Sunday, July 31, 2005

On Set Reunion


Back where it all started

Front row: Catherine, Tracy, Dan, me
Back row: Dave, GrantPosted by Picasa

Nikki couldn't make it out on Saturday, but Tracy came up from Chicago. Got a chance to see the upgrades to the TV department.

Dan and I caught a Brewers game afterwards.

Out And About


Me and Dan with Ziggy Posted by Picasa

My second semester freshman year, Dan and I started a segment for one of the entertainment programs at MUTV. The first thing we ever did was a learning how to cook segment with Ziggy. He remembered us when we stopped in for lunch on Saturday.

Macker Memories

Glad to read that David Booth was more than holding his own at the Macker this weekend. If you don't know him, he's a heck of a nice guy. Got to know him when I used to play at Landmark. I like to think I have a pretty good shot, but trust me, play "Horse" with David and he'll make you rebound for him after you lose.

This used to be one of my favorite weekends of the summer in Peoria. I played in half a dozen Mackers from 96-03... missing just the years I lived in California, last year due to knee problems and this year because of the reunion, but cause the guys I play with just haven't been able to make it down.

The media division was fun cause depending on the years, you play with a crowd. Basically it was overflow of spectators from the "good" courts.

I have but two really good memories of playing as mostly what I took away was borderline heat exaustion and a limp that lasted into the next week. In 01, after leaving TV, Brent Lonteen asked me to play for the 31 team. It was going to be me, him, Doc and Troy (a local deejay). I had played with Troy on 31's team that did fundraisers for schools... he is excellent, so I figured, yeah, I'll play, run around, feed him the ball and stay injury free.

Turns out Troy couldn't make it, so it was gonna be three out of shape guys and no sub. So minus our "ringer" there was absolutely no pressure to perform and I took it upon myself to be, in honor of George Costanza, "a chucker."

The funny thing was, just about everything I was throwing up was going in, including shots from the edge of the court with people in my face. The WMBD team won all three games that day. In some years, that would have meant the championship, but that year, there was a day two. We came back to earth and stunk it up on Sunday.

Two years ago was most likely the last time for me. As there was no media division, Steve Scheuer, Darrin Willhite, Brad Burke and I gave it a run in a standard division. We played pretty well winning two and losing one on Saturday. Those guys basically carried me most of the weekend, but I finally hit stride on Sunday and helped build a lead. Unfortunately, I was getting killed defending the post and sat down in hopes they could finish it off. We tied the game at 13 when I came back in. I inbounded the ball and called for it back right away then drained a long jumper for the win.

Brad and Steve both had to get going, so we told our opponents they could keep playing instead of giving the next team we were supposed to face a forfeit. That shot felt great and maybe there's something to be said for leaving it at that.

Catching Up


Front row: Nikki, Catherine, Grant
Back row: Cameron, Dan, me, Shannon Posted by Picasa

Dinner Friday night involved five former Marquette University Television folks. Of the five of us, only Grant (in the dark green) still works in the field.

We had the best time catching up and reminiscing about old times. I had written about them earlier in the week, but now I'm even more convinced that really good college friends are a lot like family. We picked back up as if we were just back from summer vacation. I still can't believe it has been ten years. I'm sure the two spouses (Cameron and Shannon) who came out got a little more insight into the life of an MU broadcast student.

After at Edwardo's, we ended up at a couple of the bars on campus. They were kind of dead as school is still out, but at least we didn't have to talk too loud. Met up with Dave (pictured two posts from this one) who is also still doing TV work as an editor in Hollywood. Actually ran into the wife of another of my college roommates.

Friday, July 29, 2005

MUTV Class of '95


MUTV class of '95 Posted by Picasa

There we were ten years ago... about to enter the real world and ready to conquer it.

Baseball Buzz

Took the kids to see the Chiefs/Nomar. O'Brien feels a lot different when there are 9000 people there. Quite a buzz going with a big time, big leaguer in the house. If only they could get these rehabbers more often.

I'm told that Mia very graciously declined an invitation to speak to my girls.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Liza Is Leaving


Liza Danver Posted by Picasa

Liza Danver is leaving WMBD and will soon be in Europe backpacking. She says after that "who knows." I'm sure after her European vacation (Chevy Chase reference), she'll surface in a 30ish market or larger. Liza's live presence is very strong and at larger market stations, especially those where they want to do a lot of live hits throughout their morning shows, her skills will be in demand. Click on the link to see some of her work.

Jeff and Jessamyn also post about her departure.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Competitive Drive

Hey Airwaves... I'll get you rosters tomorrow... schedules will be out next Thursday.

I played a little soccer tonight... last open gym for the summer... 20+ kids... boys and girls. I'm trying to get in a little bit of shape before our Peoria Park District league starts.

I'm starting to wonder when I'll give this up though... the mind is willing, but the body isn't always. Not to say I wasn't holding my own with high school boys... on one play, I'm chasing after the ball running parallel to the top of the box, when in a split second I decided not to touch it or even try to control and put a move on the defender, but to run hard, overrun it and carry it back in. It worked, but it seemed to take a lot more effort than it would have even two or three years ago. Yes, I know I need to get my knee fixed, but I know it's more than that.

Over the weekend, I had an interesting conversation with someone about being competitive. I was asking her if she was interested in rejoining our team, but as she doesn't think soccer is her best thing, she's opting out again. I discovered she is very competitive and if you don't know this, it isn't unusual for really competitive people to not do things where they can't or don't think they can succeed at a fairly high level. That's why I don't golf.

So even after I get my knee fixed, the fact is you get older, you slow down, you need to adapt your style of play or you won't be able to contribute that much. Unfortunately all I do related to athletics is based on quickness. And being highly competitive myself, I'm curious to see how long it is before I'm a full time coach.

What I've Learned In Ten Years

More retrospective thoughts tonight... if you're here or the TV stuff, I'm sorry... got reunion on the brain... taking stock etc. Please keep in mind that I love and respect many people still in TV news and Hollywood... it's just that in the end, neither was for me.

When I turned my back on TV news the first time, I was 22. I think my parents thought I was crazy. I was turning down a full time job as a reporter in Milwaukee for an eight week Academy internship, all the way across the country, with the promise of nothing more. Maybe they didn't think I was crazy, but I know, as proud as they were that I was chosen... that it didn't really make sense. But I started learning about a need to spread my wings. I was 22... single... and I'd never lived anywhere but Milwaukee and I thought if I don't go now, I may never go. So as I made my way through life in LA, I defined my goal for success as one day writing and producing feature films... telling amazing stories that would entertain millions.

