Monday, October 18, 2010

Whip my dutty wine?

Is this really the DUTTY WINE standing up or re-engineered?

The video is really catchy and I can understand the "rave against the machine" motif in the lyrics. But she seems like a young Patra with smaller braids.

Am I the only one who finds its odd that the nine-year old says: "Ladies if you feel me"? Does that make sense?

Thoughts ....

And in case you don't know about the DUTTY WINE ... HERES THE OFFICIAL VIDEO and some other derivatives.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



In my first taste of college football from the stands, I was a little bored. I'm sure some are twisting in their computer chairs and getting ready to slam footballs through my eyes ... but hear me out. It was only boring because the MIZZOU TIGERS slaughtered the Cowboys from McNeese State. The game was over from the first two minutes. There was no suspense. No drama. No last minute heroics. Coincidentally against San Diego State (Week 3) there was all of this. Oh well! Had a great time with the 242Connect crew. We searched all over for tailgating parties and checked out The Jungle. It was sparse but thanks to MU STUDENT BAR ASSOCIATION for a great afternoon.

After leaving The Jungle we took a walk down Greek Row or part of it on Rollins Ave. And we thought it was funny that smoke was draining out of a wooden house that was going to be the new home for the Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority. We also spotted who we presumed were frat boys coming out of the house. We assumed this because they were wearing shirts with Greek letters on them. We didn't take the pics to be funny but more so IN CASE the joint went up in flames--we might have some historic pics. Come to find out the sorority plans to raze the building and raise a new one.

Made it to the game and got to take in some of the pre-game festivities. The warmups, the tunnel, the OTHER Golden Girls, and the sea of gold building in THE ZOU. I think this is a great part of the experience cause everyone in the group got to see everything sorta come together.

After awhile we got the M-I-Z Z-O-U chant down. HOWEVER someone who would go nameless didn't feel school spirit. Another cool part of the day was a score. Not only did poor Truman (The Mascot) have to do push-ups to match the new Missouri score but a canon fired off as well. It was exciting -- EVEN AFTER a 50 point game!!

It was a great first outing even if it was a boring 50-6 win for Mizzou. I guess it's a good thing to be used to winning!

Friday, April 23, 2010

SIGNING OFF --- What I learned in B-2.

As the semester rumbles to a close, I almost feel as if I'm about to finish a fraternity pledge process of sorts.

And to a certain degree there might be. The probate show for B-2 is your first package in B-3. Instead of a crest or shield you get a lapel pin in the shape of a lavaliere. The colors for the fraternity/sorority is green (since KOMU 8 goes green). I'm still not sure of a name. Maybe Beta Beta Tau (you know B-2).

All jokes aside, thought I should share some of the lessons I learned in B-2 with those coming up behind me from B-1.

