Thursday, March 31, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
(I stopped by the post office with a buddy on the way to lunch today. He was sending something overnight and it reminded me...)
I thought this happened in Peoria, but in thinking about it, it was post office in California.
I was once mailing tapes out for potential jobs. For readers who aren't familiar... to get a job in television in a different market, standard procedure is to send a resume and a resume tape of the best work you've done at your current station.
So I'm at the post office one day and mailing a bunch of "escape tapes" (as some call them) and the woman behind the counter strikes up a conversation. She was an avid news watcher and she points out to me that she notices that we (reporters) will come into the post office mailing a bunch of these sized envelopes at a time to addresses with call letters... and then it seems she doesn't see us anymore. Very observant.
So if you're mailing out tapes, but want to keep it quiet, have someone else do it or figure out the postage and drop it in the box.
One last thought on this... unless you are on a short list and a news director asks for you to send a tape overnight, don't send stuff overnight. I used to watch lots of tapes with news directors/managers I worked for and let me tell you... 1) overnight does not make it seem more important... tapes will sit... and 2) they're gonna watch it when they get around to watching it.
Plus, for you, there's the cost issue. Express mail (next day) for a VHS tape is $13.65, while priority mail (2-3 day avg.) costs $3.85. If you're paranoid like I am, you can get delivery confirmation for another 45 cents. But if you send out 10 tapes, you're looking at a difference of about 93 bucks.
Nice girl... and I especially like her Green Bay Packers jacket.
Then she proceeds to tell me that she reads my blog in the morning, and even though it is clearly stated in the disclaimer that I will not... I repeat... will not blog from work, she checks it again in the afternoon to see what's new.
Sweetheart... nothing is new. Now I must get back to work...
Monday, March 28, 2005
Someone has to keep this guy in check.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Great line from Pegs last night connecting the comeback to Easter. Nice to see the live coverage.
Didn't see it, but Shannon loved Mattson's package following the Illini back from Chicago to Champaign tonight.
Props to Lee for noticing Weber alone during the celebration, doing a look live and being forceful enough to get the second question after everyone started to pile in.
Also (and this was something I took pride in doing when I was reporting) I noticed he was holding a mic for WAND out of Decatur. I know there are some viewers who think competition between stations is rough, but for the most part, everyone tries to help each other out... especially when it isn't some kind of exclusive.
Thanks to WMBD-TV for allowing basketball fans, Illini fans and HDTV owners to watch the NCAA men's basketball tournament on its great non-HDTV signal. What a shame that CBS is broadcasting these games in perfect HDTV, but central Illinois viewers don't get that experience.
For the first station in Peoria to broadcast in color, and then in stereo, WMBD sure has fallen behind in the 21st century.
Update: It is also being discussed on the PJStar.com message board.
Update: Double Overtime. This is nuts.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Here's my analysis of the game:
The first half wasn't especially good despite the score. Illinois almost totally forgot about Augustine and any kind of post game. They launched three after three, but my problem with this is, even though you're making em, it isn't as high percentage. If you don't establish an inside presence early, you might not be able to later... and if the threes aren't falling, you're in trouble.
Fast forward to the second half.
At the 8:27 mark Deron Williams made an NBA move. He made a great spin move before launching an ill-advised jumper early in the shot clock after Illinois climbed to within 4. It was the most "un-Illinois" play of the year. I call it an NBA move cause it's the kind you make when you have seven games and can afford to do whatever late in the game. In college, it's win or go home and this was when I felt the tide really begin to shift for Arizona.
From there the Wildcats went on a 13-2 run to build what will now be the infamous 15 point lead with 4:02 on the clock. Like I said about the threes... Illinois missed four in a row.
My only real question after seeing just about every Illini game this year (including the Nevada game up close, thanks JG) was when faced with do or die, who was going to step up and hit the big shot or make the big play?
Tonight they answered the question: Brown, Head and Williams. The Illini missed three shots the rest of regulation. Williams scored 8, Head had 8 and Brown had 4. They had key steals and offensive rebounds and eventually won out in the five extra minutes.
Fittingly, the game ended with a defensive stop. It was superior defense that started this run early in the season and defense that has them two wins away from a national championship.
Update: As my wife pointed out this morning, I'm sure lots of people gave up hope when they were down 15... turned the TV off or left the arena. In fact, I heard people on the Score saying just that. But here's the thing. Nobody really knew how this team would respond in this kind of situation. We hadn't seen it before. It's biggest deficit was 9 points before this and that was early against Purdue. This was 15 in a regional final. But they showed what they were made of and will continue to dance.
Down 14 with 4 minutes left and 7 with a 1:25 left... the Illini have comeback to force overtime.
Update: Illini win!
