Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"I'll log in the car..."

Together again, for the first timeAnd so Bob did, cradling my XDCam in his lap while I snaked through the streets of Winston-Salem. With my headphones around his ears and his reporter-pad in hand, he flipped a switch on the camera and footage of a woman sitting by a humble Christmas tree flickered in the viewfinder. As she spoke, Bob scribbled her words, looking for bite-sized chunks of narrative to compliment the script in his head. While he searched, I threw Unit 4 into a hard downhill left, merged onto the crowded interstate and checked my watch. Five minutes ago we'd been standing in the lady in question's worn living room. In less than a hour and a half her story was scheduled to air on our 6:00 newscast. In thirty minutes the 5:00 producer planned to show some of our footage for a 'tease', but not before I make the twenty minute trip to the station to begin the editing process. 'Oh well', I thought as I wedged my news chariot between two jockeying 18 wheelers, 'at least there's no need to rush'.

Journalism at 70 MPHWith it's sat trucks, helicopters and logo'd windbreakers, TV News is more Amazing Race than Paper Chase. Sure, we want the truth but the facts fall flat if it ain't on time. While our brethren in print sit at their desks and work the phones for notable quotes, we in the broadcast corps saddle up and move out, dragging high-dollar gear and a penchant for hype wherever we go. I won't claim it's the more dignified of the two, but it sure makes for a better highlight reel when the old office Christmas party rolls around. But I'm not here to slam the newspaper guys, for despite my love for language and grocery store coupons, I know little of that realm. How could I, when I've spent the past fifteen-plus years hurtling through a daily gauntlet of ever-increasing deadlines. Heck, after this long I'm lucky I still got a driver's license, let alone the capacity to flip through a paper or two over my morning cup of rotgut.

Chasing the SunAnyway, where was I? Oh yeah - zooming down the highway in search of a newscast. As I did, Bob never looked up. Instead he leaned further into his notepad until he assumed some kind of journalistic fetal position. Looking over at him, I wondered if college kids studying broadcasting had any idea of what they were getting into. TV news seems very swashbuckling from the comfort of a dorm room, but all that swash and buckle comes with a large dose of inconvenience, ulcer-inducing stress and constant exposure to unsavory elements. Pros like Bob Buckley take it in stride, understanding that less than pristine conditions are an integral part of the gig. If he'd wanted to ride a desk to a five o clock quitting time every day, he could have majored in business, computers or some other less messy field. As for me, I could have kept pursuing my early career as a radar-reading scope-dope in the Nav...that, or become the world's most reflective cabbie. But neither would have granted me the mind-bending adventures I've had behind the lens. I just hope the next generation of newgathering partners packs their motion-sickness pills.

3 comments:

Colonel Corn's Camera said...

Stew, talk about deadlines, our station has added a 430 newscast. I find myself acting more and more like a factory worker. Interview, b-roll, live shot, start over.

But, I did go to the mountians last week. And yes, the stills were from the video. I figure I got a much better lens on the betacam than the comsumer grade Nikon we have and I'm not making prints so I just use the web guys software to capture shots.

I can tell you college did not prepare me for tv news. We were a bunch of dreamers hoping to follow in the foot steps of Ken Burns. None of the PHD's running the place had worked in news. One worked at newspaper but the rest came straight from graduation to teaching.

Matt said...

"I wondered if college kids studying broadcasting had any idea of what they were getting into. TV news seems very swashbuckling from the comfort of a dorm room, but all that swash and buckle comes with a large dose of inconvenience, ulcer-inducing stress and constant exposure to unsavory elements."

I had absolutely no idea. Even after the internship. It has its great moments every once in a while.

"We were a bunch of dreamers hoping to follow in the foot steps of Ken Burns."

Exactly!

And. .
That pic reminds me. .
It was a daily thing for my co-worker to log on the way back from Kinston.

Josh said...

Finally the 5:00 producer gets a mention - even if not by name - in your blog!!!! (But I think I might be a villain in this story...) BTW - did I mention I killed the tease?