  • Approach this like you ARE pledging. This class WILL take up a lot of your time. Make no mistake about it. The semester you take this class might be the semester you think about taking that pottery elective. No offense to pottery majors.
  • Devote one day to this class. This is a major thing that NO ONE TOLD ME. Planning your schedule find at least one day with nothing else on it. No lab. No classes. No nothing. This will make your life easier. You will have that day devoted to shooting your stories and maybe doing some writing.
  • Plan nothing before your lab. This will just make your life easier. Having nothing before you lab will give you that pad to get done what you need to get done. Maybe sure up your editing of your package. Knocking out story ideas. Finishing your reporter's checklist. Even though Prof. Kyle WILL tell you this is probably your most important class you don't want to have to miss other classes just to survive this one.
  • Get your life together. I had a pledge class sister--I mean fellow student, who would always say to me: "Chrisssss, I need to get my life together." And no matter how hard she tried, things just would not get right for her. I couldnt offer much sympathy because MY LIFE WASN'T TOGETHER. I didn't always have everything done. I over-planned and under-allocated time. But towards the end of the semester, we both started to get our lives together.
  • Expect sacrifices. This class will zap you but this is why you are at Mizzou--to learn the business and Prof. Kyle will push you to be the best you can be but he already knows what to do. You will have to make some sacrifices during the semester. Instead of going home for Thanksgiving or Spring Break you might want to think about knocking out your edit test, or your video patrols or even a shift (these words will make sense soon). Some of my classmates thought I was borderline blasphemous to go no where on spring break but I was able to knock out most of my assignments and at the same time became familiar with the station, the people and the equipment.
  • Make friends. This is why this felt like a pledge process to me. You have to make friends to get things done. You don't know everything. Your classmates will pretend to know everything--they don't. However, collectively you will all know a lot. You have to reach out to people for help and reach out TO HELP classmates. This is very important. I have met some great people (Sean Hirshberg, Maurico Bush, Cynthia Yang, Alex Holley, Bianca, Olivia Wilmsen, Modupe Idowu, Nick Chaney) here in B-2 and some great friends at the station (Jessie Fowble, Becca Habegger, Ryan Takeo (AKA STAND UP KING), Sophia Beausoleil, Michael Spencer, Jena Pike, Alex Rozier, Lauren Whitney, Megan Murphy, Cate Kelly). They all are willing to help. And that is the attitude that you should have. You will never know when you need someone to crash edit for you later on down the line or make calls for you. Put out good karma and get it back.
  • Realize who are your friends. But realize that not everyone in B-2 is your friend or will share your passion for the craft. Some are very blasé about the class. Don't adopt that mentality. In fact run away from them.
  • Ask questions. People at the station will constantly say this and the good thing is THEY MEAN IT. Some times they will be stressed or having a bad day and be curt but still ask. You would rather look a fool there than in front of mid-Missouri. But don't expect someone to help you at 5 minutes to the show and they are producing. They have their own things to deal with.
  • Prof Kyle is one Bad mother--shut your mouth. He will give you this look of death and shame at times. I'm convinced his favorite word is "trifle" as in "this blog is a trifle long", "this shot is a trifle tight" or "this shot is a trifle wide." I get a kick out of it but take all of his criticisms of your work and try to be better. Sometimes you will feel dumber than PC computers during your lab sessions. You will want the whole class to disappear not only for your package to run but also for his first critique. He will lean back in the chair or start tapping his dreaded green pen on the desk and you will think your heart has stopped beating and your lungs have exhausted themselves. Sometime he will nit-pick your work. Not because he enjoys it (I think---I HOPE) but because he wants you to be the best journalist in the world. Take it all in stride.
  • Learn to separate work from you. This is a hard one. You have poured a lot into your work and when you get a criticism you might think it is directed at you personally and that you are a bad person. NO IT'S NOT. Your work is important and yes it is a reflection of you but it is not you. Learn this lesson and Prof. Kyle won't have to take out the box of tissues for you.
  • Learn to read. Read EVERYTHING you can. The newspapers, blogs, fellow classmates blogs, magazines. EVERYTHING. Not because something might end up on a current events quiz but for your own edification and that it may prompt a great story idea. And read the web page. A lot of information is there.
  • Be on time. I was taught: "Early is on time. On time is late. And late is unacceptable." Learn to be on time or early with everything. This will save you stress. TRUST ME. When you are at the station I have learned this is golden. Especially when you are finally turning packages. If you finish early go to the control room EARLY (not 2 minutes before a show) and ask if you can see your package in there. They will help because they don't want to look a fool or have you look the fool either.
  • Try to get a volunteer VOP or PA shift. I felt cheated that I didn't do this. You will be so far ahead of everyone else if you have experience shooting or editing on Avid. And it might be better to make a mistake out there where everyone knows more than you and can help you. Rather than in B-2 where your grade is on the line.
  • Make the first class. I missed it and missed some great information. I was getting points taking off for putting my name on the wrong place. Thing was I didn't know and it was no one's fault BUT MY OWN.
  • Take ownership of your mistakes and learn. Don't blame anyone for the audio problems, or the shooting or the editing. Its your mistake regardless of who did it. But mistakes are good because you should learn from them.
  • Reach back. When I first started in the business as a still photographer, my mentor was a master fine arts photographer. Every weekend and some days I would spend hours and hours in her lab just burning through paper and chemicals. They were very expensive but she wouldn't let me give her a dime. "Some one helped me, so I'm helping you," she would say. The next year I joined the staff of a leading newspaper and had a run-down bag. The chief photographer from the OTHER paper bought me one of the nicest bags around. "Some one helped me, so I'm helping you," he said. I didn't find out until later that the photographer had studied with my mentor but he didn't know I studied with her. Since then I have always tried to reach back and help. And it could be in monetary things but it can also be in time and energy. I've helped school with PR cause they just didn't know how and couldn't really afford a specialist. I've bought a first suit for an up and coming reporter. I help because without help I would not be here today.
  • Remember that you represent someone. You represent yourself, your family, Prof. Kyle, Mizzou, KOMU and the J-School. When you are out in the world remember these things. Your actions don't only reflect you but many other people and entities.

