I feel like today I had a good idea of how the assignment desk works. There was a very fast pace to everything going on today and there was a lot going on compared to the other days I have been here.
When I first walked in everything was controlled and going as planned. There was breaking news, an Amber Alert, for a boy who lives in Montgomery County. There was also a couple other stories started for the day including one about a girl who was bit by a pit bull.
Pete informed me that I would be going out with a photographer and be shooting “Good Mornings”. This basically means that I go out and find random people on the street and ask them to shoot about 10 seconds for a commercial that airs on the morning show. The people simply state their name, where they are from and say “Good Morning WJZ”. I was very nervous to do these. It seemed like I completely forgot all of the “popular” places in the area and had no idea where I was going to get people. I also was scared to approach people. What if they had said no? What if they asked me questions I didn’t know the answers to? What if I messed up or did it wrong? There were so many things going through my head on how I could screw this up that I was very scared. I immediately sent out a Facebook post requesting people to volunteer their help as well as a text message to my friends. Luckily I had a few people respond and I thought of a few places I could go. This made me feel a lot better, but I was still nervous. It turns out that my smooth morning got a little hectic and we had to cancel the “Good Mornings” for the day.
In addition to my usual rounds I had a few phone calls to make. One of the calls I needed to make was to Montgomery County Police to see if there would be a press conference about the missing child. At the time I made the call there was not a press conference being held but it was suspected to change. The police were available for comment so I made sure that the reporter, Gigi Barnett, knew she could go there and have an interview.
Another phone call I made was to Baltimore County Police. This was about the girl who was bit by the pit bull. I had been back in forth with the county police throughout the day. I was getting updates on the story as well as setting up interviews and getting addresses. With a little bit of digging I was able to find the address where the incident happened as well as the full story of how it happened. I also set up an interview for Andrea Fujii to speak with Baltimore County Police. This was after I had sent her to the address of the incident.
Throughout the day there was a few times where reporters needed to be updated on who was available to talk to them and where they were to meet. I had answered the phone for some of these calls and I took the initiative to call the reporters myself and inform them of the updates. I was nervous to do this, I had never done it before and I was not sure if the reporters would care that I was updating them instead of Pete or someone they are more familiar with. It turns out I did the right thing, they did not care and Pete was very impressed that I called without first being told to. It made me feel good about myself because not only does it show that I will do things without being asked but it also reassured me that I am getting comfortable being there.
Two things I forgot to mention is that I got a phone call from Bruce Goldfarb, the editor of the Arbutus Patch. He had investigated a story and gave us a tip about it. I then took his tip and put it in the system for a possible nighttime story. By doing this I copied and pasted his story in the system so whoever saw it had the story right there and did not need to look it up. I thought it was cool that another news organization gave us a tip on a story. Also I did research on a reported vigil that is being held for a girl that was killed in Pasadena, Md. I had to call the school to find out when and where the vigil was taking place as well as make sure that the media will be allowed.
I think that is every thing I did today. It was such a busy day that I am sure I forgot to mention something but all of the big things I did throughout the day have been mentioned.