Friday, February 11, 2005

Miles to Go before I Sleep- If I can after today.

News is a crazy business. Sometimes you can drive and drive and drive and get little or nothing accomplished.
Today I drove from the middle of this 40 mile wide map, down to the bottom left corner, then almost all the way to the bottom right corner and that followed by a trip all the way to the top right edge.

The first of our daily dispatches today took us from High Point for a 20 mile ride to the Southwest to Lexington for a VOSOT(15 seconds of video with a 15 second sound byte) about the possible mandate of AIDS testing for the public.

Done with that simple task we headed West toward Asheboro to follow up on a body that was found the day before. This sounded interesting at first. The cops got a call about a Break-In in progress and arrived to find a dead man in the driveway. The problem is, the cops aren't talking, the homeowners of the house aren't home, and there are no neighbors within view of the house since you can't see the house from the road. This PACKAGE that was also supposed to be LIVE is now DEAD. Not even a VO.

On the phone and now driving North we are given a new assignment. We need to drive to Greensboro for a story about a tuition DECREASE at NC A&T University.

That changed about 10 minutes later. Our new directive was to check out a house in an affluent neighborhood in Greensboro that Animal Control had spent the previous day at and today the house was condemned.

We stopped for lunch on the way extending the trip a bit, but let's just say an hour and a half after we left our Dead, Dead Man story we arrived in Greensboro. Phone calls enroute to the house yielded few clues about what was up with this story but upon arrival I whipped out the XDCam and started shooting from the street as a 'Disaster Cleanup Crew' carried huge black bags from the house that was marked condemned by the Guildford county health department.

A few neighbors drove by asking about the events. I had few answers of my own and more question back to them. But the answer I got from one lady was, "What if this was your mom?", to which I quickly responded, "If this was my mom this wouldn't have happened." This lady went on to tell me how some situations are none of the New's business. That only made me more interested.

As my reporter knocked on doors looking for a willing neigbor with any information I quickly established that this would be a tough story to turn. My reporter returned soon and told me that the consensus of the neigbors was that we should leave. One neigbor even asked for oure bosses' phone number so that she could put a stop to our intrusiveness.

It worked, Our bosses called us off soon afterwards and sent us on over to the university.

It seems as if the woman who lived at the house had a mental illness and didn't take very good care of her animals and the house was a big mess. This woman also had a peculiar collection in the house that made the health conditions in this house extremely dangerous.

It was her facination with roadkill that was the problem. She apparently went out and collected animals that had fatal run ins with vehicles and kept them in her house. The animal control report indicates that there were dead animal carcasses in every room of the house, in cabinets and even in the refridgerator.

We headed over to A&T at 2:30 in the afternoon with just 2 and a half hours until this story had to be on LIVE.

We knocked out quick interviews and a bunch of wallpaper video to cover the story and started the editing process. It was tight but at 5:07 we did a live tease and at 5:09 we spent 2 minutes telling our viewers about how President Bush had a hand in lowering the tuition at NC A&T University.

I spent a few minutes after the Liveshot sending in some follow up video for later shows and then a 25 minute drive back to the station and the day was done.

It was a whole lot of miles for a very little produced. Some days are just like that.


Anonymous said...

I remember those days. Endless driving from one assignment to another hoping that one will turn into a decent live shot and package. The energy, time, effort, gas, money and resources all exhausted for a minute and thirty seconds of television.

:sigh: I miss it.

Unknown said...

And on the day that followed a competing station ran the story on the nasty house. :)

ewink said...

I LOVE driving around like that. Beats sitting around in the newsroom listening to reporters complain about things.

Plus I could turn on my MP3 player and drown myself in groovy tunes!

VOB patrol days were fun.