Follow these words of wisdom and one day you may make it though Beta Beta Tau and be ready for Kappa Omicron Mu Upsilon (KOMU) and the real world.

Amazing story ... amazing results

Alex Rozier won the YouTube competition recently with a story on transportation systems for the needy. But that wasn't the story that stood out. The one that got him to the final was.

Rozier told the story of a teenager fighting bone cancer for over four years.

He left us with many gold coins to pick up along the journey. The first part of the story seems as if its going to tell the story of the cheerleaders or the seniors. There aren't moments of confusion or non-clarity. It sets us up to meet this amazing cheerleader. Its not until almost a minute into the story that you find out that the cheerleader cheers from a wheelchair. It was a moment where your heart is twisted in knots and you feel connected to Amanda McDaniel.

"You try not to change your world as much as possible," she says in the report.

Then another hit. You find out doctors removed "about one-third" of her body--her left leg. With of this pain this young lady is still able to make the honor roll, go rock-climbing and even one-leg skiing. Amazing.

"We have recently learned the news that the cancer has continued to grow beyond the treatment and the procedures that we have taken," her mom drops on us.

Through all this sadness, through the mom crying, through Amanda crying, we are reminded of hope in the world.

"She has taught us that there is joy in the journey," her mom says through tears, "regardless of what that journey looks like."

You have a feeling of sadness. A feeling of connection. And a feeling of hope.

Good journalism and story-telling makes you feel. Makes you connect. Makes your heart stop.

The story of Amanda McDaniel does just that.





Friday, April 9, 2010

Transgendered sportscasters

Bryant Gumbel recently featured one of the strangest things in baseball. It wasn't a stadium. Or a player. Or even the league. It was about three reporters born men and now women covering the nation's favorite pasttime.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm just a bill ...

The Missouri House passed an abortion bill that would make changes to current law including requiring doctors to report girls under the age of 18 who not only go through with a procedure but who also inquire about one.

The bill passed with an overwhelming majority and moved to the Senate. If you want to read about the bill you can read it here.

One of the reporters at KOMU had already interviewed the bill sponsor Rep. Cynthia Davis and I was assigned to get someone who voted against the bill.

I started calling those who voted against the bill. The House was in session at the time so it made it difficult to nail down someone who only wanted to talk but could also make the time. Rep. Hope Whitehead answered her phone when I called her office and she was gracious to give me a few moments. But as I got the Jefferson City, a resolution affecting her district was on the floor. So this gave me a chance to sit in the gallery and not only watch the proceedings but also the extra-curricular activities on the floor. I got to see and over hear a few representatives discuss why they should vote on a particular issue. One even got up from the back and almost ran to the front of the floor to stop another representative from speaking on an issue because "we aren't going that way."

I got an up-close look at how things happen on the floor of the house. It was an extremely interesting experience.

From a journalistic perspective, I learned that patience pays off. Rep. Whitehead gave me some great sound for the VOSOT and she was a gracious individual. She couldn't stop apologizing for making me wait.

I also got to see the lure of covering something that I thought was so boring. I watched as other reporters talked to state leaders and how they can craft all kinds of interesting stories. I almost wanted to beg to be put on the capital beat. Almost.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

"The ninth floor" one floor from hell


In a world of live TV and round the clock coverage, Media Storm turns out some powerful pieces using only pictures, interviews and music.

The piece "The ninth floor" disturbed me on many levels.
"In 2004, anywhere from 20 to 30 young addicts lived on the ninth floor of an elegant narrow building overlooking Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The squatters had turned the sprawling apartment into a dark, desperate and chaotic place.

People hustled, scored, shot and smoked wherever they could. Friends conned each other for their next hit. They slept on piles of clothes on the floor. The power was shut off; the bathroom unusable; the kitchen filled with garbage. Anything of value was sold off.

