To say I’ve been on the go this week would be an understatement. During my last week in the newsroom, I’ve been shadowing reporters and photographers, shooting stand-ups and teases, helping write scripts, and watching video editing. It might sound like a boring routine, but each day is a new story and a different experience. Every morning I attend the pitch meeting for day-side reporters and producers. Several story ideas are pitched, and reporters are given assignments for the day. I must say – it’s been quite a change from reporting in Columbia, Missouri. There is much more news to cover and things happening – sometimes too much to keep up with!
On Monday, I went out with photographer Walter Hildebrand. He works as a one-man-band, so I was really happy to shadow him because that’s what I’m used to doing at school. We went to Chesapeake to cover a bazaar story – a coyote had literally attacked a man’s car, leaving teeth marks in the metal and ripping rubber and plastic from the vehicle. When we were driving to the story, both of us kind of thought the guy was exaggerating about what happened. However, when we got there – we were shocked at the amount of damage the animal caused to this man’s car. Walter shot video of the damage and interviewed the owner. It was a unique story to cover, because it’s not something that happens everyday. After getting some good b-roll and sound, Walter and I headed back to the station. I watched him write and edit a package, which was really great to observe. Walter is very good at working on his deadline. He was never rushed in the field, and gave himself plenty of time to write and edit before the show. It was also good to see how he could make a simple story into a package. He didn’t have a large variety of b-roll and only filmed one interview, but he made the story interesting.
This week I’ve worked a lot on shooting stand-ups. On Tuesday, I went out with photographer Greg Gadberry. I’ve been working with him a lot over the past two weeks, and he’s been super helpful! He’s encouraged me to have more energy and confidence in my voice. I can tell I’ve already improved my performance level just over the past two weeks I’ve been working in the news department. I was also told I need to spice up my wardrobe to make myself standout! I never realized I wear so much black and white. Greg explained that wearing brighter colors will help make my reel more interesting – and revamping my wardrobe gives me an excuse to go shopping! I am so thankful to be getting hands-on experience during my internship. I’ve also anchored a few times this week, which will be great material to use for my resume tape. It’s crazy to think that at this time next year I’ll be looking for jobs. My internship at WAVY has definitely taught me a lot about this business, and how to make yourself standout from the crowd.
As for news, I’ve got to help cover some great stories! Wednesday was the very first day I got to shadow a reporter. I went out with Lauren Compton, and we covered a murder trial! I’ve never been to court, let alone cover a murder. It was a great experience and taught me a lot about how a reporter should act in a court setting. I was also faced with a lot of challenging questions. Lauren did a great job at confronting the family of the victim, as well as the defendant. As one could imagine, the family was extremely emotional and didn’t want to comment on the trial. But as a reporter, it’s your job to get out there and ask. I realized you have to have really thick skin for this job. I need to toughen up a lot and have the courage to walk up to people – no matter what the situation is. It was hard for me to imagine how the mother must of been feeling, but I admired Lauren for the way she performed in such a difficult situation. She was very respectful, and gave them the opportunity to speak because she felt they deserved it. I was so glad I got to shadow her and see how to go about dealing with situations like this. When it came to the defendant, we had to ambush them and follow them to their car. This was also shocking to me – you have to have some serious guts to do that. The defendant didn’t say anything, but without following them and asking questions – we wouldn’t have had much to show for our story. In TV, you need sound and video to do your job – even if it’s hard to get. Covering this court case with Lauren was tough, but I’m glad I was there to take it all in. I’ll always remember how crazy it was to shadow a reporter for the first time!
I got to attend another court case this week – but it was a completely different type. WAVY has termed it “Justice for Jenny.” The case dealt with a 30-year-old girl with down syndrome, who was fighting to live with her friends rather than her parents – who wanted her to live in a group home. The case has been going on for a year, and a lot of viewers are invested in Jenny’s story. Sitting in the court room and waiting for the decision was really nerve racking. A lot of supporters were there for Jenny and the closing argument was very powerful. The decision came out in Jenny’s favor – giving guardianship to her friends for a year. I was shadowing Lauren again, and she did a great job covering this story! The whole time she was in court, she took notes and prepared questions to ask jenny and her parents. Once the case was over, we had to rush outside and wait for everyone to exit. It was very spontaneous and exciting, and it was such a neat experience. Lauren interviewed Jenny, her new guardians, and her attorney. She asked some great questions and really understood the story she was working on. I was able to snap some really great photos of Jenny after the case and sent them to the web desk! They made a slideshow with all my photos on the website and I got the photo credit! It felt great to contribute something to the story! After interviewing everyone, Lauren only had minutes until she had to go live! She did awesome at working on such a tight deadline! She was able to write a small package and did a great job during her live shot! I realized how prepared you have to be in a situation like this. You have to think ahead and know what you’re doing, because you don’t have the time to decide. It’s also important not to crack under pressure. Overall, it was such an exciting day and I am so glad I got to be a part of it. Seeing such a talented reporter work under pressure and a tight deadline was a really great experience for me! I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a business that you have to learn as you go. Actually working in the field and getting in front of a camera has taught me so much. Someone can give you tips and teach you as much as they want, but it’s not until you do it that you come to fully understand. Being able to critique my mistakes and finding what works best for me has helped my performance level advance.
Next Wednesday is my last day at WAVY, and I couldn’t be more sad. My time here has been so wonderful and I’ve learned far more than I could have ever imagined. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had will always stay with me. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and will miss Hampton Roads dearly.