End of the month.
January went by fast. I could barely hang on to her coattails.
I spent the month getting used to my new show and my new schedule. I also enjoyed my new weekends with my hubby and friends. This is a shot over Donner Lake, just off I-80. A few weekends ago, we spent a lovely Saturday in Truckee with my Medill buddy Sara.
Thank heavens for weekends because January was a hard month.
My weekday show has more people working on this shift. Having more resources on my morning show translates to higher expectations.
A producer I used to work with in Kansas summed up our job quite nicely on Twitter:
“that was fun… live shot went black 15 seconds before air — fast scrambling and we still pulled off a clean a block!”
Most days feels like I’m in the middle of a juggling act: communicating changes with my director, live crews and the newsroom. There are times when I feel like Sigourney Weaver’s character in Galaxy Quest. I’m tracking live pictures from our local crews….anything from barn fires, car crashes, salsa lessons, wall climbers, e-waste recycling and more. On top of that, I’m monitoring the live satellite feeds over river rescues, plane crashes, presidential announcements and anything else that could be happening in front of a camera.
Technology also likes to work against me. When a live shot goes to black and I can’t hear anything from the reporter and photog in the field, it’s the equivalent of Microsoft’s “blue screen of death”. So, my mind’s scrambling through Plans B, C and D. Within in 60 seconds or less, I need to figure out where the show goes next and then communicate that plan to my director and anchors.
Time is also my enemy. This week, I had a satellite interview change its availability in the middle of my show. I planned to run that live interview at 7:17 AM. The interview producer said our satellite window closed at 7:15 AM. After cursing to myself, I picked up the phone and told him we’re going to miss that slot. I also told him I’ll see if I can fit in the interview at another open window towards the end of the show.
In the meantime, I needed to add another segment at the news block starting at 7:17 AM. I told my crew to move on to some consumer stories that I had stacked near the end of the show and then move on to the next commercial break. I also had to get rid of some of the teases I wrote for those stories in the following segment because we’re not running those stories twice.
In order to fit in that missed satellite interview at the end of the show, I had to free up some time. I dropped some other stories in the last segment to free up about 2:30 minutes for the interview. Again, I also had to go thru any of the earlier teases I wrote and change them. All to make to make sure I’m not promoting any of those dropped stories.
Bottom line: It worked. My crew and anchors followed the changes and nobody could see us shuffling through pages of stories to make-up for the lost live interview at 7:17 AM. The show was clean on air. Clean, because our viewers didn’t realize I was cursing and hustling to make all these changes.
I enjoy the rush of live TV and breaking news. I’m also learning to control my temper and emotions in the booth. I need to bottle up my anxiety so that it doesn’t infect the crew behind the camera and on the anchor desk. I need to do this 5-days a week.
It’s an incredible job and I work with so many talented people. I don’t want to let them down. Nor do I want my career to make me jaded, hard and bitter.
I balance work expectations with prayer, yoga, exercise, my husband, Daisy, family, friends and my weekends.
One way I rebounded from a hard week: taking a trip to the Emerald Bowl…
My parents thought it was a little nippy at the game. But I thought it was worth loss of sleep to spend time with them at this awesome game.
I’m looking forward to taking a weekend trip down to So Cal and hanging out with them and the rest of my family.