For nearly three years, Jessica Dimmock followed this crew documenting what happened to them after eviction, how they fought to get clean, sank deeper into addiction, went to jail, started families and struggled to survive."
Joe Smith first owned the apartment and sub-let one room to one person. This number just keeps on growing.
We are first introduced to Jessie. An addict.

"Sometimes it scary like i think I OD'd," she says. "There's many times that I've done … Ive shot and like 'this might be it.'"

There are then images of what seems to be drug-induced sex and the sun sliding down the horizon as the needle slides into her arm.

Jessie goes to prison, comes out, tries to get clean and is hospitalized. While in the hospital, she shoots up. These are disturbing images but I think they need to be shown to get the full feel of desperation addicts go through.
  • Dionn & Rachel
We next meet Dionn and Rachel. Two addicts in manic-depressive relationship based on sex and drugs.

"All I was thinking about was that 'i wanna get high, i wanna get high' you know I wanna get high," Dionn said. "I guess the junkie life was what I wanted. I had really no other aspirations."

The two of them are eventually evicted from the apartment and go into rehab.

What I found interesting was a sequence of pictures cut in time with the music where you c
ould almost hear the expletives flowing from her mouth.

The slideshow had some disturbing images but I think its needed for us to see the grittiness and desperation that the drugs force on users.

And it gives context to some of the later images of redemption.

" I don't think anyone owes me anything," Dionn said after the birth of his daughter and weaning off of the drugs. "I know that everything I did I made my own choice about it. And thats what sucks real bad."

This piece taught me many things about journalism and shooting. The powerful images in the piece pull you into the slideshow. The composition was great as well and could easily translate into video.

So, if you get a chance and have the stomach, check out the slideshow because it really does seem set just one floor from hell.






ALL PHOTOS (c) Jessica Dimmock
All photos link to Media Storm's slideshow

Unintended consequences

Stories and story ideas can come from the strangest places.

The past few weeks I have been looking--read desperately searching--for what Bahamians would call a BUBBLA. A bubbla is a car that's only purpose is to get you from point A to point B and that it got it's name from the fact that it's mechanical workings are so spotty that when it stops it would be bubbling steam, oil or both.

I didn't have this problem in Dallas a few years ago. Granted Dallas is a bigger city and more drivers but I wouldn't think it would take THIS LONG.

While talking to a used car salesman, I stumbled across the reason. The CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) or Cash for Clunkers program was designed to get older cars off the road and replaced with newer environmentally friendly cars.

The unintended consequence of this positive move took cheaper second hand cars off the street. The dealer told me there are fewer cheaper cars at auction and more people simply turned in their cars instead of selling them.

He pushed me to Craigslist to look at the cars and people desperately looking for a car just like me. I emailed one of the people's ad that read: "Need a cheap car and need it now. I hv (sic) 1200 dollars in hand. needing (sic) to go to work and tke (sic) kids to bbysitter (sic)." She told me she's been looking for two months and has not been able to work. Her phone is off and expects her internet to turn off soon. She's faced with using the money she has saved to either pay for her phone or wait for a car to become available.

Now both of us may just be part of a minority. But it just shows that going green can save the trees and hurt those sitting in the shade.


CARS website


Bahamas Tourism

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rape: New weapon in African wars

Waiting for a recent class, I happened to pick up the current issue of Global Journalist. And it was a win FAUL for me.

I opened it to an article on rape in Africa. This was not the most striking part of the article. It was the writer--former AP Bureau Chief for the Caribbean Michelle Faul.

Michelle is my first international editor. She writes with passion and passed that on to many of the writers under her care in the Caribbean.

This passion came through in her writing about soldiers in Africa using sex as a weapon.

The piece first examined the logic of identifying victims of rape in some African nations. Michelle talked about how she had defended a decision 30 years ago to withhold the name of a rape victim in Rhodesia which is now called Zimbabwe. However she is now pushing to have rape victims names in print. She was interviewing a woman who had been raped recently in eastern Congo. After making sure the woman knew her story would be told around the world and in the Congo, Michelle asked if the woman was certain she wanted her name printed. What came next surprised me: "Three times she insisted that she wanted to be identified because, she declared 'I have done nothing to be ashamed of.'"

