Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"Nats" are short for "Nat Sounds" or "Natural Sounds." As a storyteller, it's easy to forget that our broadcasts employ video AND audio. We can bring a viewer to where we are through sight and sound. That's where nats comes in.

Using nats can bring the viewer to the scene of the story just like seeing pictures of it. Maybe even better. In TV news, there's always images from the story, but it's only once or twice a newscast that nat sounds are employed. So having nats is like gold.

Two of my most recent stories used nats. Both of them were "nats off the top" or at the very start of the packages, immediately drawing in the viewer.

Memorial Day camping.

Memorial Day at the National Cemetery.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

College, Community, and Cholera

Earlier this week I had a conversation with another reporter what kind of stories we prefer reporting. She said, "If I could do a feature once a month, I'm a happy girl." For me, it's stories about education and college.

About two weeks, I reported that Southern Oregon University was named on the Presidential Honor Roll for community service. Many of the award-garnering hours came from field research or lengthy, informative field trips that were part of the course curriculum. SOU also organizes Alternative Spring Break trips. Students pay and pack up to go to another part of the country, or world, to do intensive service work.

I enjoyed the story because it reminded me of my 3 Jan-Terms doing something very simliar. Those trips had a profound impact on me. Everything from who I spent time with, the importance I placed on possessions (or lack thereof), how I viewed situations of poverty, to what difference I felt like I could make in the world. The trips blew my mind and heart.

Earlier this week, San Francisco's ABC affiliate reported on Jan Term. They talked with students and professors of several trips, including Shawny Anderson (2:20) who led my trips. I think it's great that the local stations is deciding this is a newsworthy story and that people have a chance to get a brief look at a very special feature of Saint Mary's. Here's ABC-7's story.

Two notes--
1.) In 3 and a half minutes, you can't fully tell the story of how several hundred students are changed my a total of a cumulative 2,000 days abroad. Given the time restraints and depth and breadth of the story, the reporter did a good job giving an overview and dipping into emotions and impacts.

2.) JanTerm experiences aren't exclusive to January. I spent a Spring Break in New Orleans. Last summer, Shawny took a group to Haiti. Right now, she's back with more students. They bought and brought solar-powered water purifiers to give much needed aid in the Haitian fight against Cholera.
Some of the students who are sleeping in tents, learning Creole, working long days, and eating "terrible" food, were the same students who walked across the stage in robes and a funny hat just one week ago.
They can't get enough education.
Neither can I.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday and Tuesday's stories

Been a little bit out of commission lately, but I've been busy. Last week, I worked nightside (2p-12a) and somehow it takes a bit more out of me and blogging goes to the wayside.

This weekend, I had a whirlwind trip back to Saint Mary's for Graduation 2011. Fantastical time to see my friends.

Monday and Tuesday brought good stories with them.

Monday morning we got an email about a local man who was in Portland and saved the life of a transient who was stuck in his sleeping bag, and on fire. It happened late Sunday night, and John Filipowicz wasn't in the Rogue Valley. But thanks to a phone book and a handful of calls, we got a hold of him. You'll see it's a story that's "only on" NewsWatch 12. We were the only news outlet from our area to talk to John. Hero from Gold Hill.

Tuesday, we got an email that Mount Ashland received the go-ahead from the US Forest Service. This comes after decades of hopes of expansion, and about 4 years of additional court-mandated research on the environmental effect. Expanding the area would draw a lot more skiers, say mountain officials. I got to interview three people, drive up to the Ski Area, and shoot a bunch of fun video on the empty mountain. And at the 6, I went behind the desk for the story. Mt. Ashland gets OK to expand.

Monday, May 16, 2011

iPad + Hospital = Montrue Technologies

Montrue Technologies is a start-up business based in Ashland. The company has developed an iPad application that I think makes a perfect match for technology and the emergency room.

CEO, Brian Phelps, and company have created an app that gives doctors and nurses in the ER the most up-to-date and relevant information in the palm of their hand.

On Thursday, they received a $200,000 angel investment at a conference in the Eugene area a few hours North of the Rogue Valley. They beat out 30 other applicants from across the state and were able to bring that seed money back to Southern Oregon where they plan on expanding.

It's a great product and I was ecstatic to cover the story on Friday.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Don Draper in the season one finale of "Mad Men"--
Nostalgia - it's delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It let's us travel the way a child travels - around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.

It reminds me of this music video:

Severed Dreams from Ian Bucknole on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


In the biz, there's the term "look-live."

A look-live is when the reporter shoots an introduction and ending to his or her story at the scene of the story. He or she says where they are, as if they were reporting from that place. The reporter looks like they're live.

The conversation leading up to a look-live goes like this--
Producer: "Hey, Bryan. While you're out at the scene of the fire, I'd like you to shoot me a look-live."
Bryan: "Ok."

Actually, that's how just about every conversation goes.

Producers ask a reporter to shoot a look-live when there's no possibility for a live shot from that location, or if an event is time sensitive and won't be happening during the newscast.

This week I shot several look-lives because we wouldn't have live shot capabilities.

