Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Unscheduled Interviews: I don't like them.

Politicians and officials don’t like unscheduled interviews and I don’t either. Here’s why: rarely do we get solid answers and people almost always come off looking much less than their best.

The reason I have to do them is because occasionally it is the only way to get answers and hold people in power accountable, especially those people paid with your tax dollars.

Read more about my story:

The fire department held my request to sit down with the chief for many days and then as I neared my deadline, sent an email telling me the chief wouldn’t do an interview.

Sources within the fire department notified me that the chief would be at a meeting one evening last week. I waited outside the main doors of the meeting for more than an hour. I couldn’t talk to the chief there because he went out a side door. Luckily, the photojournalist I was working with noticed him walking across the parking lot. That’s when I walked up and asked about firefighter radio dead zones.

It’s important that people who I do unscheduled interviews with have been given time to agree to an interview. In this case that happened. It’s important we don’t abuse our power by doing unscheduled interviews frequently. It’s also important that I get answers for the public. When I cannot, you deserve to see that I made an attempt.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sometimes it takes yelling to get the news on

I think we all feel sadness when a soldier passes away. Today a Fort Hood soldier was found dead on his front porch. At this time, we don’t know how exactly he died. He’d recently returned from West Africa and that made some concerned about Ebola.  

We’ve since learned he did not have Ebola and this is the behind the scenes look at how we got the news on the air quickly.

What you can’t see is that just 30 seconds before this story went on the air, we learned the soldier’s test results.

There was no time to change scripts so my coworkers just yelled from person to person at me across our large newsroom.

We were able to get the information on the air quickly.

I’m happy to have reported such timely information. I do wish it didn’t have to do with a soldier’s death.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The backstory with a Shipley Do-nuts owner accused in a lawsuit

Here's a bit of the behind the scenes. I called the owner to get her take on the "fired over a pregnancy" lawsuit. She talked to me on the phone for a few and then asked to call me right back. ...She never did. Her phone went to voicemail when I called her a couple more times.

Here's the full story:

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:


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?