That opened my eyes to the struggles that these women are going through in that part of the world. Here was this woman willing to endure the shame of rape to get the story out. She stood strong in the face of something so profoundly difficult.

This infused me with a want to tell the story of those who can't get their story out.

Her writing was vivid as well. "A surgeon I spoke to who sewed together raped babies refused to allow me to interview his nurses, saying they had to have concealing for trauma and that it would be too painful for them to recall what they had witnessed," she wrote in Global Journalist.

Michelle wrote that she had to fight with editors to get some of these details into her stories. "Ultimately, the decision was that we are witnesses and cannot sanitize facts so that readers can sleep better at night," she wrote. "If people are disturbed, well, the subject is more than disturbing."

This inspires me to get out in the world and tell these disturbing stories so that we all know the world is not paradise and passion.

Thank you Michelle. Thank you for showing us a mirror of the world that most people would like to leave shattered.


Michelle Faul has covered Africa for The Associated Press since 1982 from bases in her native Zimbabwe to Ivory Coast in West Africa, Kenya in East Africa and, most recently from Johannesburg, South Africa. In between, she worked in the Caribbean for 10 years until 2005.





Two bucks pulls MU campus together

Who thought something that costs 2 bucks could pull so many people together?

Last week, cotton was sprawled over the lawn of the Black Cuture Center on the campus of The University of Missouri by people who could only be described as idiots.

The entire community pulled together. Black. Whites. Internationals. Asians. Tigers. Columbians. Everyone. They pulled together at a town hall meeting organized by the Legion of Black Collegians on the campus of The University of Missouri.

To put what is being called only as "The Incident" into perspective, you have to go back decades. Before the 13th Ammendment of the U.S. Constiition was passed, Black slaves picked cotton--one of many crops they cultivated. The cotton in front of the BCC reminded everyone of those times.

I wasn't able to report during the initial reaction but felt that the meeting would be the best place to see how the entire community would react to such a racial charged event.

As I arrived, organizers had set up a special area for the media, but this time I figured I would take a spot away from the pack. The designated media area was on the side of the room with access to the audio board. I went to the back of the room where there was no one. I was glad I did.

Colan Holmes had gotten to the BCC late and really wanted to get a seat or at the very least hear what was going on. He said he thought it was important to attend because race was a very important issue to him. He didn't want to speak, he just wanted to support. But here, he stood out as a minority. For you see, Colan is white.

I got a chance to speak to him about why he came to the meeting and his thoughts on race and color-blindness. He was soft spoken but still had a lot to say.

If I had decided to follow the pack, I wouldn't have gotten his story. That was one of the big things I learned this week on the grind in B-2.

I also learned that 2 bucks to insult a race and cause a schism on the campus of Missouri isn't enough. In fact with the support at the BCC I learned that two dollars could pull an entire community together.


Friday, February 19, 2010

This weeks Journalism post

Most people watch the Olympics for the action. Or to cheer on your country. Or even because you are compelled to for a class. All of the is important but I watch the Olympics for one person: Jimmy Roberts.

Roberts reports the most of the prime time features during NBC's coverage. He's sat in that chair for several Olympics.

If ever there was a dream job for me, that would be it.

Even though he sits next to Bob Costas as cool as the ice in Vancouver, you know there is a lot of work that went into pulling that package together.

Earlier in the games, Canada was hoping for its first Winter Olympics gold medal on home soil. The country's first opportunity came in the women's freestyle moguls.

Canadian Jennifer Heil was poised to make it happen. She had turned in an impressive 25.69 seconds run. She stood poised to raise the mapleleaf for her country. American Hanna Kearny changed that. In the last run of competition, Kearny bested Heil's time by almost a second.

Hours after the race, Roberts was sitting next to Costas with a feature story on that race. This piece--like most--stood out to me not because of the great writing but because you could see the amount of work that went into the piece even before the start beep sounded. It was if most of the piece was done even before the sun came broke over the mountains of Whistler.

This is one thing I can definitey take from Roberts in terms of long-form features for sports events. HE had the background video shot and probably most of the piece already edited before the final. In the Bahamas, we have several major sports events that the national TV station covers including the national boys basketball tournament, softball championships and track events. With some foresight and planning I could put together a piece of that caliber.

