Thursday, September 9, 2010

News Stories

It's a huge ego trip, but one of the things that makes working in television news fun is watching the news unfod, and gathering the news before it hits the air. When I started in news, the first Gulf War happened. I sat in a little room watching the now-famous CNN coverage of the war games.

One of my jobs was sitting on the assignment desk, listening to police scanners and dispatching news crews accordingly. Sometimes, I would work from late afternoon until the wee hours of the morning, and let me tell you, weird shit happens after midnight.
One time, I'm listening to scanners, and I hear the word "hostage". The story ended up that a young boy named Nathan Thomas was taken hostage, but police accidently killed him instead of the perp. To this day, the Thomas case is textbook case on the importance of good police communication and proper training in the use of deadly force.

Another time, I hear that a hazardous materials team is being called to a hospital, because a patient is emitting a sickening oder. It turned out that out that the woman had drunk a pesticide, and made her kids drink it too. The fact the woman was Asian was significant, because this was somehow a culterally appropriate way to get herself and her family out of a bad family situation,

When authorities were storming the Waco compound of Branch Davidians, a feed of the burning building was on several monitors. Ditto with the reading of the OJ Simpson verdict, and the resignation of Oregon Senator Bob Packwood, who was facing embarrassing sex harassment claims.

In television news, you are prasied if you come in sick. I did that one time producing the early morning show. I got a a about a fire in Aloha, a small town in Oregon. Flames were spreading quickly, and reports were that people had to jump our of their apartment buildings. I decided to call out our own crew. First I called a cameraman who lived near the scene. He responded," Eden, do you realize what time it is? This better be good." Then, I called a reporter and we decided we'd to live reports for the morning newscast. The only problem was, I had no voice, and the crew didn't want me barking information at them, such as when they'd be on the air. This story took a sick twist, when it was revealed that the fire-starter was a tween boy who somehow had the knowledge of where to start the fire for maxi mum damage. I think the fire killed eight people. Since people who work in TV news are are a sick bunch, and since the arsonist had pet rats, he was dubbed "rat boy. The new news director congratulated me for my role in covering this breaking news story(especially since I came in sick). I wish he would have remembered this when I resigned.

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