Today's story focused on the David vs. Goliath battle between the mom-n-pop stores San Francisco is known for and the Big Box chains that see Big $$ in the city. Target has been particularly successful at prying its way into the chain-wary City by the Bay.
What was different about today's story was Target was targeting a now-closed sporting goods store in the Russian Hill neighborhood, rather than trying to set up shop in an area already populated with big box stores. As you can imagine, the neighboring one-off business owners didn't like it.
So, a pretty straightforward list of elements to gather for this assignment:
- statement from Target
- complaints from the neighbors
- video of existing Target stores in other parts of the city
- sound bites from customers who say they do or don't like shopping at big box stores.
And the day did go according to plan, up until this part:
For all the benefits non-linear editing brings to TV journalism (faster, more creativity, easier duplication), there's still no way to describe the anguish of watching your computer not do what it's supposed to do on deadline. I tried to export my video story several times at 5:30pm, the requisite 30 minutes before showtime at 6pm. But it just wouldn't work. Fortunately, I was in San Francisco and could drive back to the station, but that still doesn't make up for the three fewer days I'll live stressing out about why the computer didn't work the way it was supposed to.
In the end, it was operator error, as I was exporting to the wrong place. (sad face emoji goes here)
This is the lesson of the day. Although I had never used the non-linear editing software KPIX now uses before I arrive last week, I studied hard for a few days and thought I had most of it down. The fact is you never know everything about anything. There's always more to learn. With that humble attitude, you can embrace the opportunities for intellectual growth this job offers.
On another note:
This is the way the day begins in every newsroom in the country. It's called The Morning Meeting. This is where reporters pitch their story ideas (in person or by phone) and producers and managers conceptualize the big picture of how the day's newscasts will play out and how resources will be assigned. Sit in on one of these and you'll learn putting on a TV newscast is a lot more than just: "Hey, let's start with Simon's story." Probably more interesting than the editorial decisions of which stories to cover are the logistical calls on who to send where with what equipment and when. Truly, it's a symphony of moving parts that culminates in a polished newscast - most of the time. I continue to be amazed at how, for all the technology, the ability to send signals 22,000 miles up to a satellite and receive them back on earth again, so much of TV news is: how do you get there and how fast can you drive there?
- You can always learn more. When something goes wrong, don't miss the chance to figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn't happen the next time. Moreover, embrace the opportunity to learn, and be happy your job isn't repetitive daily drivel like this.
- Local TV news is fun, if for nothing else, than the challenge to physically get people and equipment to the right place before deadline. Whether that challenge is met is usually determined by the decisions made in The Morning Meeting.