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...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Lenslinger's Zen

Rainy Day Stakeout 5Tom Petty was right. The waiting IS the hardest part. But like hairspray and fake sincerity, doing nothing is a time-honored tradition in TV News. Yes, for every latebreaking development there's a couple of days worth of phone calls that never get returned. For every mad dash up the courthouse steps, there's a half dozen cat naps out back by the sallyport. And for everry tautly edited ninety second epic, there's a good hour and a half of waiting around for your reporter to get off Facebook and finish his script. It's one of the many reasons I work alone. See, when every facet of the newsgathering process is up to you (from interview analysis to recorder portage to cheap lunch procurement), there's little time lift to dilly - let alone dally. Sometimes, however, you have no choice but to loiter. Like today...

Rainy Day Stakeout 2It began - as so many news stories do - with the eternal optimists in the morning editorial meeting. According to those jokers, viewers far and wide live by our every newscast and will reshape their entire day to be featured within its framework. That's usually the part where I roll my eyes and today was no exception as I crumpled the address thrust upon me and skulked off to my very own mobile news-cube. Heading West through a forest of windshield wipers ans license plates, I had to admit: the housecats were right. No, not everyone will genuflect in the direction of our lenses, but most souls will cough up a dollar IF the plate is properly passed their way. Which brings us to another inconsiderate truth... All you really gotta do is show up and act like you got some sense.

Rainy Day Stakeout 4Understand, this is not an easy admission. I'm a PHO-tog, after all. We're like, genetically predisposed to shoot DOWN story ideas - based on feasibility, restaurant proximity or how many times we've pulled it off before. But even I know miracles are best performed in the field. It's like Mel Gibson's 'boots on the ground' theory in We Were Soldiers (without all the antisemitic undertones, of course): 'Show Up and Shit Happens'. Which is a roundabout way of saying I wasn't too worried when I pulled up to a certain suburb this morning. Sure, the house fire before me was two days old, it was raining like that passage in the Bible and my stomach was already growling, but, hey - there's news to be produced! Sooooo, I got busy, dividing the descent of each individual drop by the amount of airtime I had to fill before giving up altogether and traipsing out in the rain...

Rainy Day Stakeout 1Ten minutes later I collapsed back into the driver's seat, wet, vexed and once again regretting my lackluster past in the hallowed halls of academia. 'No worries', I thought as I fished my cell phone out of its holster, 'no overpriced sheepskin can replace the Pee Ayche Dee I got in cameramanthropology. Ringing up the Red Cross, I asked the nice people there to cough up the locale of the burned out family. They wouldn't of course, so I cold-called the Fire Department and chatted uo some real American heroes. They couldn't help em though so I dropped the phone in my soggy lap, closed my eyes and appealed to the News Gods... 'Bring me a chatty family member and I'll do my best to honestly spotlight their plight.' Only the sound of raindrops on the car's roof met my requests, so I kept my eyes closed before eventually losing consciousness...

And THAT, of course, is when the homeowner showed up.

2 comments:

Senator's Forum said...

I always feel bad when bad things happen to good people. He's right God will take care of everything.

Good stuff Slinger. Keep em coming, did you know?

Jimmyd said...

Outstanding. Even got tears at the end. Showed it to my wife-she cried-no higher compliment can be paid.