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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

First Person: Trump

Back in the day, even before my time, before automatic pin setters, bowling alleys employed pin boys.  They set up the pins so someone else could knock them down.  That was my job yesterday.  That is often the function of morning television.  We set up the story so someone else can knock it out of the park.  So sorry for mixing sports this morning.
I wandered in to the office before my usual starting time Monday morning.  I needed more time to coordinate with morning producer Kim to make sure the elements I was using for Donald Trump visit previews didn't step on anything she wanted to use and vice versa.  There was tons of material-- things we gathered locally Sunday as well as items provided by our network partners, ABC and CNN.  It really wasn't hard to make sure we didn't step on each other's toes.  I banged out a couple of stories and handed them off to editor Jason.

Then, it was time to jump in a news car and head to the arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.  I was meeting photographer Dave, who was already there in one of our microwave trucks.  The first glitch:  Police weren't happy to see us, but they grudgingly allowed us a couple of spaces in the vast emptiness of the arena parking lot.

You might ask "Was there really a need to be live in the arena parking lot at 4:30 AM?"  Yes.  There was valuable information to get out-- things people attending the rally needed to know, things people driving through the area needed to know, and just a few other facts to make sure you start the day informed.

As it turns out, that first police glitch was the only one of the day.  The morning broadcast went smoothly.  Next stop was a trip to a mini mart for a sandwich and a visit to the porcelain conveniences, not necessarily in that order.  I also stopped by Staples for some AAA batteries.
 It was them to shift gears and think about Newswatch 16 at Noon.  Trump fans started showing up just after sunrise, and as so many of in the business like to say, everyone has a story.  I talked with some of the people in line.  Dave got the pictures.  One woman took the media to task for delivering more opinion than fact during the campaign.  She then asked me what I thought.  I replied "I don't give opinions on the job."  I encountered some playful chiding from Trump fans about being a member of the mainstream liberal media.  I've heard it before.  It was no big deal.
I pulled out my laptop and banged out a script for the noon broadcast and transmitted it back to the station.  Management took a look and sent it back to me.  Voice track recorded.  Dave matched the pictures to the words and vice versa.  It was then time to set up and go live at 12.
The crowd had grown fairly large when anchor Jon Meyer threw to me.  I introduced my recorded piece, added a little color, wrapped it up, and tossed back to Jon.  My day was done.  Photographer Dave and I packed up and left the truck for our afternoon evening crews.  I drove us back in the car I took there at 4:00 AM.  After some housekeeping back at the station, my weekend had begun.  Yes, when you work weekends, you get time off during the week.
Was it tough to leave just as the fun was getting started?  Of course, but I've been doing morning TV a long time, and that is simply the way things happen.  I was happy to have a piece of the story.  We put some solid stuff and good information on the air.  I was disappointed that, unlike in April, I wasn't able to get inside the arena to take some pictures.

It's easier to hand off a story when you know it will be done well by the staffers who follow you.

Thanks to the arena security staff, who were very accommodating when it came to parking and other matters.  We communicated our needs.  They did their best to make sure we got what we required without getting in anyone's way.