Friday, February 25, 2011

Snowing Again

What I woke up to Friday morning.

The story of this week has been the snow predicted to fall across So. Or.

I covered several snow based stories Wed and Thur. All involved live shots, the last three had falling snow in the shot. It looked amazing.

Here they are.

WED -- How does the airport prepare for snowy weather?

WED -- Snow on passes starts building as storm moves in

THU -- Mt. Ashland benefits from good powder

THU -- ODOT cleans up I-5 Pass

In the first Thursday story I was ad libbing the end of my story live. The latest update I had was the Pass was closed just a few miles from where I was. I reported that on air.

But immediately my producer got in my IFB (little earphone) to tell me that it was actually open. In the twenty minutes since I got my update, conditions had changed again.

You can see me struggling to listen, make sense of it, and continue talking on air.

I'm not a multi-tasker. Listening, thinking and talking all can't happen at once for me. I can do two out of the three and still look smooth, but not three of three.

More evidence: I tag out by saying "Live in Ash-land." Not the smoothest ever, but not a super big deal other.

Ah... the beauty of breaking news and live television.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Medford named 3 most active city by Time

Only 3rd??

Here's the article.

It only mentions tubing, kayaking, and flyfishing.

I'd like to add skiing on Mt. Ashland (45 minutes away), tons of hiking trails including the Pacific Crest Trail, hiking and swimming at Crater Lake, and mountain bike paths galore.

Yes, it's a good city in a great area.
I love living here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


There's a common belief that local TV news is filled with bad stories. Stories of bad people, dumb people, and mistakes people make. That's sometimes true. There's also many stories of success, non-profits, and heroism.

But sometimes there's stories about tragedy and death. That was the case for my story on Friday.

A Medford man who was working for the Oregon Department of Forestry was clearing a hiking trail in the northern part of the state when a falling boulder killed him. He was only 59 years old.

I was assigned with the story of telling the story of his character. Talking with his friends and family and co-workers.

Not the easiest or most desirable of jobs.

I found his name in the phone book and found his website with a list of references he had worked with. I started calling numbers and leaving messages. I drove to his house and tried finding any neighbors who knew him. A few did and had very nice things to say about him.

But that just made everything worse.

I was the person who told seven people that their friend had died. They had no idea about anything until I talked to them.

I was the grim reaper to these people.

What made it worse is that, I was charged with getting interviews with some of these people.


Easily, one of the worse consequences of working this field.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Media as a Medium

Saw this little diddy on an actor's blog. I want to being a nerd and planning to be a professor in the future makes me think about all the little things that happen everyday. Like shooting with a camera and it's implications for the shooter and the subject.

Here's a brief look at one take on the subject-filmer-camera-environment relationships

The Cameraman - a particularly timely animated story from This American Life. Animation by Chris Ware. Interview conducted by Ira Glass.

This story certainly is beautifully told, and quite timely. Of course — and I know this is me being a bit predictable — I’m gonna have to take issue with the negative light the story leaves on cameras and RECording.

First of all, I don’t entirely disagree. The film Medium Cool tells a similarly cautionary tale, and that’s one of my favorite movies. Taken too far, the camera can become a barrier that disconnects the cameraman (or woman, or boy or girl, or you know, whatever) from engaging with the world. Anything taken too far, without moderation, in excess, usually has negative consequences.

But most of the time, I’d argue, having a camera and RECording our world does just the opposite. It encourages the camera operator to engage, to pay attention and find that sweet shot, to figure out how to tell a good story.

In my opinion, our lives are little more than the stories we tell ourselves and each other. I’m quite certain that the massive increase in people walking around with cameras these days is far more than a passing trend. It’s a sign of progress towards a connected and engaged society. The technology is here. Now we just have to learn how to use it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweeps, Influenza, and Caffiene

Let's start with sweeps. Sweeps is the four-week period where the Nielsen group gives ratings for television shows. It's important for local news because it determines how many viewers watch a particular show and gives potential advertisers a guide to when and with whom they should pay for commercials. The more viewers the better. All the stops are pulled. No one gets vacation time, there are live shots as often as possible, and people come in early and work late to squeeze out as much good product as possible. (Networks do this, too. That's why Watson is on Jeopardy and Mr. Sunshine is premiering now. During sweeps.)

Taking a sick day is reserved for only when sickness is really keeping you down. That is the case for NewsWatch 12 this week. My roommate, Chris Leone, was sick this weekend. Monday and Tuesday saw sickness take down morning anchor, Ron Brown, and evening anchor, Brian Morton. They may have influenza. Or something.

Anywho, in the local news biz, reporters often tell feature stories. They're called "Sweeps Pieces." With so many people sick, our sweeps pieces were a little off schedule. Monday evening we realized there was no story set for Tuesday. I was asked to fill that spot.

