My adventures as a temporary reporter in Monroe, Louisiana.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Live, Late Breaking, Investigative

Okay, Rita came ashore overnight and proceeded to march up the Texas-Louisiana border today.  As far as Rita went here in Monroe, it just seemed like a blustery day.  There’s been no thunder or lightening to my knowledge, but the area is under a tornado watch.

I went into the station at six this morning to help cover Katrina.  Oddly, this felt like such a luxurious hour compared to getting there at 5 am. K-E-D-M usually doesn’t have a live announcer on air, almost everything is pre-recorded and automated.  That’s how they can have so few people that work at the station, but deviation from the standard course requires a meeting and way too much pre-planning.  Thank you K-C-U-R announcers for being there, having a brain, and being able to change things quickly and easily when needed!  Anyway, it seemed like it was a big deal to have someone with news inserts in the morning on the weekend when it’s usually pretty much straight network stuff.
Somehow, I’ve become the default live anchor for our special Katrina coverage.  Yeah, I’m not sure how this happened, but it’s been kind of fun.  We did an extra newscast at 5pm Thursday (yes, a meeting was needed for that).  At 3, I wasn’t sure there would be enough local stuff to fill a five minute local newscast, but by newscast time, there was more than enough.  We didn’t have time to pre-record any wraps, so it was kind of odd tossing it to a real, live person instead of a computer file…a little like TV news.

This morning I did a newscast at 7 and did a short phone interview later in the hour with fellow news gal Cynthia who was at the parish’s Emergency Operations Center.  We did have a live anchor doing weather as well as doing interviews with someone from the campus’ meteorology program.  That first hour was hot!  I was surprised that I was enjoying it.  See, I’m a logistics person at heart.  I like to have a plan, things written out so I can see them.  With live stuff, the details worry me.  What if I don’t go back to the network at the right time?  What happens if a cut doesn’t play?  What if I suddenly forget how to read or speak?  But the past few days, I was so completely pleased with how each newscast turned out that I was ready for more.

So there I am two newscasts under my belt and ready for more.  Then, we go off air.  It was raining and there was some wind, but if this is all it takes to knock the station here off the air.  I’m not sure any station in Kansas City would every broadcast anything.  So, I stuck around waiting for us to come back on air.  Apparently, the power was out at the transmitter.  I left around 11:30 that morning.  We still weren’t on air.  It’s almost 8 this evening, and the station’s still not broadcasting.  

There were some small power outages throughout town and small branches down, but for now that seems to be the only damage from Rita.  I’m alive, safe, and almost caught up on sleep.


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