Going back to the writing, Roberts is either a master with words or has one of the best writers around.

He expertly weaves "threes" through his piece. "So Canada waits for the next time, the next chance, the next opportunity for gold," Roberts said in the piece.

This is something I try to get into every piece as well. Roberts shows just how powerful using the trinity can be.

So as I watch the Olympics, I wont be watching the twists, the turns or the tumbles. I'll be watching for Jimmy Roberts.

This weeks project

This week's video project was a rough one. But it taught me a few things.

My first story feel through because of credential issues. My second story fell through because of logistical issues. And my third story almost fell through because of phone issues.

I learned that even though you may have a great idea it takes a lot to execute that idea; and to be on the safe side HAVE PLANS B-SQUARED. That's because even plan B can fall through. So you need a backup to the backup.

I covered the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at the local episcopal church here in Columbia. The supper is a tradition in churches of the catholic heritage. In the old days, the season of Lent was strictly observed and little sugar, fat and even flour was used during those 40 days of fasting. People didn't want their supplied to go to waste and the best way to use them was to make pancakes.

I thought this one was different because it was the boy scout troupe that was organizing it. And it was because of this that I wanted to make the story a little more than just a pancake supper. I wanted to show the positive things that young people are doing in the world--especially young men. I found a young man who was willing to talk and had a good attitude about the event. Not only was he funny but also put a good face on the story.

I think I will try that more often--make the story not so much the event but really part of something larger.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Opening Ceromonies

Selected highlights from the start of the 2010 Games

Steve Nash takes part in final leg of Torch run
Wayne Gretzky leads flame lighting
Mechanical issues slow the lighting of the flame
Gretzky lights the main cauldron in the Vancouver city-scape

It would be very hard if not impossible to beat the opening ceremonies of the the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Vancouver is making a strong statement that the ceremonies don't have to be large to have an impact.

As the venues and dates of the previous games are announced to start the show, you are almost forced to remember that what we are seeing has been built on all the previous games.

Vancouver had to get the blessing of all the first inhabitants of Canada to even have the games. It seemed symbolic that representatives from all the tribes would welcome the athletes as they paraded into the stadium.

Greece in blue and white started the parade of athletes some of them with Canadian flags painted on their faces.

The parade is almost bitter-sweet for me. The Bahamas was attempting to have a competitor in the games in snowboarding. This would have been the first time. The snowboarder missed the cut but he still made the country proud just making a push. Maybe the next games in Sochi will be his breakout.

A sad moment during the parade of athletes got those packed in the stadium to their feet, even Governor-General of the Canada H.E. Michaëlle Jean--the representative of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.

Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a luge training run at the controversial Whistler Sliding Center just hours before the opening ceremony. The 21-year-old lost control of his sled near the end of the run. He was thrown off the track and crashed into unpadded steel near the finish. Emergency crews tried to revived him and NBC showed bloodied pictures of the attempt.

As the Georgian delegation entered the flag seemed to almost limp in the bearer's hands, almost as if it knew the weight on the hearts of the rest of the delegation.

A black ribbon was tied near the finial of their flag. Delegation members wore black scarfs and black armbands. Some looked as if it took everything to not cry.

It must have been the toughest walk for some of them. But they really are the embodiment of the Olympic oath from back in 1924: "We will take part in the Olympic Games in a spirit of chivalry, for the honour of our country and for the glory of sport."

The Olympics have not been kind to Georgia. If you remember, the delegation from Georgia stayed and competed at the 2008 Beijing Games even as when Russia invaded their country.

On another note. A new version of the iconic song "We are the world" was released to during the games to support relief efforts in Haiti. It was ironic that the Head of State for these opening ceremonies was H.E.
Michaëlle Jean because of her Haitian decent. Canada is a part of the Commonwealth of Nations which has its head Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. She was invited but could not attend. There for Jean took her place.

Now on to the opening ceremonies and the presentation. But first from a journalism point of view the producers must have just finished reading Al Tompkins book "aim for the heart"--because they said wanted to tell the story of the whole by concentrating on one character. Interesting.