Taking advantage of the ability to use multiple takes, I tried making them as interactive as possible.

1/4 Church Fire in Klamath Falls -- I heard the creaking of the piece of wood about to break and just started talking. Got lucky and nailed the take.

5/9 Elections Preps -- Loading a ballot counting machine in the intro. In the tag, there's someone dropping off their ballot behind me. If you think I didn't wait 7 minutes until someone actually drove up, you're crazy.

5/10 Painting Problems -- Pointing out the "sub-standard" work neighbors are upset about.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I get to do cool things

I work hard, long hours for small pay. I'm on-call 2 nights a week, and unofficially 24/7.

But there are a ton of positives to outweigh those negatives:
-I get to shoot and edit video everyday.
-I get to meet new people everyday.
-I get to tell stories.
-I get to do cool things.

It's not everyday that all four of the aforementioned job qualities are true. But a few weeks ago they were.

I got to go out to Emigrant Lake (just south of Ashland) where the Jackson County Sheriff's Office was holding training for police agencies from across the state. That means going out on the water on a jet-boat trying to catch up to the cops trying to catch up to speeding boaters.

It was cold, windy, a little rainy. And it was awesome.
I was on a jet-boat. With police.
On a jet-boat.
I love my job.

Police Training Emigrant Lake -- http://kdrv.com/news/local/209685

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to a mom who enjoys playing beer pong with her son.

SMC Graduation; May 2010

Thanks for making me clean my room (kinda),
telling me to not be a teacher (I may disobey you there),
showing me how to be an adult (big thanks),
and playing beer pong with me (like mother, like son).
Love you, and see you soon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Last minute Mother's Day gift ideas

120 seconds of great/horrible gift ideas for Sunday--

Friday, May 6, 2011

Scoops and Secrets

I should start off by telling you that "secret" is probably the wrong word.

On Tuesday, I worked on this story about consumers trending towards more fuel-efficient cars. For the story I talked to Craig Bramscher, the CEO of Brammo Motors. Brammo Motors is a company head-quartered in Ashland that is one of the world-wide leaders in designing and building electric motorcycles. In regards to this story, they said they see a big boost of interest when gas prices climb. In Southern Oregon, they finally tipped to the $4 mark -- the milestone where experts say drivers start changing their habits.

Craig was kind and obliged to give me an interview (he's great at them by the way). Then he said, "You caught me on the right day. I'm just finishing up a press release, we've got a big announcement we're making tomorrow morning." Interest piqued, so I asked.

Wednesday morning, at 4 o'clock, Brammo would be announcing four new electric motorcycles.

I asked Craig if he'd be willing to do an interview with me and I could hold it for the morning show, when the news went public.
He said sure. Stellar.

We did the interview and I got back to the station to find the press release including photos of the new bikes.

At the top of the press release, it said "Embargoed until 5/4/11 at 4am PST." Embargoed is journalism talk for "secret." It sounds cooler and perpetuates our nerdiness.

The release made the story public, but we had the on-camera interview with Craig. And he was headed to Las Vegas on Wednesday to show off and race the prototypes. No one else would be able to get that interview. Win!

We ran the story four times between 5a-7a and again in the 5p and 6p Wednesday. I was very happy to get the story before it happened. Every now and then, it's nice to feel like you scored.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter Sunday

I have a great job, but it comes with several downsides. One of which is moving far away from family (been able to slightly avoid this one), and the other is not getting holidays off. Luckily, Easter's always on a Sunday and I wasn't working.

However, one of the upsides is befriending people in the same boat and sticking together through those common bonds.

Easter 2011 was spent with my family away from my family.

In the morning I went to Easter mass at a small church in Jacksonville, a small town about 15 minutes away. Jacksonville's downtown area is designed to look like something from the turn of the 20th century. If horses mosied the main street instead of cars, you'd assume it was something from the Old West. Many of the buildings are 100+ years old. St. Joseph's is one of those buildings. It was built in 1852. And it's beautiful.

Mass was very nice.
I think I've found a home church.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

That afternoon six of us from all three stations met for Easter Brunch. We all got dressed up and brought yummy foods. I had my priorities straight and brought mimosa ingredients.

Kaylin hosted. She made a Rachel Ray recipe called "Green Eggs and Ham." Pancetta, spinach, and an egg. Delicious!

Somehow I was put in charge of carving the ham. I hope I did OK.

It tasted good. Everyone ate it. That means it's good, right?

We ate until we got full, watched a movie, ate some more, and continued watching a movie.

It was a lovely afternoon… until another downside of the job reared it's ugly head in my direction. I got a call from Erin who was producing the Saturday evening show. There was a car accident and she didn't have anyone to send out to cover it and needed me to come in. As a reporter, I'm on-call 24 hours a day.

I went out, got the story, and got home in time to watch a movie with Chris.

I wish I was home with my family for Easter, but I'm glad it was so nice to spend it with my family away from my family.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Day After

I'm still reeling in the wake of all that's happened over the past 30 hours or so.

Osama bin Laden has been killed.
Everyone has an opinion about it.
Social media broke the story.

