linebacker this weekend...

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Beautiful images of San Francisco

The Unseen Sea from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Southern Oregon Adventures VI: Wine Tasting

Emily proposed a toast: "To first and last times..."

It's Emily and Kelley's last weekend in the Rogue Valley. Their plan was to fit in as many Southern Oregon funsies as possible before they head off to their new jobs early Saturday, October 16th (Emily will report in her hometown of Cincinnati and Kelley will report and produce in Evansville, Indiana).

Sunday we planned to go to a few wineries near Medford. It surprises some people, but there are a few dozen young, budding wineries in the area. Some even say that the Rogue Valley is the new Napa Valley in terms of wines and vineyards.

Kelley wasn't feeling 100% so we decided to take it slow and head to only one winery: Roxy Ann in Medford. It was actually the first time I had ever been wine tasting, and Kel and Em's last run through wineries in Southern Oregon. As we started tasting, Emily toasted, "To first and last times..."

We sampled some of the wines, then talked, laughed, and hung outside in the afternoon. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable. It was a great way to spend the last weekend with the girls.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Southern Oregon Adventures V: SF Giants

Back to California! Emily and Kelley had never been to a Giants game. They knew I was a big fan and they knew they wouldn't have too many more chances. So, about a month ago, we bought tickets to see the Giants take on the Padres in the final weekend of the regular season. Matt (our head director) and David (friend of the station) joined. We were excited!

The game was schedule to start at 6:00, but because the game had so much playoff implication, Fox made it the game of the week and pushed the start time to 1:00. Typically this isn't a big deal, but we were going to be driving down from Medford on Saturday morning and this moved our "on the road" time to 5am. Well, we made our 5:00 goal and were parked in San Francisco just after 11! Nice driving!

The park was packed even two hours before the first pitch. Inside, the fans were electric! There was a good vibe through the stadium and I was starting to think we might clinch the division with a win...

Well, the first inning quashed any of those thoughts. The Padres scored twice and quieted the crowd. We never really recovered and ended up losing 4-2.

Afterward, we ate at Amici's Pizza (and received free Dr. Peppers!). Then used Matt's magical iPhone to find a few sports bars to watch Stanford/Oregon and meet up with some former Newswatch12-ers.

That night we drove to Oakley and stayed at Casa Navarro. Mom and Dad did a great job putting together a little bed and breakfast type situation for the five of us to stay. We slept in, enjoyed a little brunch, then hit the road to get back to Medford. On the way, we stopped at In-n-Out in Redding. We're not lucky enough to have any in Medford, so it's a rare instance when we get to eat the delicious gourmet burgers, fries, and shakes at In-n-Out.

Southern Oregon Adventures IV: Summer Weekend, Ribs, Table Rock, and OSF

A few weekends ago we had some real warm weather. Since winter is just around the corner, I planned to soak it up as much as possible. Kelley and Emily held a garage sale to get ride of some of the stuff they wouldn't be taking with them when they move. The garage sale was fun. We played tetherball, frisbee, drums, and generally had a fantastic time hanging out in the sun. Ric, a co-worker at the station, put together an awesome little video from the weekend.

Garage Sale Weekend from Ric Peavyhouse on Vimeo.

Later on Saturday, we had an unofficial Farewell party for Em and Kel. Rem, an engineer at the station, cooked ribs. It was delicious!

Sunday, we were back at the Garage Sale. Great times.

After the sale, Kelley and I wanted to spend more time outside while the weather was still awesome. Kel said she wanted to make the Table Rock hike one more time before leaving. The Table Rocks are huge volcanic plateaus (according to wikipedia). Kel and I made the 30-minute hike to the top of Upper Table Rock and got a great view of the Rogue Valley.

Sunday wasn't over yet. Emily, Kelley, Adam, Em's friend from college, Dan, and I had tickets to the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. OSF presents Shakespeare's plays from spring to fall. We are lucky enough to be given a free media ticket for select shows in the early and late parts of the season. We saw "Twelfth Night," a great play about mistaken identity and love. The love part was ok, but the mistaken identity was great. I was surprised at how easy it was to understand the play, even though the actors spoke in the same Old English vocabulary Shakespeare used. It was a great play and a fantastic night.

((Pictures soon to come...))

All in all, it was a pretty amazing weekend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Follow Friday: Paul Simon, Mark Zuckerburg, Lou Seal

Internet has been a little dicey this weekend and I just got it up and running, hopefully, for good. Got three fun links to pass on for you this weekend.

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Heard this song on the radio earlier this week and listened to it as soon as I got back to the newsroom. Can't stop listening to it.