I didn't have a story set up, but I did have an idea. Noble Coffee in Ashland was a cafe I enjoyed when I went back in October.

I woke up early Tuesday morning and called up Noble, setting up interviews with the co-owner and some of the employees. I got there around 9:45, and they already had a latte made for me. Score! Got a ton of great visuals and a two great interviews!

Shaking Off the Recession: Noble Coffee

When I pitched the idea of doing a story on Noble, the only thing I really knew about the roaster was that their coffee was delicious, and the atmosphere in the coffeeshop was pretty great, too. But there's more to Noble than that. They pride themselves acting with social responsibility.

Noble buys coffee beans from Columbia, Brazil, Kenya. Only the best. Taste-wise and otherwise. The coffee beans must come from sustainable, fair-trade, and organic farms.

The roaster's coffee falls into two categories: High-end and organic. Most roasters will pick one, but not both. That's what makes Noble different. Better.

I spent about two hours at the shop, interviewing, shooting video, and enjoying three different kinds of coffee, all on the house. It was basically all I ate during the workday. The caffeine coursed through my veins and I was jittery all afternoon.

Today, Thursday, I'm finally coming down off the caffeine buzz.

Or maybe it's the buzz of telling a story I really like.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sun day on a Saturday

Saturday was beautiful weather-wise and otherwise. Slept in and watched some college basketball with my roommate, Chris. Early afternoon brought the opportunity to work out.

Then, something changed. When I got outside, the weather was a bit different compared to when I went in. The sun was shining, there wasn't a breath of wind. I didn't want to be inside anymore. After all, it is mid-February.

I went inside, grabbed a few necessities (a bag of tortilla chips, big glass of water, the Kindle e-reader, and a hammock) then set up camp in the yard behind my apartment. What a perfect way to spend a good portion of the afternoon.

After knocking out a third of The Great Gatsby, I dragged Chris out and we played catch in our "backyard."

It was sunny and summeresque outside we had to move around so we weren't blinded by the sun. The heat bared down at just the right amount. A whole lot warmer than February 12th should be, but not too hot at all. The wind started picking up and the leafless branches waved. Something was missing. It was the smell of barbecue. A small grill with burgers and asparagus would have made it a June weekend, instead of a pre-Valentine's Day weekend.

To top it off, a summer song played on iTunes. Litterally, "Summer Song" by Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck.

A little early summer action on a Saturday is sure fine by me.

((Later that night, Chris and I saw a documentary about how the Cold War ended. It's called "Rocky IV."))

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Birthday Mirth day

Working a 13-hour day might seem like a bad way to spend a birthday. It wasn't.

It started great. The morning anchor, Kaylin Krashesky, told me she gave me a birthday shoutout on air! Excellent!

During the day, one of our producers, Kathy, brought in a small surprise: she baked a cake for me and a co-worker! It was rich and delicious and delicious lunch! Score!

he first part of my day I reported on a few stories, one of which I was very interested in. The Medford School District is facing a $13 million budget deficit -- nearly 15%. After being live in the evening show, I headed out to shoot high school basketball.

At about 10:30 I clocked out. And headed to a bar to meet co-workers. Nice!

Me, Kaylin, and Anne McCloy from 5.

I'm not big on birthdays, I don't want big celebrations or shindigs or anything like that. The only thing I want is to have a good time and get as many people to have as much fun as possible. Thankfully that happened Friday night. About twenty people from NewsWatch 12, and channels 5 and 10 were there. That whole competition between stations thing is only a myth. We're all buddies.

Katie Conner from 10.

Anne 5 again. With 12 Sports Director and roommate, Chris Leone

One of my only flaws: I don't like taking good pictures.

It was a great night out!

All day long, I was getting text messages, calls, and Facebook messages all wishing me a happy birthday. I was quite surprised to see how many people chimed in. And who wished me well. Classmates from high schools, SMC friends who I had only worked with for four days during Weekend of Welcome, friends of friends I met one time. All these people coming out of the woodwork to give a quick message. I know we don't keep up all year round, but it felt really nice to get a shout-out on the special day.

Overall it was a great day. Champion!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Follow Friday

I don't want much for my birthday.

Watching this video may have me satisfied.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My new favorite movie?

I watched "Chinatown" on Sunday. It might just be my new favorite flick.

It was smart, beautifully shot, had great acting, an ever-evolving story. And more.

It's partially based on a true story about how utilities were used as political and financial clout in 1930's Los Angeles. Maybe what fascinated me more than just about anything else is that this tale of theft and powerplays didn't involve money and jewels and bank robberies, but something much simpler: Water.

Its screenplay is touted as one of the best ever. I agree.

I could go on for a while.

If you haven't seen it, and you want to dedicate 130 minutes of concentration (because it will take extreme concentration to keep up) to a movie, this is a good one. Maybe the best one.