With my bum ankle still keeping me from full photog status, the chiselers here at El Ocho have insisted I pull a few edit shifts to better earn my keep. 'No sweat', I thought, I'll just crack open a breakroom soda, grab some stale cheesy poofs out of the machine and plant myself in front of a warm, dry keyboard. After all, what possible challenges could mere mortal editing present to a highly-seasoned photojournamalist like myself? Remind me to shut up the next time I spout off with those smug, rhetorical questions - would ya?
First of all, we're not talking some sequestered closet where I'd leisurely tweak another boutique piece. No, the suits signed me up for a stint in Edit 4 - that bastion of broadcast anarchy some TV stations call 'The Feed Room'. It is a less than soothing place. With its racks of whirring tape decks, bleating playback stations and screeching phones, Edit 4 has the frenzied atmosphere of a front-lines triage unit and Air Traffic Control. All of which makes sense, as this is the nerve center of the newsroom. Every piece of tape, video snippet and digital timeline gathered by our staff passes through these four cluttered walls before spilling out into the region's living rooms. That's where your friendly gimped-up lenslinger comes in...
For it's my duty to sort through the soundbites, map out the mug shots and spruce up the segues that go into your above average newcast. Along the way I have to take in feeds from grumbling field crews, slice out a half dozen teases and send out clips to disembodied voices from far off lands. That's a lot of organizational skills to ask of a guy who loses his car keys every sixteen hours. Nonetheless, I've stayed on-task for two solid nights, working the candy-colored keyboard of my humble workstation at maximum speed, knowing that a single case of photog fat-finger will bring a whole newscast down in flames and spark a post-show investigation that could very well end in me washing Neill McNeill's car.
Luckily though, I'm under the command of our Senior Editor, the all powerful Angie Riley. Chief Surgeon of Edit 4, she can revive a dying line-up with but a whiff of her perfume. Just don't let all that estrogen fool ya, fellas. The lady is a menace!. A proud graduate of HardAss U, she can rip the throat out of a cowering cameraman at a dozen paces. She's the Darth Vader of El Ocho. Ask any news shooter about the sound of her approach - a stirring in the Force followed by a curvaceous shadow and an ever so polite voice telling them they have twice as much work as they thought they did. As the walls of the small room shrink and the clockhands spin, Darth Angie is know to spin on her designer heels, scrape any unfortunate photog-plasm off her shoe and sashay back to Edit 4. And it's geting worse! Last night I watched her make a confused young shooter's eyeballs bleed simply because he didn't slow-mo his recuts! What's up with that? If she reads this, a sore ankle will be the least of my problems.
Help Me Obi-Wan!