Friday, March 25, 2005
Just FYI, I follow/root for (in order):
Marquette (my school)
Illinois (Shannon's school)
Big Ten teams (in the tourney)
I remember my first night out in Peoria. Aimee Nuzzo and Chris Curtis took me to Sully's and The End Zone (which is something else now, and I can't remember what). At about 2AM, I was ready to go home... which is when Aimee explained to me that the downtown Peoria bars stayed open until 4AM.
For those of you who have moved on... where were your favorite haunts? For newsies still in town, where do you like to hang out after the 10?
Update: I would be remiss in not mentioning that Mark MacGregor used to get us all to Landmark for bowling, before heading downtown... this was towards the end of my time at 31... but also where a romance with one Shannon Tebben started to bloom.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Monday, March 21, 2005
The actual intent, which I do stand by, was to encourage those folks to push for the opportunity. And this doesn't just apply to WHOI or reporters who want to anchor, but people in all newsrooms who want to get cross functional experience, such as producers who want to report or vice versa or news people who want to give weather or sports a shot.
By asking/pushing for the opportunity, more chances should come your way than if you don't. If you don't you're more likely to fly under the radar so to speak. My first reporting offer came because as a photographer, I let my boss know that I had the desire and I thought I had the ability to do something else.
Yesterday (network anchor) did a piece on how people have finally
stopped buying SUVs because of gasoline prices. Earlier this week the Detroit
News said SUV sales were down and G.M. was way down because of so many gas
guzzlers in its line up.
Five minutes ago....I did a series of teases
saying, "Why are gas guzzlers STILL so popular? We'll ask an expert!" The
"expert" is the sales manager for a local auto dealership which sells
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Paul's anchoring on 19 with Laura off. As much as I'm a big fan of when Amanda will bring in the main team for a big event, this is a regular Sunday. Come on reporters... step up to the desk. Even if you have no interest in being an anchor, it is a good experience.
I thought I'd check out our newest anchor on 31 as well... instead I see a horribly cheesy shark movie. My eyes cannot roll far enough back into my head for how bad this is. Yet, I can't bring myself to switch back to 19 or 25. It's like knowing two trains are going to collide... can't... take... my eyes... off the screen.
Maybe this needs to be a strategy... put something so bad on people can't help but watch... equals great lead in. Mercifully, a commercial... but now I've missed the forecasts. Darn shark movie. Maybe I'll stay up for 31's newscast.
Update: Marc Strauss on Bruce Pearl's comment about BC/Illinois - "Sir, get out of the car, close your eyes and touch your fingers to your nose."
Now he's on to the baseball/steroids story and I must go back to the shark movie.
Ahhhh. It's still on. And it's still horrible. The best part of the movie... the credits.
Update 2: In honor of the book I'm reading "Blink", here's my first impression of Trisha based on one intro with Jay. Poised. Good reader... no uptalk. Good voice. Was able to transition gracefully from open, to Schaivo story. Like the long hair. Seems like the agents/consultants/news managers in the world are getting the majority of news women to cut their hair and get basically one of four haircuts. This young woman has just said "no."
On blood story, good recognition of different emphasis needed in the intro. Mispronounced Liza's name, but that's okay... she's brand new.
On first impression... a good addition to the 31 news team.
It's a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens
in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a
house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book,
your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well,
"Blink" is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant
conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and,
occasionally, really good.
You could also say that it's a book about intuition, except that I don't like that word. In fact it never appears in "Blink." Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings--thoughts and impressions that don't' seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and
operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious
decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking."
In "Blink" I'm trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on in inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition
Brent Lonteen had great seats at midcourt and had his son, Dylan with him. I can't believe how big he is. It seems like he was born just yesterday.
Andrew Miller is the sports director at WICD. He was an intern at WMBD when I was there. Glad to see he's doing so well.
Explained to Jim Mattson that we were both at the same "Wiggles" concert.
Also, heard a really funny story from a "credible source" about an anchor auditioning at at a Chicago station and asking something to the effect of "do I look too young/do I make you look old" to the others on set. It was in jest, I'm sure, but it turns out this did not go over well with the female taking part.
Personally, I think it's great that this anchor got a shot like that and hope it works out.
Jack Ingram also had a career high off the bench. All year, all you'd hear about nationally is the backcourt... yet in the biggest game of the year, that backcourt was smart enough to realize the way to win was to defer.
Every game is a test. Each posession, each decision, each play is a question and how you answer will determine whether you pass or in this case go home. Illinois is moving on to a game with Wisconsin-Milwaukee... a game with some good subplots.