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Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The American President, A Few Good Men) wrote and David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, Benjamin Button) directed this film. So you know it's gonna be good. It certainly was. I could talk for a while about the film's intricacies and moments of shining brilliance (there may be an entry about it sooner or later), but I'll pass the reins to to someone who's much better prepared to do that. Faris Tanyos, our station's Web Producer, writes film reviews. He gave "The Social Network" an A+.
Unfortunately, I got several calls on the BatPhone and had to go into work earlier and missed the last 15 minutes of the film. But I was able to get a refund from the theatre. Almost makes it worth it.

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I love the Giants. They're my favorite sports teams. Last week a buddy sent me a few commercials for the team. Here's two of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The past two days have been dubbed vosot-palooza at work. In two days, I've covered a total of six vosots.

Just as a refresher: vosot is a format of a story. Vo stands for Voice Over and Sot stands for Sound on Tape and is another word for a soundbite. When you put them together during the show you have an anchor or reporter introducing the story on camera (and usually making the story as interesting and sexy as possible). The video rolls and the anchor/reporter's voice goes over the video. After a few sentences, you'll hear insight from someone involved in or affected by the story: a soundbite about 10 seconds long. Then there is a additional video and an additional sentence or two from the anchor/reporter to wrap up the story.

There are two forms for vosots: an anchor-read vosot and a reporter-fronted vosot. The anchor-read vosot is about 45 seconds long in total and he/she will do all the reading. A reporter-fronted vosot features the anchor introducing the story, tossing to a reporter, then the reporter appears on camera, then video rolls, then soundbite, then back to the reporter. Here's an example of an anchor-read vosot:

Three good stories on Monday.

First, I covered the dedication of Central Medford High School. Central was the old South Medford before South moved it a new campus across town. Today, Central operates as the continuation school and houses Special Needs classes. On Monday, Central held a celebration ceremony similar to South and North's dedications over the past two weeks. I couldn't stay for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting because I had to head out to other stories.

Second, Monday was the kick off day for Newswatch 12's annual charity drive: Coats 4 Kids. The station collects coats at about 50 locations across Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties. The coats are dry cleaned then donated to schools and charities who distribute the warm clothing for children in need. I shot a first-day wrap up of the first day of the drive. Though there were many locations that help our cause, I had a ton of trouble finding one that would talk to me on camera. I finally talked to a rep from Providence Hospital in Medford, but they hadn't yet received any coats. Go figure.

Third, I covered a City Council meeting in Phoenix (the town just South of Medford). The council was >hearing public comments (mostly criticism) about the increase in water fees. First, I had heard that I would probably be covering several city council or school board meetings during my tenure at KDRV and they tend to not be incredibly interesting content-wise or video-wise. While the latter was fairly true, it was actually pretty fascinating to hear what some of the Phoenix residents had to say. They logically and passionately argued that they fee raise was unjust, unfair, surprising, and wrong. Some were less logical and more passionate, which didn't help my story, but did provide a little entertainment. There were maybe 50 people squished into the small portable classroom-turned-office space room and they would applaud in support of a critical speaker. At one point, a Phoenix resident was addressing the council and began verbally attacking the President. Another council member became frustrated and finally blurted "I've had enough of your BS." Sadly, I was out of tape and wasn't rolling on the outburst. I feel as though I know a great deal more about the Phoenix water problems.

The meeting could have gone on for three or four hours. But I don't have the luxury of spending all of my time there. So I wrote part of my script as I was standing at the meeting, then gave myself a cut-off time that I had to leave by. 8:30 chimed and I headed out.

I got back to the newsroom and technology played me a rough hand, the camera wasn't connecting properly to the computer. I had 42 minutes of tape from the three stories. Typically, the hard drive can transport the video to the computer in about 10 minutes. But the hard drive was not working and I had to import the video from tape in real time. I wouldn't have access to any of my video or interviews until 9:40. Not a good thing when the news airs at 11 and scripts and video needs to be submitted much before that.

However, everything somehow worked out (it always seems to be that way) and the show went off without a hitch.

Tuesday was also a vosot-patrol day

I covered Jackson County Fire District 3 going door to door to check and replace smoke alarms in people's homes.

Then headed out to get video at a candidates forum for the two open positions in the Jackson County Commissioners Board.