If you work in that industry, most people work a job and as one is wrapping up, they're looking for the next one. It's a cycle, but it is true that once you've been there a while and made your connections, you'll have to turn down work. People who knew me in college, who knew how well I connect with lots of different people thought this would be the perfect place for me... but it wasn't. I started to learn about my insecurities... that I didn't like the idea of having to keep switching jobs and not knowing for sure who'd be paying you next... and that you might pay your dues for years and never get a chance to do what I wanted to do.

So I went back into news... where I knew I'd get to tell stories... different ones than in LA... shorter ones... but real stories that mattered and I'd do it every day and I did it at three stations. I learned that I loved the lighter stories cause there was much more room for the creativity I wanted to let out... and you weren't chasing after people at the worst moments of their lives. But whatever the story, I loved the sense of satisfaction that at the end of the day, it was done and nothing was really hanging over you. And I defined my goal for success... to anchor a morning show... wake people up and give em what they need to get through the day... then go out and find a story I wanted to do that would run in an early evening show. This I thought really fit my personality. I wanted to do it in as big a market as I could so I could make money to support a family cause TV around here for the most part doesn't pay that much.

But I started to learn more about myself. I learned that sooner, rather than later I wanted a family and wanted to stay near near family. Shannon likes to tell the story of a night when she was babysitting and the child wasn't being the best... and that's when I decided that our plan to wait two years was going to go out the window. I started to learn that I didn't want to move from market to market every couple of years. So I left news for the corporate world, where you don't work holidays or nights or weekends (okay, sometimes you do but not as part of a regular schedule). With a family, stability and money and good benefits became a lot more important.

So now I'm 32 and what I've learned in 10 years out of school is that your job, your career doesn't define you. I've learned that telling stories, while a very public way to touch people's lives is something that I miss at times, I can have an effect on people in other ways, as a coach, as a volunteer... heck as a blogger. And I've learned to really enjoy the people... cause when a story or project or a career is done and gone and forgotten, it's the relationships that last.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

College Friends

Got an e-mail today from Lisa, one of my best friends from college. 7th months pregnant with her second child, she will be unable to join us this weekend. Lisa worked hard and did really well in school, but when it came time to enter the workforce, she decided she had enough of the Ramen and bad wages. I think she knew deep down that if you want to do it, you've gotta love it.
Lisa skipped TV and went to work for a supplier for Nike, spending a lot of time overseas (unfortunately causing her to miss my wedding) and now she works for IBM. She was quite pleased when I joined her in corporate America a few years back.

Despite her absence, I'm still very excited to see the rest of my college friends. This might be overgeneralizing for some, but for me... the thing about college friends vs. high school friends is that you live with them. They've known you since when you started taking the baby steps into adulthood. They've seen you at your best, but more often at your worst... in your boxers, in the morning, without makeup...

They've been there for your really bad choices... maybe they've helped you to and from the bathroom at the end of a rough night. They knew the real you... the one that was scared and confident all at the same time... ready to take on the world. They knew you before you accomplished anything in your field and despite what you may have done or become, you're still the person they ordered pizza with at one in the morning, or the one they cried with after a breakup or shared your dreams with before you tried to make them come true.

I can't wait to catch up... and remember.

Update: This is why Shannon and her best friend from college were having the best time... up till 4 in the morning on Saturday talking and looking up old boyfriends on the internet.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Job Hunting For Dummies - Making Your Cover Letter Memorable

File this post under for what it's worth... don't know if I'd really recommend any of this, but read on.

The other day I had written about making contact with stations in Palm Springs. At the time I was undecided about my future... do I stay in news, or do I move to LA. This was at the start of my last semester.

Anyway, I wanted to separate myself from the stacks of tapes I know stations get, so aside from my cover letter I added a note for the newsroom secretaries that went something like:

Like you, I work in a newsroom and I know you don't always get a chance to get lunch or dinner. So I've attached this dollar bill to for an emergency vending machine run. All I ask is that you make sure the news director takes a look at my tape.
Apparently no one station had a sense of humor cause they sent the dollar back. But when I talked to the news director the other station, he explained that (being a small market and all) he opens his own mail. He thought this was hilarious and said he'd love to sit down with me if I ever made it out. So when planning spring break for Vegas and LA, we made a stop in Palm Springs.

When I moved to LA, there were a couple of opportunities to go there and get back into news, but the money and timing just was never right.

Advertising legend Leo Burnett said "make it memorable" and in this case I did.

I had a boss who let me watch tapes with her and in critiquing some of the letters, she told me she'd love to see someone with enough confidence to write in crayon in big letters "Watch my tape, I'm good!" It would make you memorable.

There is an urban legend about a young reporter sending his tape in a pizza box. Unfortunately it was not an unused box, or so the legend goes... so stuff like this can clearly misfire if not thought out.

American Anchor

Last month I floated the unoriginal idea of WHOI letting viewers decide its next morning anchor. Apparently the FOX station in Roanoke, VA is already doing it.

At Fox 21/27, a different finalist has sat in the anchor chair every night since Monday, and viewers have been invited to vote and comment on each one.
The process will wrap up on Tuesday or Wednesday. Chris Wolf, the Fox station's director of creative services, called the approach "interactive television."


The finalists

Dawn Jefferies: Weekend anchor for Fox 21/27 and WSLS Newschannel 10. Interned at "American's Most Wanted."

Grace Polanski: Formerly at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, N.Y.

Natalie Faunce: KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb. Once worked at WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tenn.

Krista Platzer: Global Television in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Vivian Tamayo: A news anchor and reporter currently freelancing as a reporter in Las Vegas for both the NBC affiliate KVBC-TV and the CBS affiliate KLAS-TV.

Speaking of the 19 morning show, Monica got a chance to fill in this morning and had to say "abdominal aortic aneurysm." She got through it just fine, but try saying that at 5AM.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Choice Of Words

Flipped between all three stations tonight. Of course all three covered the heartbreaking story out of Morton. As parents of three young children, Shannon and I have the family in our thoughts and prayers tonight. As former journalists, we had the same thought that I want to share about the coverage.

Just to preface... the point of this post isn't to "call out" the person who read/wrote it and to that end, I won't specify who it was nor will I leave this post open to comment... just hoping everyone reading can take something away from this thought.

