Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"We now go live to Jon Tattrie's eyebrows"

i made my broadcast reporting debut last week on the cbc. i spent the week before crash-course training on how to do radio and tv - a steep incline to brush up on the skills learned a long time ago in a j-school far away.

i've never been a great talker - i love the quiet, paced life of writing the news. even when you're on a hard deadline for print, it's not quite the same urgency as a cameraman pointing at you as he turns his light on.

that said, the adrenaline rush of reporting as it happens and the power of using people's own voices for radio and images for TV made it a huge amount of fun to do.

my goal in reporting is always to capture people's own voices and take them to a wider audience - how better to do that than by letting them speak for themselves directly?

you can see from this lovely screengrab that me and my eyebrows found ourselves on the scene of a house haunting in north-end halifax. no - it was a dispute over potentially demolishing a heritage home. my bad.  you can watch the clip here.

later in the week i was sitting down at my desk digging into a bingo story when someone called the newsroom to say a first nations protest had just blocked off highway 102. i grabbed my things and jumped into the truck with the cameraman and we zipped along to the scene. we were there first - slightly after the cops, who only learned about it when the assignment editor called to confirm the tip - and i filed a radio report from the highway.

as i said - the immediacy is addictive.

it also made me realize how broadcast is unalterably a team effort. for the heritage story, for example, an assignment editor spotted the notice in the paper's ads section and passed it on to another reporter, who did the first story. i did my piece with the cameraman, using the previous reporter's background, and the sat with one of the cbc's amazing editors as he zipped the piece together as the 11pm news deadline loomed.

i figure at least 10 people went into the story, and it was just over 1 minute long.

i'm back to writing for the next little bit, but should get to report a few more times over the summer. if only i can find my hedge trimmer to shrink those forehead caterpillars....
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