1. Bruce Pearl, coach of UWM was (along with former player Deon Thomas) at the center of the controversy that put Illinois on probation in the early 90's
2. Bruce Weber grew up in Milwaukee and is a UWM grad (he was also at one time an assistant coach at my high school).
3. For Market 117 hoops fans, UWM is led by Joah Tucker who transfered from Bradley to be closer to home.
For me it is an intriguing game because I grew up just blocks from the UWM campus and have seen the program grow from nothing to a Sweet 16 team. My dad follows the team and will never let Shannon hear the end of it if they win.
This game was not at a neutral court. I'd say the crowd was at least 75-80% for Illinois, with the next big group being Kentucky which played the second game. Unfortunately there were no Ashley Judd sightings.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Trisha Skidmore is the new weekend co-anchor with Jay. She is the 4th Ohio University grad to work at WMBD in recent years. Liza, Amy and Shelli Dankoff are the others.Trisha spent 2 years at WHIZ in Zanesville, Ohio as the morning/noon anchor/producer.
I really liked in the mid 90's when I was there when there was a separate team on the 5:00 from the 6 and 10. Brent and Kristyn were a great team. I actually think Liza and Will Koch on the 5 would work, with Bob and Amy continuing to do the 6 and 10. It would give you some flexibility too if you had Liza reporting dayside, finishing with the 5... and Will reporting in the afternoon and after the 5 while still anchoring at 9.
By the way, this is just an opinion... not a necessarily a suggestion. I don't know if Chris (WMBD news director) reads the blog, but I do recognize doing something like this would mean shifting lots of schedules. I don't want people to think I think it's as easy as snapping your fingers.
Great win by UW-Milwaukee. I grew up on the east side of Milwaukee and can only imagine how nuts it'll be there tonight between the big win and St. Paddy's celebrations.
Okay... off to soccer practice.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The only thing worse than my bowling form is my golf form.
Meant to post this on Saturday. I love bowling, but I'm just bad.
I don't know why, but for some reason, I think conceptually everyone should be good at bowling. I know that's not the case and respect people who do it well. But no one's guarding you, the area of play is universal and some people play better after a beer.
Bowling at Landmark and hanging out with the 31 crew back in the day, is how Shannon and I started testing the waters so to speak. I tease her cause she even used to dress up for me. We've come a long way :)
Congrats to Miranda Kahn on being named a NewsBlues looker. Miranda by the way is significant other to former WHOI producer Darrin Willhite, who by the way, if you know him... doesn't he look like a cross between ISU coach Porter Moser and U of I forward Jack Ingram? See the linked story for his picture.
It's not a bad idea to stay in touch with people at places you want to go, even if you don't intend on going there right now. It's also not a bad idea to make connections in other industries where your skills could transfer.
A friend of mine will from time to time encourage me to send him a tape with the hope of getting freelance work or at least getting on his bosses' radar. An excellent idea. Not that I plan on leaving where I am anytime soon or expect layoffs etc. Now if I just had the time to get a tape together...
I tell people all the time my paranoia keeps me from being suprised.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Then it was off to Bill and Gina's and a birthday party for her daughter. I look at their kids and ours and just can't believe how fast they grow up. Caught up with Matt and Sandy Jones for a while. Both seem like naturals with kids.
I was supposed to play poker at Glenn's (WEEK's webmaster) but with soccer this week and running around all day, I was exahusted and slept basically from 4:30-8ish. We all did... which is why I'm up now. Of course, my co-workers were trying to teach me to play while we bowled.
On my way to get dinner, Rebecca Somach called to catch up. She and Josh finally sold their house in Peoria after 18 months or so. I'm very happy for them as it has been a major pain for them.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Update: Eureka ties it up after being down double figures going into the quarter.
Update 2: Eureka player misses tying free throw, Liberty wins. Tough break for the Hornets.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
As stated in previous posts, I do support reporters getting as much live experience as possible and while I'm not a huge fan of the late live shot at an empty building, at least that building is usually related to the story.
Lisa did a good job with the Lefkow story. Hit all the points that I've been reading about today. Solid delivery too. But just curious as to why she was out in the 31 parking lot.
Glad to see Jill get a chance to fill in on the 6 and 10 shows. Same with Robert doing sports at 31.
I have yet to fully dive into this TV on DVD thing. I did pick up a season of the Simpsons for Christmas, but that's because my brother didn't know what to get me... so I had him buy me something I normally wouldn't.
I will buy "Ed" if it ever comes out on DVD. Might buy the first few seasons of "24" since I've become such a big fan.