Within the story, one of the stations stated relatives "refused" to talk on camera. Maybe my wife and I are oversensitive, but we both feel "refused" needs to be reserved for describing people who may have something to answer for and don't want to do an on camera interview. The other two stations didn't even reference not having sound from the family and I think viewers get that.

This is a family who lost a child... a family whose lives have been changed for the worse forever.

Think about what's on their "radar" right now. I'm guessing giving a few soundbites for the 10:00 news isn't anywhere near it. Relatives "understandably didn't want to speak with us on camera..." would have been better.

As I said, comment section is closed on this, but e-mail me if you have a thought on this and I may consider posting it.

Update: I'm not above admitting when I am wrong. The following is a thought from WCBU news director Jonathan Ahl.

Edgar:

I agree “refused” might not have been the best word. I would have gone with “declined our request to talk about the incident” or something like that. But “understandably didn’t want to speak to us on camera” injects empathy into the story. I think that’s wrong, even in this case. Because if we allow empathy to enter into what we do, then where do we draw the line? If I can have empathy for the family of a dead child, can I feel for the family of a dead teenager? What if that teenager was in a gang? What if the dead teenager was shooting at a cop? What about empathy for the Oklahoma City Bombers if I agree the government is wrong and needs to be stopped? Can I have empathy for Lyn Howard if I think he did nothing wrong? Where do you draw the line and who gets to draw it?

Refused was a bad word here. But it is almost as bad to go to the other extreme. I would have either NOT mentioned there willingness/unwillingness to participate altogether, or I would have said they “declined our request for an interview” or just “did not want to talk to us on camera.” Let’s let the viewers decide if it’s understandable or not.

-Jonathan

Also, the following was sent by a photographer who will remain nameless until I get the okay to ID that person.

I read your post on the blog and it made me think. Sometimes we get so caught up on getting sound and the best story that we forget this is a little girl and a grieving family. We treat it as a death. I didn't cover the story, but I will think about what you said when I work on stories about death. WE forget this is a person and not just a story. I feel terribly for the parents and I hate that we are now having to do stories about car safety. It is a terrible tragedy.

Good thoughts... keep em coming.

A Well Told Story

Question: How long should a package be?

Answer: As long as it takes to tell the story.

Okay, that won't fly depending on the station or the day or the show, but Sunday night's 10:00 show on 19 was a perfect example of when you give a good reporter/photographer team time to do it and time to tell it, that local news can still be a great source of wonderful stories.

Josh Brogadir and Dane Firkus told the story of a family who has lost one son to a disease and fears losing another. It was well written and well shot and ran 4:25 on tape (I had it on DVR). Thing is, it was well structured, much more like you'd see on a magazine show... and it moved. Good use of short bites and nat bites helped it along.

Kudos to the station for making the effort. Stories like this are often told in :45 seconds with a bite and a "how you can help" graphic... and while yes, I recognize you can't do this all the time, as a viewer I appreciate that the family was able to have this forum as they push for more testing.

Job Hunting For Dummies - Road Trips

Good post on Medialine about road trips. This topic came up years ago and someone there ripped me cause she was a manager in a touristy area and didn't want to be bothered, but whatever. Road trips when looking for jobs can be productive if you're flexible and polite.

My senior year in college, my roommate Shawn and my friend Nikki and I decided to do spring break out west. Nikki set up a meeting a station in Vegas and we both set up meetings at a station in Palm Springs. I was eventually offered a couple of jobs by that Palm Springs ND, but it just never worked out.

During my second year at 31, TOB and I took a similar vacation, with stops at stations in San Diego and Tucson... and I want to say she got at least one call out of that.

There is some thought that goes into to this, although I suppose you can cold call.

By the spring of out senior year, Nikki and I were both working at WISN. The AM/Noon anchor had come from Vegas and gave her a contact. In an effort to be near LA (and a possible career in Hollywood), I had written to both stations in PS (a really good story which I will get to in a future post) and started a relationship with one of the NDs.

When TOB and I planned our trip, my sister was living in Tucson. I made contact with the then main anchor at KVOA who was mentor to another friend of mine (and Joe was also a Marquette grad). In San Diego, the station we stopped at was owned by Midwest Television, which at the time also owned 31 and the ND was my old boss from Milwaukee.

These trips are a good way to network and if people are willing get feedback on your work... and it'll only take away a little time away from your fun.

Top Ten Shows

Steve Tarter takes an unscientific stab at a list of the top ten shows on television.

For my tastes, in no particular order I watch:
  1. 24
  2. 6 Feet Under
  3. Entourage
  4. ER
  5. The Apprentice
  6. Survivor
and way too much football.

A Little Lady Luck

Made it to the Par-a-dice after a party with a couple of MARKET 117ers and a townie friend (although he prefers the term "local"). I ended up losing $8... the guest of honor left up $4.75.

I was disappointed not to run into Pekin Mayor Lyn Howard. I mean how unfair is it, that because of all this stuff in the news, that hasn't even been proven in a court of law, that this guy doesn't feel comfortable going to a place that he apparently enjoyed so much. I place the blame entirely on the media.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Popular Girls


Aimee and Kimberly Posted by Picasa

You know, just like in high school, some girls are more popular than others. In going through my sitemeter, former WMBDers Aimee Nuzzo and Kimberly Houk are the two that people from other places are searching for early and often and ending up at MARKET 117. Thanks for stopping by.

College Living


Campus Town Posted by Picasa

As I get ready for my ten year college reunion and a weekend (next weekend) of hitting old haunts and reminiscing about times when 9:35 was the earliest class I'd schedule, I've decided to punish you, my readers, with occasional posts of college.

This is Campus Town... my first college apartment after two years in the dorms. Before this it used to be bunch of rundown bars and businesses and Giulianos Pizza which I loved my freshman year. But all that made way for "progress" and my roommates and I were among the building's first residents. The first floor housed a laundry and Blockbuster, but somehow my movies were still late. It was the ideal location for me as it was two blocks from WISN where I got my first internship and eventual TV job.

As my roommates weren't moving in until the fall, I subletted the other room to my friends Catherine and Nikki the summer before our junior year. This is the kind of drive we had... I was working four days a week as a shooter, while Catherine was working several jobs and interning at the NBC across town. Nikki was interning in Chicago and Green Bay and at my station.