Between the two events I was in Ashland at another City Council meeting that heard arguments for and against a new cell phone tower being built within city limits. Ashland is a bit like Diet Berkeley, a self-described "Conscious City," and has its fair share of residents with dreadlocks and beards, but because it's population is only about 20,000 it hasn't risen to Berkeley's levels of anti-establishment sentiments. However, citizens are proud that McDonald's failed in Ashland because no one went to it. McDonald's went out of business in Ashland because, apparently, no on in Ashland would spend their money there.
Anyway, the citizens are up in arms about a new cell phone tower that would be built in a new location in town. Ashlanders say the tower would cause health problems. They say the tower should be co-located, meaning: built next to, other cell towers in the city. However, the city planning commission says co-location is not possible and wants to build the tower on the roof of a strip mall. Many Ashlanders are upset about this. But legal restrictions are preventing them from arguing health concerns.
South Medford Dedication
South Medford High School moved from its old campus to its brand spanking new campus across town. I was on scene with a live remote hit in the 6:30 and was assigned to shoot a vosot for the 11. Good news: I really enjoy live remotes. Bad news: halfway through this live remote, technology failed and the station lost my video signal. It was all for naught.
However, I still turned the story for the 11. I also packaged a story about businesses around SOU's campus anticipation for the students to return for classes.

I think I might be getting that Education beat I talked about earlier. I was assigned a story about Rogue Community College enrollment going up 10%, or 600 students, from this time last year. I went to an event and shot video for a package then headed back to report live from RCC in the 6:30.
I got a suggestion from my producer about writing packages: find a particular person or business that exemplifies your story and tell their story as an illustration of the main point. I used that in this package about enrollment going up in the down economy. RCC is mainly an adult learning facility and I talked with a 38 year old man who went back to school because he realized he needed more education. He was exactly the kind of student I was looking to talk to about the story.

My work cell phone, which I lovingly call the BatPhone, woke me up at 8:15. A reporter had called in sick and I was asked to come in early to cover some stories.
Fortunately, I got a good story. Oregon's Governor, Ted Kulongoski, was in town to announce that electric vehicle recharging stations would be built in Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, and 8 other locations along I-5 in an effort to "electrify" the entire freeway from Canada to Mexico.

Called in early again today. But I got to cover a cool story about Medford Firefighter training. We were having trouble finding lead stories and joked that our lead story could be hunky firefighters. The firefighters training was pretty cool. Had I been in the right clothes, and had the temperature not been approaching 100˚, I might have given the exercises a shot. I wanted to make the story more important, so some digging helped me find that 54% of firefighters' deaths that come in the line of duty are the result of cardiac arrest. This training really strengthens the cardiovascular system and helps prevent those cardiac arrest situations. The two firefighters who contacted the station about the training told me that currently, Medford Fire only provides the training for new recruits, but they hope to expand it to all on-duty crews. They hoped that this story might be seen by city council members or people who have importance and show them how important this training was.
I was asked to do live remotes in the 5, 6, and 6:30 for this story. They all turned out great. The captain at the station offered to pull out the fire engine for our shot and made it look way cooler. For my vosot in the 6:30, I had my hit from inside the cherrypicker on the engine. Awesome!
Everyday I enjoy my job. Some days I love my job. This was one of those days.

It was a bit of a slow news day, but we pulled something out. (Interesting to note: no matter how slow of a news day it is, there is still shows that need to be filled. There's no way to say, "Well nothing happened in the world today, so we'll be going off air at 11:26 instead of 11:30 tonight." But more on this later…)
Tove showed me that SOU had posted their crime statistics on their website. After looking over their numbers, the amount of crimes had decreased between 2007 and 2009. I made some calls and talked with SOU officials about why that might be. They said, generally, the attitude of the incoming class can have a great impact on the over all temperament of the student body. However, SOU took a proactive route by providing programming and education that aimed at making students more aware of what the college expected of them behaviorally.
Friday also featured a Zombie Walk through downtown Ashland. About 50 zombies walked through the downtown area to get people in the Halloween spirit and raise awareness for the community radio station. It turned out to be some pretty great video!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Follow Friday: The Beach, Magic, Vegas

This week has had all summery weather. Highs in the 90s and all windows open at night. So, this week's Follow Friday will have a bit of a summery theme.

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I found this video about a year ago and still love it. It's beautiful and peaceful. I've always had a dream of shooting underwater video and this is a bit of a pipedream.

The video's only about two minutes long and is a great escape during the day.

J.O.B. First Look from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

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"MAGIC" by b.o.b. and Rivers Cuomo

I find myself humming and singing this song almost everyday when I'm writing. Catchy, upbeat. Sounds like summer.

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"PARENTS" Commercial for Camp Vegas

I saw this last weekend and could not stop laughing. I've probably watched it a dozen times since last weekend.

Hope you enjoyed some of these videos and songs. Please post some of your favorites in the comment box!