Note to those of you with new babies (Jeff) or considering having kids in the future. You'll never watch your shows live again. Not that it's a big deal or even a complaint. Just the facts. Thursday is the big TV night for us. "Survivor", "Apprentice" and "ER." But we don't watch them till the kids are in bed cause it's impossible to watch otherwise. At least we get to skip the commercials.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
I'm also happy to report that Rebecca Somach, formerly of WHOI, is close to going full time as a reporter at KOVR in Sacramento where she's been freelancing for the past eight months or so.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
It was nice because we got to chew the fat with friends we don't see all that much anymore and they got to see the baby. Josh is especially excited about the potential move as it would mean less of a drive for Sunday Ticket viewing.
Got to chat with the boss for a few minutes. Something about what Jim does that I think news directors in other markets need to do a better job of is prepping for the future. Jim is proactive in keeping contact with potential employees in a way that makes the hiring process a much less painful process than it can be at other stations. That... and having experience KARE... one of the most well respected stations in the country... gives him great perspective.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Also got a chance to check out some of the news. This market is made up of Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City and Dubuque which adds up to market 88. But market size number is deceiving. The news content/stories/issues aren't much different than what you'd see in market 117... although at least one station seemed to have their own helicopter. The talent in a few cases is better... in some cases it's worse. All in all, pretty comparable, but there is almost a 30 market difference.
Got to see a Steve Nicoles report. I'm kind of surprised he went here from WHOI. No offense to the people in that market, but I think he could have made a bigger jump. I know he's from California and could have seen him going to Fresno from here.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
What's scarrier is I don't recall Bob eating as much garbage as the rest of us do/did. TV news by it's nature is a fast food (and eat it fast) industry. Hopefully this does serve as a wake up call for viewers, colleagues and competitors alike.
It's a satire from Paul Farhi of the Washington Post.
To: All ActionEyewitnessTVNews Personnel
From: News director
Subj: Snow coverage.
Folks: Just wanted to offer a few reminders about how our TV station covers
snowfall in the Washington area:
1. We mobilize "full team coverage" whenever snow is predicted, is falling
or has fallen. We also do it if snow might fall. Or if it happens to be
January, February or March.
2. Backdrop graphics: Before it snows, the sign on screen should read, "Snow
on the Way?" If we get 1 to 2 inches, it's "Snow Emergency!" Three to 7
inches: "Killer Storm!" Anything more, we run with "Avalanches, Cannibalism
3. Anchors: Use dramatic verbs, even for minimal snow totals. Bad: "The
region received a dusting today." Better: "Snow
paralyzed/pummeled/blasted/buried the Washington area today." Better still:
4. Reporting locales: The overpass. The city salt hut. The big-box hardware
store. The supermarket (remember: Any market in which three shoppers are
buying milk, bread or toilet paper simultaneously constitutes "panic
5. Interview subjects: Anyone out walking or driving in snow. (Required
question: "You're walking/driving . . . in THIS weather?") Cute kids home
from school. The first guy to buy a shovel at Home Depot.
6. Best winter-weather footage, in terms of ratings: a) Car/bus failing to
climb icy hill; b) More impressive snowfall somewhere else; c) Two cars
skidding into each other (will accept video of this occurring ANYWHERE in
7. Advice to weather forecasters: "Snow" is a terribly overused word.
Instead, use weathery sounding words such as "precip" or "wintry mix." When
in doubt, fall back on "the white stuff."
8. As soon as the snow stops, go with new graphic: "Winter Wonderland!"
And never admit we got the forecast wrong. Bundle up!
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
So what's on your tape? Reporters looking to make a big jump as a reporter should have hard news and live shots to start. Need to show lots of confidence.
Photogs need to show solid storytelling, well composed shots, sequences and good use of nat sound.
Producers... do you have a show that takes advantage of lots of reporters, live shots, on set pieces? How did you break up a big story into smaller parts? How about blocking and transitions?
For those of you embarking on the job hunt, keep in mind a few things:
With some exceptions...
Reporters can make the biggest jumps if they go after non-anchoring jobs.
Reporters looking to anchor are best going after weekend jobs in a similar sized market or maybe a little bigger depending on the quality of tape.
Anchors will generally not move to the same level of anchoring if they move up in market size... so a 6 and 10 anchor here might be looking at a 5PM show/night reporter job.
Producers can make big jumps as a rule, but even bigger jumps if they are open to working overnights. Photogs too. Keep in mind producers will have an easier time moving up in that situation than the photog.
Sports jobs are the toughest to find.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for more money (unless you're desperate to leave and figure that could cost you the job). Many stations will shoot low hoping that you'll just be thrilled to be offered a job. Others may have no budget.
For example, when I was looking to leave the first time, my first offer was at a station in Rockford. It was for a weekend anchor/producer job. The first offer was $17,500. I told him I was already making almost 23. He offered 18,5... clearly he wasn't going to be able to match.
The job in Monterey paid 30K. I wanted more money and vacation. Got an extra week, but the ND didn't want to give me more money too. But it didn't hurt to ask.