A between 30 and 40 million dollars was spent on the production and everyone was a part of the show. Everyone in the stadium had a little light and was a part of the background.

The iceberg in the stadium was breathtaking even if it was simply lights on the floor. But seeing what seemed to be whales gliding across the stadium floor was amazing as producers combined lights with fog and bursts of air to make it seem as if the whales were clearing their blowholes.
"Just another miracle, just another ordinary miracle day," sarah mcglacsi sang to end the firs egmen

the next segment was full of very folksy music--fiddles, tap dancing and clapping. Most of the dancers wore plaid and maple leaves fell from the sky.

The cultural diversity of Canada was apparent. Many of the dancers were black, Asian and Hispanic. The country's culturual tolerance as also evident with many of the participants displaying their tattoos, non-traditional piercing and grunge-styled clothing.

The third segment was called: "Who owns the wind?" The character for this segment was a little boy and through the marvel of technology had him running on the prairie and then taking off in the sky. He even did air cartwheels with Joni Mitchell's song "Both sides now" powering the action.

"Peaks of Endeavor" was the next segment and meant to honor the candian rockies. Snow boarders and skies suspenved in the air as streaks of lights seemed to be pulled around them by inline skaters who represented ice-skaters.

"And yes we say ZED instead of Z," belted by a Canadian poet to end this segment was another reminder of the country's diversity and genteelness.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Real Sports real to me

It’s rare that news people become the news. But when it happens it’s a powerful thing.

In a recent edition of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel this is exactly what happened.

Last year (2009), the temporary shelter at the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility in Valley Ranch collapsed paralyzing one member of the staff and injuring about a dozen more. This news hit home for me.

I interned at NBC-5 in Dallas back in 2006 and to covered the Dallas Cowboys a few times at the old stadium and at their Valley Ranch training facility where the incident occurred.

The WFAA photographer who captured the crash at the facility last year, Arnold Payne, I had meet several times. He was always helpful and even though I was an intern he took the time to help me out and push me in the right directions—even though we were at competing stations.

When I saw the breaking news back in May 2009, all of a sudden, the news became real for me. Hearing Arnold talk about what he was shooting was as if he was talking directly to me.

“I looked up and low and behold, the lights were swinging,” Payne told Real Sports. “The lights that are there to illuminate the practice facility were just swinging back and forth like on a swing.”

I thought to myself at the time that I was standing in the same spot while covering the Cowboys. It was scary.

“It was like a scene out Raiders of the Lost Ark man,” Payne said on the show. “I was running and I dare look behind me because that big ball was coming and stuff was falling.”

Seeing Arnold again on Real Sports was sobering. He seemed just as passionate as he did back in May 2009. Frank Deford from Sports Illustrated reported the piece that revisited the incident. This was a great example of follow-up and Deford is a great writer and interviewer and added a lot to the piece.

This is the type of journalism I hope to one day be a part of. Telling great stories no matter if they are in sports or news. And this piece—and the show in general—proves that good stories can be told just about anywhere.

Visiting the Central Missouri Humane Society

Next time I say or even THINK shooting video is easy, slam a tripod across the back of my head. Ideally I should be wearing headphones and not hear it coming and wont feel a thing.

As a reporter, it always seems easy to ask a photographer for a shot or a series or sound. But now it was all up to me. Talk about pressure.


After arriving at the Central Missouri Humane Society, I starting thinking through the shots that I wanted to set the scene. That took almost 20 minutes just setting up the tripod.

After we started the interview with Shelter Relations Coordinator Allison Toth, I started to feel better about the assignment. Shooting it, not the story.

With the interview out of the way, it was now time to visit with the dogs and cats. This is where I think I went over board. How can you not with dogs and cats? Each one of them seemed to want to tell a story about how they got there and how badly they wanted to get out and live with a happy family. Seeing them and thinking about my own pet back home made me even more determined to help tell a great story. And I found the young guy who could help me: Tanner.

Tanner was one of the oldest residents at the shelter and just seemed so docile and scared. Somehow though, he had a feeling about him that came through the camera.

One trap I think I got in during my visit was to over-shoot and over-think everything. But then how can you not knowing that you wanted to tell the animals’ stories.


Central Animal Hospital

Dog Jog from the Columbian Missourian









Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010