I'm An Uncle

Big day for our family. My sister and brother-in-law welcomed their first child, Jazmin Anaya to the world this morning. I like to joke that I became the favorite when Shannon and I started giving my parents some grandkids, but today, my sister has reclaimed her throne. :)

Mr. Mom

So today it's my turn to play Mr. Mom. That has meant me and the kids sleeping in and calling our friends at Pizza Hut for lunch.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Movies Related To TV News

Don't know if there's a theme this week, but at some point I've caught bits and pieces of "Anchorman", "Up Close And Personal" and "Mad City."

Of course, lots of people will say "Broadcast News", but what are your favorite movies related to TV news and for newsies, what things about these movies make you shake your head the same way doctors shake their heads when ER comes on?

Birthday Wishes


Little E says "Happy Birthday" Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday (within the next week) to competing city hall reporters and friends 31's Lisa Miller and 25's Melissa Dunton. This was taken at Josh Simon's birthday. Can't confirm whether or not the small Elvis impersonater will make it back this weekend to celebrate.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Coming Full Circle And The Bachelor


T and my three. Posted by Picasa

Ten years ago, I was living the life in Los Angeles. It's coming full circle in a way as my sister in law, pictured above is leaving tomorrow to spend a long weekend there.

Truth is, while it was fun, I never felt at home there until it was time to leave, but I wouldn't have done it differently.

Shannon's going out of town tomorrow night, so I am batching it (is that how you spell it?) sort of. I'll have the big two. I forsee much pizza in our future.

Update: The airline lost my sister in law's luggage. Ouch

Boyz In The Hood

Just got sucked into the end of "Boyz In The Hood"... again. This movie was genius, but man is the scene where Ricky gets shot so gut wrenching. And then a bit later when the mom opens the test score...

Comeback Rider

Nice job too to Marc and Josh at 25 on the cyclist story. Especially good sequencing in the shooting... if you've never shot from a moving vehicle, you won't really appreciate the challenge of doing more than steady and Josh had good medium and close up shots of wheels, his hands and legs etc.

I Heart Nat Sound

Good nat sound bites make stories sing and Monica Landeros' package on the heat through the eyes of folks at the Pekin farmers market had a lot of it (someone share the shooter please). It gave this story really good rhythm.

On a side note... Shannon and I didn't make it down there tonight, but we were there last week. Makes us long for the days in Monterey, when every Tuesday they closed off Alvarado street. I'm sure Chris Manson from WMBD can relate.

Marigold Musings

Watched WMBD at 6 tonight. Just a few thoughts about Justin's story...

When his standup tease came on, my 4-year old yells... "Daddy, that guy came to our house yesterday."

When they ran the video of Shannon walking down the runway, my 2-year old girl says "mommys getting married" (she seems to associate the crown thing with marriage) to which the 4-year old replies, "she's already married." What this says to me is that women are planning that dream wedding at a very, very early age. Earlier than even I thought.

My wife has been out of TV full time for 4+ years, but in that time she has been interviewed on 19, 25, and 31 and in both papers, for a range of stories from voting, to doulas, to a mother's group she helped start, to events at Pekin hospital, to car seat safety checks and now pageants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Honking People Off

From WEEK.com

About three months ago, Dave Ransburg lost his bid for re-election as mayor of
Peoria. His political future seemed uncertain.But that quickly changed.At about
3 P.M. on Wednesday, sources told News 25 Ransburg would apply for the board
seat vacated by Aaron Schock. But when asked point blank, Ransburg told News 25
it had a scoop if that was true.About a half hour later, his resume landed on
the fax machine at District 150 headquarters.When asked why the change, Ransburg said: "There was a deadline. Had to get in by four."

I have steered clear of all things political since determining that using my blog to point out the stupidity of Pekin's mayor was a waste of time. But after seeing the 150 thing unfold today added to the fact that I will comment on something political if it relates to the TV coverage... I couldn't resist.

If Ransburg said to News 25 "it had a scoop if that was true", well then, they did I guess have a scoop (I have no idea if there was a firm "no" attached, if someone from 25 knows, feel free to share). At best it's cryptic... at worst, it's like the layoff announcement.

People can do what they want. I'm not one who thinks public figures should feel they have to make friends with members if the media, but I will tell you, it's better not to make enemies and this kind of thing honks some people off.

BTW, Lisa Miller at 31 did a good job with this story today and I liked her line of questioning as it related to the "11th hour" issue.

Starting Down Memory Lane

This spring marked 10 years since I graduated from college. Not this weekend, but next, I'm getting together with a bunch of old friends. All of us worked together at the college television station. For the most part, you chose either news or entertainment as you got out of school. I was the only one to do both.

Of the seven of us getting together next weekend, the three who went into news are out... one works in healthcare, another does PR/marketing for a university and the third left the anchor desk to stay at home with her son and is expecting number two tihs fall.

Of the three who moved to Hollywood, two are still there and one is in Chicago expecting her first child this fall.

The short version of my journey is posted in the November 2004 archive if you care...

We had a great group during my time. Our class, the class of 94 and the two right behind us have sent more than a dozen people to Tinseltown and have reporters and producers in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Memphis and other cities.

Ten years has flown by!

Steve's Alaskan Adventure


Steve, wearing what looks like a Packers hat. Posted by Picasa

Former WMBD photographer (now with WGN) Steve Scheuer made it back from Alaska. Steve was part of Tom Skilling's crew. That's the great white north behind him. If that is a Packers hat, he must have lost some kind of bet. Not that he likes to gamble or anything...

One Slow Bear


Bear searching for food. Posted by Picasa

Apparently this bear couldn't catch Steve. That must be one slow bear.

Renee's Destination Revealed


Renee Charles Posted by Picasa

Renee Charles, formerly of WMBD, is moving to to WKYT-TV (CBS) in Lexington, KY as morning anchor/reporter from WB's 9 PM News in Madison, WI. She starts on air August 4th. I had posted previously that she would be moving and getting married, but true to my word I didn't share the city.

Hopefully she'll one day be able to get me an autographed photo of Ashley Judd.

Congrats on both moves, Renee!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Basement Walls Galore


We've got windows too. Posted by Picasa

We've got a couple windows and a few walls. It's coming along nicely, but March seems like a long time away.

A Timeless Post About Gossip

On Medialine's Open Line for people who work in newsrooms.

A New MacGregor

Congrats to WMBD director Mark and his wife Amy on the arrival of Madeline Grace! Baby Mac entered the world this morning and weighed in at 8lbs, 5oz and was 20 inches long.

