Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What It's Like

I do track blog hits once in a while, and it seems the most popular entries are the ones that give an insider's view of the news business.  Here comes another.  Let me tell you about my Monday.

It actually started late Sunday night.  A water heater malfunction at home left me dry, so I took my pre work morning shower at the gym.  I powered up my laptop before I left and learned of a major fire in Dunmore.  The old high school was burning down.  In fact, I could smell the smoke from where I live.  That was the incentive to get going even earlier than normal.

After a quick shower, a phone call to the office to consult with morning producer Thomas, and a stop at a mini mart for a giant soda and two cups of vanilla yogurt, I walked in to the newsroom at 1:45 AM.  I love it when a plan comes together.  Photographer Joe and reporter Stacy got some great pictures and interviews at the fire scene.  My job was to review the material, then put together some reports for the morning news, beginning at 4:30 AM.

Photographer Dave was called in to work with me.  We bolted for the door as soon as I hit "save" on my script editor.  Here's why.  The section of Dunmore was the fire was located is home to narrow streets, one way thoroughfares, and overhead wires all over the place.  Wires are concern because the mast of a microwave truck needs plenty of clearance.

We circled the neighborhood, looking for a safe spot to park the truck-- a place where you could see the fire behind me.  It took a while, but we found a good location in a funeral home parking lot.  Management there could not have been nicer and more accommodating.  Thank you.  I'm glad we left the station early.

We did live reports for our morning news, plus the Good Morning America update slots.  Things were changing-- traffic, power outages, the status of the fire, and the collapsing building.  There was more than enough to keep us busy.
We gathered additional video and interviews, and headed back to the office.  That's where we prepared an updated report for the noon broadcast.  It was then back in the truck to Dunmore.  By then, demolition of the unstable parts of the building had begun.  After noon, the story went back to Stacy Lange, who filed additional updates for the late afternoon/early evening broadcasts.  Several people had a hand in the story-- two producers, two reporters, three photographer/editors, two web site editors, an executive producer, and two anchors.  I'm not a cheerleader, but it all worked perfectly.  Everyone knows their duties and responsibilities.  It's routine.  It looks good on the air, and I'm happy to be part of it.  And when the day is over, we'll do it all over again tomorrow.
I have to make note of the building before I sign off.  I love old buildings, and I especially love when old buildings are reused, like the former Dunmore High School.  I've seen many old schools torn down.  Some, like the ones I attended, deserved it.  This one, apparently, didn't.  It was a great looking old structure, and it was so sad to see it go up in flames.  So many worked to keep the fire from being even worse.  My heart goes out to those who lost their businesses Sunday night/Monday morning.