Bin Laden's death makes our job as news reporters and story tellers easy and difficult.

We blew out our evening shows with bin Laden coverage.
Danielle reported on how the local airport's operations would change (or not).
Kaylin went to Phoenix High School where students were connecting 9/11, 5/1, and psychology.
Steven went to Northern California to talk to a retired NY firefighter who lost his brother on 9/11.
I talked with three veterans from the War on Terror who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I think all of the stories were good, interesting, insightful.

Especially Steven's.

The retired firefighter travelled from very Northern California and worked at Ground Zero for months. He lost his brother in the attack. He says bin Laden's death doesn't give him closure at all. It doesn't bring his brother back.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Here's why I like Twitter: I don't have the patience (or means) to sit and watch 24 hour news channels for the most up to date information. When I want the newest news, I go to Twitter and check out the profiles for Time and Breaking News.

In 140 characters I get a taste for the story.

Examples of tweets:
"This is likely the gear used in the raid of Osama's compound."
"Why Osama's death hold mores symbolism than significance."
"Bin Laden compound was under near-constant scrutiny by the US; al-Qaida leader rarely ventured outside."

If I like the teaser sentence, I'll bookmark it from my phone and read it, view it, or watch it when I get to a full-blown computer.

Bam! News reports almost instantly. On my phone.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I can't stop looking at a series of photos of Obama overseeing the raid on Osama's compound.

It's a real-life playing out of scenes I'd seen in "The West Wing."

Take a look.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I know many people who are ecstatic about bin Laden's death for many reasons.
That's their right. And it's understandable.

However, I find my emotions aligning with this quote--
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."

It's been attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr and is going viral. People see it, pass it on. More see it, more pass it on.
One problem, MLK never said that.

Social Media can spread news, information quickly, but doesn't always make it true.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

However, this quote IS from MLK:
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence and toughness multiples toughness in a descending spiral of destruction."

The first part of this quote is recited in an episode of The West Wing when the President decides to attack terrorist camps on foreign soil.


They say art imitates life.
Or is it the other way around?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bin Laden, breaking news, and social media

It's 8:28 Sunday evening. I'm sitting on my couch, laptop sitting on my lap, TV on -- watching and reading the news about Osama Bin Laden reportedly dead.

I first heard the reports around 7:40.
At the grocery store.
On my phone's Twitter application.

Now I'm home. My ears are focused on the TV, eyes on social media websites, fingers to the keys.

Social media is blowing up.
People tweeting elated emotions.
News outlets reporting the latest information they have.
Friends retweeting what they've seen.

Chris made a great point, Twitter is great for breaking news, because you can pass on information and tweets with the click of a button. News, information, word spreads like an epidemic on Twitter.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I'm watching Brian Williams on the NBC Special Report. He's in the newsroom, anchoring coverage. On a Sunday night.
Does he sleep at the headquarters?

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I got chills at the end of Obama's speech. Incorporating the Pledge of Allegiance was brilliant. Resurrected the words that are usually repeated with monotony; giving them refreshed meaning.

It's a rallying point for Americans.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

After the President's speech and networks went back to regular programming, but the 24-hour stations kept covering news, I realized there was somewhere else that was more captivating: Twitter. News organizations and a profile called "Breaking News" were re-tweeting updates from the scenes of spontaneously rallies: The White House and Ground Zero.

But the tweets weren't from professional reporters, they were coming from participants.

Documented and distributed by @gracecaudle

Twitter allows us to be anywhere instantly.

There's also this fascinating NY Times blog about how the news leaked on social media.

Twitterers and Facebookers knew what the President was going to say an hour before he said it, and before many TV News outlets reported it.

The tide has turned.

A co-worker at my station, who's been in the news biz for several decades just updated his Facebook status: "In the age of social media, the Big Speech by a president seems less important. The old news model just ain't what it used to be."

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I believe tonight will be a "Where were you when?..." moment. It's no where near as significant as some others -- the moon landing, JFK's assassination, and 9/11, itself -- but for young people my age, an overarching underlying thread of news in our lives has been dominated by September 11th and the War on Terror.

I'll remember the surging feelings regarding the announcement of Bin Laden's death.
But what will stick out more for me is the surge of social media leading up to, during, and following the announcement.

Spring Sprang Sprung

Spring is springing or has already sprung (depending on where you live). Maybe it sprang. I dunno.

Either way, the sun is burning through the clouds, trees are blossoming, days are growing longer, and spirits are higher.

For me, Spring means listening to music that matches the season-- happier, brighter, lighter, fun-ner.

One particular Spring-y song is called "Hot Air Balloon" by Owl City. It's fun, light, bright, and happy.

It's also the soundtrack to a GaelVision commercial I shot and edited about a year ago.

It's the brainchild of this guy:

Devon Perez -- My classmate, GaelVision partner in crime, and good friend.

I shot and edited the video, but he dreamt it, got the costumes, and directed it.

It was a fun (albeit early) Saturday morning shoot that turned into one of the more fun end products from my college years.

The video reminds me of Spring. Spring reminds me of this video.
Hopefully it does the same for you, too.