To every job there are perks and drawbacks. Those that come with being on local TV news are any better or worse. But they are more exotic.
Saturday was Medford's citywide fair: The Pear Blossom Festival. As with many of these Americana events across the country, the featured event is a parade down main street (or in our case: Central, then turning on to Main St.).
NewsWatch 12 walked in the parade and that included me.
Early in the morning, we lined up with our live truck and one of our news cars. About a dozen or so co-workers were there, and some brought their kids or dogs.
We marched the two-mile length, waving to tens of thousands of people, families, kids. Handing out candy, waving, and saying thank you. A smile plastered on. A justified smile.
Here's what I liked: it's certainly a self-esteem boost to have people say, "We watch you all the time!" "You're our favorite news show!" and "We love you, NewsWatch 12!" I think every person who works should get that kind of absurd, affirmative feedback. It's insanely gratifying. (Think about it. One day a year, you get to march down the heart of the city where you work and people you don't know thank you for the work that typically feels unnoticed or unappreciated. People would cheer out, "You run great meetings!" "You're so prompt with your email responses!" "I love how you solicit feedback from your co-workers!" Don't tell me that's not a great idea.)
Here's what I didn't like: Strangers shouting, "Hey! Bryan Navarro!" There weren't many of them, maybe two or three, but it was enough to unnerve me a bit. What do you do when strangers call out your name? My answer is to blush, smile wide, and say "Hey-y-y" awkwardly. Maybe I point at them in acknowledgement.
I get it, people recognize me because I'm on TV. But I'm only on for 20 or so seconds each broadcast. A drop in the bucket to the 12-ish minutes of facetime each anchor gets. While it is flattering, it's uncomfortable. I didn't go into this profession to be identified. I did it because I love telling stories.
My solution, draw attention away from me by relying what brought on that attention in the first place. I hide behind the video camera.
During a majority of the parade, I shot video. Instead of looking on to the crowds, I looked through the eyepiece. Rather than be the excitement, I did what I love doing best-- captured that excitement.
In my mind, shooting something can turn an unpleasant situation into a fairly good one.
Our wonderful production crew edited the 15 minutes of raw video into a cute, fun 1:30 piece and posted it here.
Again, I don't mind walking in the parade and seeing people who appreciate our work. I'm proud of that. But I sometimes feel uneasy when I'm approached because of it.
What does it all mean? I don't know. Or maybe I don't want to know.
So I think I'll just keep rolling tape.