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Monday, November 17, 2014

College crime felt non-existent when I went school

I think my college life was a bit of a Utopian experience. In the late 1990s, I went to a very small religious college just outside of St. Louis.

Hearing about the college crimes that affect metro-area students in Houston makes me feel lucky that crime wasn't an issue for us.

Principia College had about 500 students when I was there. Our doors didn't lock. There wasn't a need. Theft wasn't a problem. A sex offense was very, very uncommon. I don’t even recall it ever happening during my time there.

What a different life than what students at major universities and colleges in the Houston area experience.

I invite you to watch our campus crime story tonight. We’ll rank the top five colleges with the highest crime rates. (We looked at only the most serious crimes reported in federal law.) The story I did with producer Lauren Sweeney airs Monday on Local 2 at 10.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Viewers deserve the facts so they can make up their own minds

Tonight I reported on many issues of the DuPont chemical spill near La Porte, Texas where four people died. In my report I included details about past incidents at the facility and another of the company's facilities.


This prompted a viewer to comment the following:
What is the deal with previous violations? I'm sure the news media has previous violations that have or could have caused injury to people in the surrounding area. Are we looking for something to make a news story with? Isn't the news media happy that something dreadful has occurred and killed people so that they don't have to make up news stories.

I enjoy sharing our thought process when it comes to selecting stories. Here is my reply:

Avatar



I can assure you, I'm not happy with the fact four people died. I feel terribly for their families and loved ones.
As an investigative reporter, sometimes past company action is important. If you don't believe that, that's your prerogative. I think it's always important to look at what has happened previously because it can, in some cases, show a pattern. Maybe it shows other things.
I'm a firm believer in giving viewers all the facts. I don't want to be the one saying, in my opinion this incident was important and this one wasn't, so I'm going to withhold information. I think it's important to put the facts out there and let viewers make the decision. I'll let them decide what's important.
I don't agree that we made up any story here. That's a pretty strong allegation to make against someone whose work is based on honesty and accuracy.
Please don't let my honest response here make you think I don't appreciate you sharing your point of view. It's important that viewers do so. For that, I thank you.


What do you think?


Friday, November 14, 2014

I love it when @KPRCLocal2 viewers make me laugh.

Every once in a while, viewers make me laugh with their witty comments.

I’ve decided to start sharing them.

Earlier today, I postponed my weekend camping trip. Camping is fun, but camping in the rain is not. Randall’s reply to my ‘canceled camping tweet’ is a funny one.

Monday, November 10, 2014

One of the most fascinating interviews I've done airs Tuesday at 10pm. @KPRCLocal2

I’m lucky enough to interview people from all walks of life. Until recently, I’d never interviewed someone who has witnessed nearly 280 executions.

An article in the publication Texas Monthly piqued the interest of one of our investigative producers.

When she explained that a former spokeswoman for the prison system was willing to talk about her job, which required she watch the executions, I knew we should make an effort to talk with this person.

I drove with a photographer on Halloween day to Michelle Lyon’s home near Huntsville and interviewed her in her living room.
She was open with details. I suppose the topic of executions is interesting to most people. Hearing first-hand details from someone with a unique perspective was fascinating.

What added another level of interest for me was how Lyons described not being affected by the first several dozen executions she witnessed. It wasn't until after she left her position with the state that she realized she had been affected in a big way.

I invite you to watch her interview Tuesday night at 10 p.m. A few people in the newsroom have watched clips as we go through the edit process. They are captivated just as I was.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When you’re reporting & you have no idea what you are about to say

We use a teleprompter in television, everyone knows that. That doesn't mean we don’t pre-read our copy ahead of time. It’s helpful to know which words to stress and make sure you give the story the proper ‘read.’


Last night I was casually walking into the studio 10 minutes before I needed to be there. Suddenly, the floor crew was ushering me up to our big monitor to be live reading a short tease of my upcoming story. (Teases are written by the show producer, not usually by the reporter.)

I'd never read the copy. As I started reading the tease live on TV, I had no idea what words were going to be across the teleprompter. Granted I didn't have to read much and I knew the topic, but it was still a bit uncomfortable.

You can see where I didn't quite stress "over budget" the right way. That's because I didn't see the word coming early enough to realize that.

Some viewers have told me they enjoy hearing what happens behind the scenes so I thought I'd share this. It was, in the end, not a big deal. Many people have tougher jobs and I love mine. I'm not complaining, just sharing what I hope people at home didn't realize.

You can watch the actual story here: http://www.click2houston.com/news/investigates/more-contractors-say-they-havent-been-paid-for-huge-government-project/29288032