Quote Of The Day

From WHOI's (and Airwaves soccer player) Fred Roe on why he didn't take advantage of the Methodist screenings at the station:

"I want death to sneak up on me."

Nice.

There She Is...


Miss Marigold 1991 Posted by Picasa

The Miss Marigold pageant for 2005 has been canceled. See stories from the Journal Star and Pekin Times.

Look for a story on WMBD tomorrow where Justin Sacher interviews my wife, Miss Marigold 1991. I figured if she'll share the video with him, I can share the picture with my blog readers.

There is actually another TV connection to this scholarship competition (and note the point is you can win $1000 for college). Liz Brunner 5:30 and 11PM anchor at WCVB in Boston is also a former Miss Marigold (and Miss Illinois).

Monday, July 18, 2005

What I'm Watching

Lost interest in "Lost" or more like, just didn't find the time. Is anyone else watching "Six Feet Under" or "Entourage?" Is so, post your thoughts.

A Budding Sports Journalist

I had posted earlier in the month about Scott McClellan writing about his British Open experience. This is his last entry.

I watched much of the final round on Sunday morning.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

That's What I'm Talkin About

Flipping around at 10 tonight... hopefully some of you caught Susanna Song's package. I've linked to the text of the package about a guy who uses vegetable grease/oil to fuel his car and house. I linked to the text, but hopefully the video itself is posted this week.

Very well done story, much in the way WHOI's Josh Brogadir is telling stories the past few months. Here's what I liked:

1. Built in suprise: Susanna starts the story off at the restaurant talking about the grease and uses her standup (show and tell, also good) to transition to what the story is really about

2. Saves some of the story: starts with the car, moves into the house... doesn't lay it all out and then go back

3. Good nat sound: most of it was up front, but nice nat breaks (although there were a couple of spots where the nats seemed a bit high)

4. Full circle: brings the story back to the restaurant

Nice job, Susanna and whomever shot the story.

Staying At Home

I'll link to the video if and when they post it. Lesley Stahl had a terrific piece on 60 Mintues tonight on "women who crashed through the glass ceiling and became successful in the workplace, but who then choose to go home and raise children."

It was of great interest at our house as Shannon is in year four of staying home. Of course, I contend that at times she's busier than she ever was working 40 hours at a TV station. But the story touched on a lot of things she's experienced/felt and I'm sure with two Fortune 100 companies in MARKET 117 that a lot of it was relevant to the growing number of moms who have decided to go full or part time with their kids.

Update: Upon further review, I've found the story is about nine months old and I've linked to the transcript, video.

News Director Blogs About Local Sports Jobs

KING 5, the NBC affiliate in Seattle has a blog section on its website.

The news director has a sports job open and has so far received about 300 tapes, but it's his take on the state of local sports jobs as a whole that is worth reading.

Station Identification

Among other things, Steve Tarter covers the need for stations to change the way they identify themselves once we've switched away from the current analog signals. He plugs a post on Jeff's blog for inspiring the topic.

Just a guess... (and I was talking with someone from one of the stations about this recently) but consider right now whether you're a viewer or a newsie... how do people currently identify the station? For the many with cable, yes they know WEEK is channel 25, but when you're out on a story, how often do you have to clarify that "it'll be on channel 10."

In other markets, some stations will identify themselves that way. So for example, in San Diego, the NBC affiliate is channel 39, but on cable they're channel 7. They are branded "NBC 7/39."

I would expect to see at least some of that here during the transition period.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What You Can't See On ESPN2...


Not beating the heat. Posted by Picasa

Is how freakin hot it was in Chicago today at the Fire/Crew match (before Real Madrid played Chivas).

Psychic Newscaster

From Bill Flick's column in the Pantagraph.

Most remarkable advance
One recent early morn, while reporting on a newly developed gender test, one area TV newscaster claimed the test would allow parents to know the sex of their baby "five weeks before pregnancy."
Isn't science amazing? Or did they mean five weeks after pregnancy?

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Segment I'd Like To See

With WMBD radio employing a traffic guy and all three stations doing various levels of traffic coverage, I'd like to see some kind of regular segment that shows video of how to navigate certain areas/alternatives etc.

Recently, I went to visit one of my players at one of the downtown hospitals and from where I work less than two miles away, it took forever.

It might take a little bit of creativity, but I would be a nice long segment for morning shows. The VO 25 did tonight using the traffic cam is a start, but I'd like to see the rest of the trip so to speak. The nice thing, if WEEK was to do this would be an online archive of traffic tips.

Nightside Addition

A warm MARKET 117 welcome to Alexandra Anne, born Thursday to Kevin and Carrie Thomas. Kevin (who goes by many names) is the 6 and 10 producer at WEEK. I'm told mom, dad and "Lexi" are all doing well.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Greg Gives Me Credit

Thanks to Greg Batton for sharing credit with yours truly. I tuned in a little late, but I was told that this morning, while Greg and Dan were discussing "million dollar ideas" Greg broke out an old one that he and I had back in the day... a store called "Nuttin But Bacon."

Greg and I are both big fans of bacon.

To quote Vincent Vega once again: "Bacon tastes goooood."

Catching Up With TOB

Had a chance to catch up with Tracy O'Brien this week. Tracy was a producer at WMBD while I was there.... then moved to CLTV and now does the 11:30 show at WBBM. She's also a mom now for those of you who have lost touch with her.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blogging Will Resume Tomorrow

That is all.

Update: Make that Thursday night.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Letters, We've Got Letters

Steve Tarter writes about WBYS in Canton and reaches into the old viewer mailbag.

Bob Jacobs And UFOs

Shannon yelled down to me to turn on ABC... and there was Bob Jacobs talking about shooting film of a UFO in the 60's in Big Sur. It was on the syndicated show "Unexplained Mysteries."

For those of you who don't know, Bob is a Bradley University professor who also does features that have appeared on all three local stations at one time or another and he is married to WEEK special projects producer, Max.

Anyway, I never knew that he had such an experience and I've linked to one of many sites you'll find on the web recounting the incident. I like this one because it plays the "X-Files" music as you read.

Blogging, Journalism and Credibility

Jeff at Peoria Television Stations Blog is embroiled in a heated debate about what he does, his anonymity and journalism.

The above link contains notes from a conference held at Harvard about blogging, journalism and credibility that was held in January. Very interesting read.

There's a lot of gray area here. You see, on the one hand, I get what the anonymous poster who is "calling Jeff out" is getting at. I know the blog is very well read, but I also know several (current and former) news people who have expressed to me their distaste for it for some of the reasons the anonymous commenter expresses... basically who the heck is this guy talking about what we do/did?

