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.

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