Friday, August 03, 2007

Hard Days

It's been a tough couple of day for the home team. Not that the workload has been extraordinarily heavy, but it's a miracle we've been able to deliver.

It seems that those in charge have reverted to expecting the daily miracles from us again. Case in point: yesterday I was paired with KD, for the first time since our False River Fourth of July, on a story about a man arrested for three counts of sexual battery on minors. We heard about it in a press release from the Assumption Parish sheriff.

Usually this wouldn't be a tough one to pull off, but we didn't leave on the assignment until 1:00 pm, and Pierre Part is an hour away. On top of that, we don't have anyone scheduled to interview, so we'll have to knock on doors and hope someone will talk to us on camera. Not as likely to happen since this is a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Add to this recipe a dash of 5PM deadline, and in a couple of hours you could have a disaster.

I don't ask for much, but I would like a proper amount of time to put a story like this together. If we're not going to get an assignment until one, with no calls made, and the drive time is an hour, put us in the six. When KD announced the drive time, all the 5PM producer had to say was "I guess you better get going, you're the lead package." This is why I plan on pushing hard to make sure that all of our producers get to spend one week with a photog, observing what it is we really have to go through to pull this kind of assignment off. Having never left the comfort of their air conditioned cubicle, except to get lunch at the same time every day, they seem to think that a story like this "just happens."

I've read enough to know that our producers aren't the only ones who do this, but it's my blog and I need to vent about it.

Here's the story.

Today sees the two of us riding together, again. Instead of only having an hour to shoot a package, we have to deal with the grandiose vision of what could be. We've been given the story that every station in the country was doing today: Are our bridges safe?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those in Minneapolis who are dealing with injuries to both body and soul tonight. Compared to what they're dealing with my work problems are but a grain of sand.

I knew before coming into work that someone in our station was going to do this story, and I had a pretty good feeling that they would be standing beside my lens while doing so. My question today is, "Why does it take an hour to decide who's doing this story? Also, why hasn't anyone made some calls on this to set up interviews?"

At 10 am we leave the get a VOSOT on BOPSA (bunch of people sitting/standing around). At 10:45 am KD gets a voicemail suggesting that she contact an engineer at LSU. Has this person made a call to set this up? Hasn't even thought about it, but he's got a vision. "What I see is you talking to a professor, and he's got a model of a bridge on his desk where he can point out structural issues..." Um, yeah, sure. I've been to many a prof's office, and all they seem to have on their desks are papers, lots and lots of papers. It becomes a moot point since no one calls us back.

We journey forth to collect images of bridges in the area, while waiting on a call from DOTD. It turns out that the same visionary from above insisted that he be the point of contact between us and them. Not a bad plan, except for the part where he's "out of pocket" for 90 minutes at the doctor's office, and not answering his cell phone.

In the end, another grand vision, worthy of an evening's lineup of newscasts, finds its true destiny through my edit decks.

Watch it here.


Anonymous said...

Poor Mike Sellers! I'd bring you a fudge round if I could! :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe the photogs should spend a week with the producers, too.

Anonymous said...

It would do all of us good to remember that each job in this business is different, and each has its own challenges and rewards... regardless of air conditioning.

Each of us only gets a glimpse inside the day-to-day lives of our co-workers. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.

turdpolisher said...

I feel your pain. The rest of these jacks sound like a bunch of suits sucking up a/c.

O ain't complaining about the heat or the workload. He merely wants a little understanding from the pod people. It ain't a lot to ask to consider logistics when planning a newscast. Four hours to produce a story is plenty o' time if it's across town. Take away two hours for drive time and a green reporter and you're setting your crew, and your precious newscast for failure.

Use that lump on top of your neck for more than a hat rack why don't ya. It'll save you some ass-puckering moments in the booth later.

Sorry O. Got carried away.

Nice work pulling off another couple miracles.