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:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Trying not to feed the #Ebola hype, but it is incredibly tough #TipJace

Before I went on the air this week with news a Houston area woman had died after visiting Nigeria, I reminded myself that viewers want facts not hype.
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In the report, I was honest and upfront. I thought I explained that we did not know whether this was an Ebola case. (We made the decision to go on the air with the news because investigators were about to be walking around a populated area in hazmat/protective suits and it would surely cause alarm given what has unfolded in Dallas.)

Not three minutes after I was done with my live report, a resident from the area came rushing up to me worried. She had not seen my report but her mother had. Her mother was “freaking out” and very worried about the “new case of Ebola.”

I’m not sure what else I could have said in this report to be more clear. We did not know if the deceased woman had Ebola. She visited an African country but it had not had a case in 21 days. (That’s the longest time it’s believed a person can have the disease without showing strong symptoms that make most people seek medical help.)

As I reported this case on Twitter, I did what I've seen many other journalists do. Be clear in each Tweet. Don't expect people to have read every other Tweet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I tried live blogging my day as a reporter. Hard to imagine people interested in every detail. #TipJace

I'll admit, it was fun and hard to remember to update Twitter at every big turn. It did get some good reaction from viewers. Thank you for caring enough to interact with me throughout my day yesterday.

Here is a slice of my Tweets from Tuesday.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hide-and-seek with the judge in my story wasn’t necessary, to my surprise

Just when I thought I was going to have a hard time finding the former judge in my story which airs Monday night, I was surprised. He’s the back story to the interview.

My story: A Local 2 Investigation showed how the man acting as the City of Kenefick municipal judge, Eric Baumgart, is the former Liberty County Constable’s deputy who a jury convicted of writing a woman a fake traffic ticket in 2011. The prosecutor alleged Baumgart wrote the ticket in order to get a woman who he used to live with in trouble with the law. The incident cost Baumgart his deputy job.

I looked up some of Baumgart’s addresses in court paperwork and also left a message with someone who knew him. I hadn't heard back after a short while so I visited his house. Surprisingly, he answered the door and came outside to answer my questions.