Friday, January 23, 2009
We stayed in a hotel about 6 blocks from the mall, because there was no way we could get in and out of DC and make deadlines. On Tuesday morning, I woke up about 1:30am to finish writing an early-morning story previewing the day. I sent my voice track via laptop and my producer and I headed out to wait for a car service to take us to our camera. Because we were on the north side of the parade route, we couldn't cross over.
The car dropped us as close as he could - about 6 blocks from our location. Walking, it was interesting to see all the people, and their kids, camped out in the cold, waiting to be let loose on the Mall!
I barely made it to my camera in time for a 4:30am Early Today show hit. My co-worker was originally supposed to do it, but she got stuck in the security sweep.
At 5am, the most amazing thing happened: people started RACING onto the mall in droves. And I do mean racing! For almost two hours, I watched this unbelievable spectacle of people running for blocks, trying to get the best spot. I don't think I'll ever forget the older lady I saw (about 70) pushing her walker across the grass in the dark, trying to keep up with the masses.
By daylight, the 4 blocks in front of me and about 7 more behind me were full and shut down. People were singing and trying to stay warm in blankets. What really made an impact on me was the cheerfulness of this crowd. They'd been up all night, now standing for hours in the cold. And everyone was smiling!
I did live reports off and on until about 9:30am. During the actual Inauguration, we were right in the thick of it - taking pictures and interviewing people in the crowd for our afternoon story. The sheer emotion of it was overwhelming. I spoke with a woman from Texas, a soldier, who'd been sick, but made the effort to get to DC because she believed Obama would bring her fellow troops home from Iraq. I talked to another man who was so overcome with emotion when Obama took the oath. He said he felt he could do anything.
I had many friends and relatives who came for the event. We tried to touch base via text or cell, but finding anyone in that crowd was nearly impossible.
I put together a story on the crowds for afternoon newscasts and did live shots from the now-empty mall until about 8:30pm. Then we walked back to the hotel.
What a day!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I didn't get to Invesco field because of my work schedule. The overnight reporter recaps for morning and midday news shows what happened the night before. So unless you stay up 24/7 for a week, we miss the evening events. I watched them on TV, like you, from my hotel.
That scene at Invesco was beyond words. It WAS like a concert, except that you knew people were there for more than just fun. They were looking for inspiration. Some of them found it in Obama.
The lines to get into the stadium were incredible. I was headed OUT of the area six hours before Obama was to speak and saw lines several blocks long, two and three deep, waiting for shuttle buses to take them over. It was HOT! It amazed me the sacrifices people were making to see him in action.
If you've never seen what the "media village" looks like at one of these large events... well... it's incredible. Tents, equipment, satellite trucks, platforms 2 and 3 stories high, miles and miles of cable, people everywhere, food (we're trapped for days - they have to feed us!) - a real controlled chaos.
Our media tent is in the parking lot of the Pepsi center. We call it our "workspace." It's 6,000 square feet, carpeted with astroturf and tables, phones, computers and editing equipment everywhere for us and our affiliates. You can't go anywhere without a credential, and if you don't have the right TYPE of credential, you may get stopped.
The catering tent is next door. We get four meals a day. The theory is that people are working such odd schedules, they offer meals at times so everyone can get at least one or two. The food's been great.
Now that it's over, security's pretty much gone - but there's a MASSIVE cleanup job here. My division alone filled a 58-foot trailer with equipment. Black cases are everywhere, packed and stacked on flats to head to St. Paul for hte RNC next week.
If I had to miss the first week of school, this was worth it.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
My commute's about an hour a day driving, almost two if I use public transit (which I actually prefer). It's always interesting when I visit friends in small towns, where 20 minutes is considered a REALLY long commute! I envy all the extra family time they have, getting off work at 5 and being home by 515.
I was recently in Atlanta, and for all I've heard about the horrible traffic there, we got from downtown to everywhere we wanted to go in under 30 minutes - much less in some cases. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
Monday, August 11, 2008
- Are teens not getting breakfast, leaving them super-hungry by lunch? If so, why no breakfast? Are their families unable to afford it? Have they not been convinced of the importance of good nutrition?
- Are teens snagging a snack for later, because they don't have enough money to buy something to eat after school, or because there's nothing available between noon lunch and the end of football practice at 5:30?
- Are portion sizes appropriate for growing teens? Are we giving them skimpy meals, leaving them with growling stomachs during 5th and 6th period? Does the district need to revisit its lunch servings and perhaps shell out more to keep these 17 and 18 year olds nourished?
- Are prices too high for kids who are hungry to buy a second sandwich?
I am NOT making an excuse for stealing. It's flat out wrong. But when people are stealing food, you've gotta assume it's because they're hungry, and deal with that issue.
I've been on the hunt for a Princess backpack for my second-grader. OMG - I've been to 10 stores! There are plenty of backpacks, but they're too small or thin for the THREE INCH BINDER on my 7-year-old's school supply list! She's like a "baby tween" - old enough to need a big kid backpack -- but young enough to still want the cute (and tiny) character ones.
I finally settled on an American Princess backpack that she can pull if that huge binder gets too heavy in 3 months when it's full. Took me forever to find a once that's cute, sturdy and roomy. There's a butterfly on it - no Cinderella or Snow White - but it says princess, so I'm hoping she'll buy it.
If not, too bad - I am NOT going back out into that school shopping madness!!!