Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Broadcasting Inspiration

No matter what profession someone decides to enter, usually you can find a person who influences you to go for your goal and succeed in the path that you choose for yourself. In my case, I was fortunate enough to have such a person in my family, and she's been a huge part of my drive to become a broadcast journalist.

Peggy Robinson is a (VERY) distant cousin who also happens to be a senior producer at the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. I first met Peggy in middle school, before the idea of a career in broadcast journalism was anything more than a pipe dream of mine. After speaking with her, I was gripped by her descriptions of that world and so it kept my interest running in the field a bit longer. During my high school years, my family and I went to visit her in Washington, D.C. where she lives and where the NewsHour is based. While we were there, we were able to sit in on the live production of one of the daily NewsHour shows. It's at that point that I think I was finally bitten by the broadcasting bug.

Peggy has since kept in touch with me about my experiences in college and with broadcast news, and has also pointed my towards opportunities in the field, including my recent desk assistantship with the NewsHour at the Republican National Convention this month. Without a doubt, I would not be in the place I was at today without her guidance in the industry.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 3 Recap

So Convention continued last night, and it was GLORIOUS event again! Those republicans actually seemed to have some energy last night. And THEN Sarah Palin came out, and FINALLY it felt like the big party the conventions were designed to be. As to actual events, it was the usual drudge work (not to complain, just to define) on tap for the morning, and I did end up being a bouncer during the shows again, BUT I got to make it down to the convention floor, and THIS time, it was chock-full of delegates! The only problem is, anyone with a headset, camera, audio recorder, or other form of recording device had alREADY descended on the floor as well. So I didn't exactly get very far. It WAS very neat to be down in the crush of things as the convention was going on all around me, and the potential historic first female VP was speaking.

More from the RNC later on today; duty calls!

Shaping my career in college

Although there are many things that have contributed to my development throughout college while working towards becoming a professional journalist, there is one experience that really comes to mind in helping me decide where I wanted to end up and pointing out to me that my career was moving in the right direction. It came to me during the class Radio and TV Announcing that we had here at Westminster. About that time, I got my first taste of the most visible position in broadcast journalism, the anchor desk. It had always been a dream of mine when I was a VERY young kid to try out being a news anchor, after of course, the firefighter/police officer/doctor stage. As I got older I heard more and more about how it was a hard field to get in to etc., and eventually said, OK I'll let that go, and moved on to other things. However, after discovering the BC program again, I was inspired to try and reach for the old goal again, and it turns out that it's been there all along.

Getting behind the news desk for the first time was a VERY weird experience. No matter how simple it looks from the TV side of things, the whole production is (of course) much more complicated than it seems. But the one thing that makes it stand out for me was that, even with all the nerves running through me for my first time anchoring, it felt natural in some ways. And now I think back to it and realize how much of a turning point that moment was for me. From that point on, I finally had the experience of doing, albeit on a smaller scale, what I had literally only dreamed about for years. And it's nice to know it's something that (eventually) I will be able to keep on doing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a day!

So it's Day 2 of the Republican National Convention and what a day it's been! I've gotten to see a lot of things today that a big production has to go through that's kind of hard to experience any other way. In addition to my usual duties (including 6 AM newspaper delivery) I also got to stand in one of the sets and help manage the ebb and flow of people in and out during the regular show AND the special convention coverage later on in the same night.

And now for proof that Western Pennsylvania NEVER goes away, no matter how far away you are. As I was in the green room watching people come in and out, who should appear escorting a guest on the show but Liz Stephans and Scott Baker of, who had come to campus and spoken to the broadcasting majors. I had introduced myself to them then and we'd spoken since, and they still remembered me (always a good sign!) I may be meeting them later tonight to keep in touch further, as work kept me jumping while they were there just long enough to keep us from having a very long conversation.

That's all I'll add for now, I may be posting later tonight, but if not, look for another update tomorrow!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Convention Opens!... sort of...

It's Monday, September 1st, and that means it's the opening of the Republican National Convention... or is it?

Although Convention was ready to go, Mother Nature made other plans, and Hurricane Gustav is wreaking havoc with the convention schedule. Although it seems now that the brunt of Gustav is missing New Orleans, it's still too late for today's activities. McCain's called off any convention activities besides the absolutely necessary business, so as not to be seen celebrating while a hurricane destroys the southern Louisiana coast... AGAIN. So they'll be going about the details and procedures of officially convening the convention, and making sure that the convention is valid.

While that's all well and good for the Republicans, it throws a HUGE spanner in the works for the media here, ESPECIALLY the NewsHour. So today's kind of nuts, as we are uncertain as to what the heck is actually going to occur. We also are down to 3 anchors/correspondents, to make matters even more interesting. Jim Lehrer decided to return to Washington after hearing that Gustav would be throwing things out of whack, and Margaret Warner was unable to make it to this convention. This leaves only Gwen Ifill, Ray Suarez and Judy Woodruff to man the fort here. There's still PLENTY of crew too, but the on-air group is now reduced to those three.

At the moment, Gustav is going to be the ONLY thing on CNN, so we're watching that around keepign the show afloat, which is being made even more interesting because the cable is cutting out for a few seconds every so often. Then again, this is bound to happen when pushing a signal through hundreds of new TVs across the center.

Anyway, that's where things stand as of this morning; more to come as things get going!