Sunday, August 10, 2008

Reporting Olds

Edouard - the storm that missed.

While 'Polisher was dealing with his trials and tribulations, I was blissfully unaware of what the next 24 hours would bring me.

If I recall correctly, he gave me a ring around 6:30 p.m. I was headed home, he was headed to Cameron. During the second to last day of trial coverage, Mobile 30's generator developed a terminal problem. It only left for the shop the day before Edouard was scheduled to make landfall, so I knew I wouldn't be driving it down to the coast. I didn't question why we weren't sending a crew to Cameron: with no sat truck and Eddy just a tropical storm I didn't see a real need to cover it. The next morning I get a call from the desk and find out I will be headed over there as soon as I get to work. I'll be taking a laptop to FTP the story back, if we don't have time to drive it back.

Let's see, a three hour trip one way, leaving after 9 a.m., and the station wants two packages. Oh, the first is for the 5 p.m. show... it didn't make it.

We arrived at high noon, just after the contingent from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. We bagged some interviews from them, and I took a ride in a Blackhawk to see what happened on the West Side of the Calcasieu River. It was the fastest way to ensure that we got the video. After I get back on the ground, we found the cluster of three homes with damage, recorded a couple more interviews and decided what to do next.

It was 2 p.m. If the first story was going to make it back for five, we weren't driving it back. That meant that we were going to use FTP. My parents house was a known quantity in that it had power and a working internet connection. What it didn't have was bandwidth. I began trying to send the story at 3:40 p.m. Thanks to the super slow Cameron Communications connection, the FTP server wouldn't stay connected, and the story missed the five.

Eventually we ended up a block away at the Cameron Library parking lot. I found their Wi-Fi and stretched the laptop's power cable across the rain-soaked asphalt to the outdoor outlet. A few minutes later the story was in the station's computers and ready for the 6 p.m. show.

It should be noted that when we called and told the station that it didn't look like the story was going to make the six either, we were asked if we could go to a Starbucks. The nearest one might be an hour away, if it's still open, so it still wasn't going to make it. To let you know, Cameron doesn't even have a fast food chain restaurant, and people there don't really have the disposable income for expensive coffee. The other question was if any of the other stations still had a sat truck in the area, but the last left around one p.m.

They were there to report news...


turdpolisher said...

heard about your troubles in your hometown. glad you made it back. there was a mighty ill wind a-blowin'. at least in my truck.

Anonymous said...

"there was a mighty ill wind a-blowin'. at least in my truck."

Was this "mighty ill-wind" a result of Tropical Storm TacoBell or Hurricane Wienerschnitzel, TP?