On the other hand, Jeff is a viewer who knows how to use a computer. He set up a site. He's expressing an opinion. And let's face it, he has set it up to look fairly authoritative, at least as blogspot sites go. To be fair, he is rarely actually critical of anyone... almost to a fault. In the past he has said he wouldn't want a news director from somewhere else to read something bad about one of our local reporters or anchors, but to be honest, reading his blog you'd think everyone here is amazing and really that's not true either.

As I've stated before, I think while Jeff and I on occasion cover some of the same topics, our blogs are very different. Still, I'm not sure I'm on board with the anonymous commenter causing all the stir. This whole blogosphere thing is still very much a work in progress. Except for the fact that Jeff tends to keep things positive, how much different is this from the calls you take at 6:31 from people who won't leave their names, but want to wamp about what they just watched? I know real bloggers might take issue with this, but I see this as another step in the evolution from message boards and chat rooms.

We are in the early stages of a new era folks... where people can just put their thoughts out there for everyone to see and I'm not sure that journalism as an industry knows what to make of it yet. What if one day there were dozens of sites like Jeff's where people shared their two cents about what they saw on the news?

And Jeff, just FYI, I don't think because I have background in TV or because I'm using my real name or because people know how to get in touch with me, that my opinion is worth any more than yours. It's just a different opinion. While I don't always agree with your assessments or thoughts, it doesn't really matter to me who you are. I do find it kind of odd that you made up a name, but then again people in TV do that all the time... so maybe that actually makes sense.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Paris And Hardees

Okay, this commercial was just on. WEEK GM Mark Desantis took some calls about it as covered on Jeff's blog. All I've just got to say I'm guessing Paris Hilton doesn't eat hamburgers.

Tape Viewing Rant

I find this post hilarious, but I recognize too that I am a dork about this stuff. It's from Peggy Phillip, a news director in Memphis who has her own blog (I've linked to Peggy before). I had posted about agents in the past, but here's another person's persepective.

Tape viewing rant
If you're job-seeking, here's some advice for you.Today, Assistant ND Tammy Phillips and I spent about two hours viewing tapes. Carrie McClure's departure has been documented here and the opening has been posted hither and yon. I'm getting dozens of tapes every day and I wanted to keep ahead of the pack. Y'all are very aware, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, about how I feel about
certain (not all) agents.

Today was a perfect example of why you need to know who/what you're getting into. I received seven tapes from this agent. With the seven tapes were copies of resumes and a cover letter suggesting that I might want to consider fill-in-the-blank for fill-in-the-blank. Three of the seven tapes were screwed up. There were slates on two of them and nothing on the third but white noise. Obviously, the intern in charge of dubbing screwed up. And screwed those clients. I am not going to take the time, based on a resume, to request new tapes. I have plenty of applicants who don't come with the baggage of an agent.Another agent did it differently. He sent a cover letter with four applicants. In the cover letter was a paragraph about each person, explaining why they might fit my needs. Congrats Roger Bell. You did it right. For me anyway.

Advice number A. Know your agent. Speak up if you're not sure about what he/she is sending out.My second story is shorter. I got a tape from a person who works for the same company I do. This person did not mention in his/her cover letter that he/she had discussed their intentions with his/her boss.I did what any news director would do. I alerted his/her boss.

Advice number B. Know your audience. Don't send tapes and resumes out without knowing where they are being sent. If you ignore the research part of a job search, you deserve what happens.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Man On Fire

Just finished "Man On Fire." For those who knew me from the early 90's on, you would have thought that was something I would have seen right when it came out. But now, I generally get to movies a year or so late.

Good Thought, Plus A Few Of My Own

The following thought was a comment from an earlier post and while it admittedly got off track, I like it a lot and it makes a lot of sense.

I don't fault anyone for wanting to better themselves. What I do have a problem
with are the people who have their foot out the door before they ever step in.To
those, Peoria is just another stop, but why should the citizens of Peoria be
subjected to newscasts like that? Are Peorians worth less than Chicagoans? Does
it not hurt someone when a reporter in Peoria makes a mistake that embarrasses a
citizen or causes them great emotional or financial distress? Should a reporter
not be concerned with the community because they're only going to be here two
years and get out? Why should Peorians be forced to suffer through
mediocricty?I've chosen to make my home in Peoria. This is only my second market
and I've been here 10 years. My previous shop shut down or else I would probably
still be there. How can you truly care about the community and report fairly and
accurately if your only looking at Peoria as "another step" If your plan is to
someday move on, that's fine as long as your working for what's best for the
community your presently in....not your tape. Market size doesn't mean jack. The
quality of your work means everything whether your in Chicago or or market 212.
If you don't' take pride in your work, your cheating not only your self, but the
viewers who rely on you to give them a fair and ACCURATE report of what's going
on in the community they have chosen to call home.Now, what this has to do with
the original comment, I'm not sure.
As someone else who has made a home here, I couldn't agree more with the sentiment, even though my blog does address things like what you should put on your tape and moving on and even though I still think people should be given a chance (although to be fair, again, I didn't see the cast that seems to have readers up in arms, so I don't want to debate that anymore).

A friend of mine got to a big market after making a huge jump and we were talking about it. He is a talented, confident reporter, but he was telling me how he was kind of nervous for the first time in a while because it was a big market to which I said,

"How many cameras are they going to be shooting you with?"

"One", he replied.

What I was trying to convey was that the people on the other side are the same. There might be more of them, but that doesn't change what you're trying to accomplish. The anonymous commenter makes a great point. The people of Central Illinois deserve solid newscasts as much as people in Chicago or anywhere else. Only thing is I'm not sure that people being concerned with their next move is directly related to mediocrity. The biggest problem is money. The reporters... the people charged with gathering the news and telling stories and becoming part of the community can't generally afford to stay.

When I started at WMBD in 1996, I was making $400 a week. That's $20,800 a year. From what I hear, some reporters are doing better, some aren't. I have no idea for sure (and keep in mind I write this feeling that reporters who make huge sums of money will struggle to stay in touch with most of their viewers). Anyway, I'm not saying money is everything, but I would guess most people want more than what that kind of money will provide. This is why while some people take issue with WEEK (and to a certain extent WMBD) for placing such a value on home grown talent, consider the fact that if it is home, it keeps people from viewing it as "just another stop." And people might take less money to be near family.

