During my third week at WAVY, I had the opportunity to shadow one of their reporters, Erin Kelly, as well as a photog named Greg!
On Wednesday, we covered a fire on Granby Street in Norfolk. The fire started at around 8:30 a.m. inside a Dollar Tree store.
Erin was set to be live that day, which meant we’d be out in the field from about 10 a.m. to 6 in the evening. This was an amazing opportunity because I was able to see the story develop throughout the day.
When we arrived on the scene, LaVoy, the photographer who had arrived early in the morning, briefed Greg on the information he’d gathered. He had already talked to the fire chief and a witness on video. Erin ended up using this footage.
When Erin arrived, she showed me how she chooses the soundbites first, takes notes and writes her scripts around them. This makes sense because it gives the narrative a much better flow.
Once it was time to go on air, Greg set up the camera and Erin prepared for her nod-in, or the part of the noon segment where the anchors introduce her to let the viewers know we’re on the scene. Later, she described what she found out, and told the viewers to tune in throughout the day to learn more.
Afterwards, we walked closer to the scene to talk to witnesses and local businesses surrounding Dollar Tree to gather more information. No one could offer any information other than seeing smoke and firefighters at the scene.
Throughout the day, she made more calls and wrote her scripts for each segment (4:00, 5:00 and 6:00). She also put together a vo/sot (voice over/sound on tape), which is a voice over accompanied by a sound bite.
This was such an awesome experience. It was neat reading the story once it had been updated with all of the details and new information Erin gathered. I got to witness how all of this information was gathered in the course of a day.
Wave of the week
Erin gave me tons of great advice. However, what’s really going to stick with me is what she said about finding witnesses to talk to. It’s paraphrased because I can’t remember word-for-word, but it was along the lines of:
“I usually go to every business within the area. Even if I don’t get any new information, at least I know I knocked on every door. Sometimes it’s that last one that gives you what you need.”
Remaining diligent in your quest to get the scoop is absolutely necessary, and I’ve struggled with being turned away by potential sources in the past. It’s going to happen. It’s inevitable, but no progress can be made unless you at least try, and keep going even after doors are shut in your face.
Special thanks to Erin and Greg for letting me tag along!