Yes, as previously posted, I knew someone who once told me "I'm not here to make friends" the week he got to Peoria. This person did pretty much everything possible to reject being here and it wasn't suprising when he got fired, so I get the commenter's point. But I do think for the most part that the people currently in our market are giving their best efforts for fair and accurate reporting.

Steve Travels To Alaska

Okay, it's being billed as "Tom Skilling's Alaska", but I talked to Steve Scheuer this afternoon and he'll be the guy shooting the pretty pictures. He's very popular. You can follow along with his adventure at the above link.

Update: Steve posted on the following on July 1st and I missed it, but of his trip to Alaska he writes:

8-5 I get eaten by a bear. Talk about a buffet!

House Update


E checks out his future basement. Posted by Picasa

Shannon feels weird about taking pictures of our crew... to which I said, "You used to work in news right?"

Making His Own Name

A couple weeks ago the PJStar had a nice bit on the McClellan boys (Mike and Shelli's kids) and their golf exploits. Thursday they featured Josh Edmonds, son of former 25 anchor Chris Zak. I've had a chance to see Josh play a few times in person and he's terrific. Fundamentally sound and moves really well without the ball. Would be a nice addition for Bradley in a couple of years.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Catching Up With Doc

Maybe it was catch up day for me... talked to Doc Watson. For those of you who know him, he's doing well and just working out his next move.

Here's to Doc landing on his feet and finding something good soon.

Out And About

I'm in for the night, but it sounds like the nightside news crews might be meeting up for karaoke at the Elbo Room. Happy singing!

Night Out With Dad


Night out with dad. Posted by Picasa

Took in the Chiefs game tonight. Caught up with Strauss as we get ready for FFL. The excursion gave Shannon a well deserved break. The baby was strictly nursing up until this past weekend, so this was his first time out without mommy. I feel I reached a new level of bravery tonight, but I got some help. Thanks to Josh, Brett and Amanda for the extra hands.

Proud Parents


Amanda with proud new parents John and Jolie. Posted by Picasa

Caught up with the Alois crew as their newest member, Evan takes in his first baseball game.

Amanda and my youngest. Posted by Picasa

Put Me In Coach

More like I'm ready to watch. It looks like a night with the kids and the Chiefs. And as I'm in an especially good mood, I'll by beers for the first five readers who say "hello." It'll be like playing "Where's Waldo" except I'll be the one with three screaming kids.

Good Is Really Subjective

I'm enjoying the "uncomfortable anchors" debate below, although usually I don't want to think too hard about this blog.

So how about this for a thought. Good is really subjective. How do we measure good when watching TV news? Some people think it's market size. Get to a certain size market and that means you're good. Maybe. Maybe not.

When you travel to bigger cities, watch the news. Once you get out of the "A" block, maybe in the mornings and quite often on weekends, you'll see reporters that won't knock your socks off. Not bad, just not as exceptional as you'd think if market number is your measuring stick. This will go for some anchors too. Yes, this is a broad generalization, but there is truth in there. Sometimes the cream rises and sometimes management hires sour cream for cheap.

But really watch. How often will you see someone who is strong live and looks good, but tosses to the mediocre package where a begining, middle and end with natsound is replaced by generic track and less than compelling bites?

Or how about anchors that have great teeth and hair, but read like they're just getting through "Hooked on Phonics?" I've written much about "the look" and having "it", but if I ruled the world, the people I'd choose to watch would all have much more.

But I don't rule the world and mark my words... as some of the people you're watching now look to leave, don't be suprised to see some who are marketable make huge moves while others who have shown to be more talented journalists get lesser offers. Good is really subjective.

I still maintain that those with a combination of both (ability and marketability, which I have previously written about) fly highest and succeed. But, again just my two cents, the measure can't just be market size... it's what you do for the people of a given market.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Memory Lane

Meant to post this on Monday...

Not that my wife and I remember really obscure dates (we have a vauge idea of the date we got engaged), but July 4th is one and not just because of Independence Day. Shannon had been living in California for a little more than a month when she got an opportunity to freelance at my station... and they threw her out live. And much to my suprise, she was great.

Of course I knew she could report. Heck, she started out as a real reporter working at a newspaper. The packages on her tape were okay, but get her out live and man, she had "it." A few weeks later, one of the big events on the central coast, the California Rodeo, was up and running. Another girl who was doing some freelancing said something she shouldn't have and was let go. They brought Shannon for some more live stuff. Her work kept getting better.

Most of you know the rest... she ended up producing at the station, but her solid tape brought her back home. And it all started on the 4th of July.

Names Please... Or At Least A Fake One

I'm having a good, civil discussion with a poster in the thread below... at least it seems like the same person. I know some people who post are hesitant to use names, but how about fake ones each time you post, so at least I can differentiate the various anonymous commenters. Just a thought.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

In Defense Of The Uncomfortable

Some posts and comments on Jeff's blog point out how uncomfortable someone looked anchoring on the 4th. Nothing mean was said, and although I didn't see it, I have some different thoughts on this.

As much as some who have been here a while hate to acknowledge it, this is still a market where some people get their starts. As Gehly likes to put it, people "grow up" here. And as suprising as it might be for newsies to understand, there is a certain percentage of viewers out there that accepts this and in fact embraces this. I know, because since leaving TV, I've heard it from people. They've watched some of the talent here struggle at the begining, grow and find their voice and become a "part of the family." And they become attached to the ones that stay.

I'll go a step further and applaud Jim Garrott for, as much as possible, giving producers and photographers a chance to report and anchor. Two things here... one, sometimes people hire on at 25 as producers or photographers because they know they'll get a chance to build a tape or get promoted. Four pretty solid journalists come to mind from recent years: Steve Gehlbach, Kathy Topp, Melissa Dunton and my wife. I think the experience made them better reporters. But even before any kind of job change, as a producer, your understanding of what crews go through improves greatly when you spend a day in the field.

From a management standpoint, this philsophy is solid because these people will spend say 6 months to a year behind the scenes before starting the two (maybe less, maybe more) years of reporting. Right away, you now a have a reporter who knows how to get around town, knows the equipment and knows who all the players are. That can sometimes be a tough learning curve.

I guess my thought on this is it is a Catch 22... some newsies and vets and critical viewers want people to be ready to be on, but it's hard to be ready with out getting experience. Yes, I recognize it is easier to do this at some stations versus others that are more concerned about attracting new viewers and maybe don't want to take as much of a chance on someone... I get that. My opinion is short of a person going crazy on air, taking that chance here isn't the end of the world.

Hug It Out

Through the magic of TiVo I've been able to catch up with this season of Entourage. I heart this show as it reminds me of my time in LA (I'm now ten years removed) although I was not part of a movie star's crew.

If any of you watch, or have HBO... check out this week's episode. The cameo by Bob Saget is totally hilarious.

The Day After

I was sick the whole weekend, but am now on antibiotics. Whatever I got turned into something much worse than the flu I thought it was. Unfortunately the meds are making it hard for me to fall asleep... I'm exhausted.

Hope eveyone had a good holiday. I hope to be close to 100% by tomorrow.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Anchoring For Dummies - Where To Look

With Laura Polus mentioning to me that a chunk of my readers might be students, I'm going to push myself to do more of these types of posts. Don't be offended by the "Dummies" title... it's just a catchy ripoff. I don't know, maybe I'll change the titles. Anyway...

Keep in mind that this is all just my opinion... and that none of this stuff is meant to be taken as gospel, nor is it all original thought... a lot of stuff I've accumulated over time from others. On occasion I'll see something that will encourage me to share.

Ever notice sometimes when an anchor tosses to a package, the tape doesn't roll right away and there's that uncomfortable few seconds of the person staring into the camera and not speaking. Sometimes that turns into the anchor looking confused, maybe looking around shifty eyed. And while it might not seem that important, as an anchor you always want to look confident and at least look in control. At least that's what the consultants will tell you.

I always liked looking to a monitor. Turning to look at the monitor is a visual cue to your viewer... the idea being that you're tossing to a package and now you're going to watch the report along with them.

The other thing is it takes away that chance for you to look confused. If you're looking at the monitor and the tape doesn't come up, you'll know right away and you'll be able to recover more gracefully.

Last thought on this... if you have an over the shoulder graphic on your right side and your monitor is on your left, it seems a little awkward to look to your left (no room). At that point I think your best bet is to look down (usually there is a monitor in the desk).

Update: Meant to include something on where to look when someone else is talking. It probably just depends on what you're comfortable with. On a two-shot, I was taught to look at my co-anchor and I covered some of this in a post about listening. It's pretty subtle I know, but I think in theory if you're looking at your co-anchor it is another visual cue for the viewer to pay attention to that person. When they're done, you turn and read your part. I think some people don't do this for fear that the prompter "won't be there" but if your script is properly marked, it is an easy slide from looking your at co-anchor, to glancing at your script for the first few words, to picking up the rest on prompter. It takes practice, but in reality, I think it is pretty well accepted for people to just stare into the camera and "look pretty" on a two shot.

Batton Returns, May Ratings, CBU Changes

Steve Tarter covers Greg Batton returning and Doc Watson leaving WMBD, the May local news race and changes at WCBU.

Update: Bill Dennis shares his take on the WMBD situation.

Newswriting For Dummies - Active or Annoying

The guilt in this post lies in every market across the country. I'm talking about the ongoing propagation of TV newspeak.

You know what I mean. Using inaccurate, sometimes confusing verb tenses...

"A man is shot shot to death..."

In a push to get everyone writing in a more active voice, what has been unleashed upon America are leads like that or sentences without verbs.

The following is from the Deborah Potter NewsLab article linked above:
Remember verbs? They're the action words that come between subjects and objects, telling what happened and when. Try locating one in this NBC Nightly News script: "Less resilient, local business. Dwight's concession stand, in the family three generations. Sales this summer off 75 percent." Not a verb in sight.

Another Potter article has some tips for better writing. Same goes for one from famed newswriter Mervin Block.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Bad Boys II

Being sick has thrown my sleep pattern off, so of course I was up at 5:30AM. Watched Bad Boys II having never seen the original Bad Boys. I classify movies like this: good, bad and entertaining though not necessarily good (and I think there is plenty of room for the third category). This was entertaining.

Anchoring For Dummies - Using Scripts

In January I posted about how scripts aren't props. This is just a little bit more on that thought.

I used to like reading from my scripts when I wasn't on camera. That's because reading from teleprompter isn't natural for anyone. Obviously, people should get better with time, but the fact is the words are lit up and moving... and depending on how your studio lights are set up, sometimes there is a glare.

But if you read from your script, it's just like reading a book out loud. The words aren't moving. Not only that, if you have time and can check the video that's right before the soundbite (for those that don't do two tape vo/sots) so you can time out your read a little better. Knowing what that last piece of video is and how long it is will allow you to speed up or stretch as needed.

My scripts used to look ridiculous... big line separating the on camera from the VO... when available a highlighter marking the first sentence so if I stayed with prompter for the first sentence of VO, I had a distinct mark for where to pick it up. There are probably some shrinks out there who could analyze the paranoia of my previous life.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Kiss The Girls

Watching "Kiss The Girls." Nothing like an "Ashley Judd in peril" flick. Probably won't help me sleep, but as I slept most of the day, I don't think that is going to be easy anyway.

Quick Work


Our future basement Posted by Picasa

This is from yesterday... as you can see the builders move fast.

Topp Of The World

Kathy Topp, formerly a reporter at WEEK, jumps from Fox 5 KVVU (Las Vegas)
assignment editor to News 3 KVBC (NBC Las Vegas) special projects producer. News
3 has the top-rated newscasts in the Las Vegas Valley.

Kathy and I started at WEEK at about the same time. She is a digger and a very strong writer and this is a great move for her.

One Year Out Of The Business

Today marks one year since I've been out of video/TV work all together, although I still get involved once in a while, whether it's fill in on camera/voice work, freelancing behind the scenes or volunteer publicity work etc.

Got my first paid TV job in the fall of 1993. Seems like yesterday. Made it almost eleven years and got to see such a wide range of the industry... news, entertainment, corporate.

I covered a presidential visit and El Nino... worked Hollywood movie premieres and traveled for shoots around the country and to 10,000 feet in the mountains of Peru. Along the way... I've made some great friends.

The thing is, most areas of this business are, for the most part, not family friendly, so my unsolicited advice to some of my younger readers is do it as long as you can and enjoy it while it lasts. It is a great ride!

From Bad To Worse

Probably not much blogging today... I thought I was getting better last night, but now (4:30 AM) I feel much worse. Can't sleep, head is pounding, fever is through the roof and it feels like my throat is about to close off.

The big boy been hit pretty hard too. Hopefully Shannon and the other two avoid it.