Danielle Washington “The Miracle Riders”

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in Columbus Georgia and I had just arrived at WTVM. I was anxious to get started for the day because I would be working with another stellar reporter Dante Renzulli and the story we had the honor of covering was one that definitely touched my heart. Sometimes in life we tend to get so wrapped up in our busy lives that we forget how fortunate we are as individuals. We tend to take the things that come naturally to us for granted such as our health and strength but there is a group of people in the Columbus Area that realized we are all connected in this world. This group is so amazing that I was completely honored to be in their presence because it so humbling to see a group that was concerned about the well being of others. This outstanding group is affectionally known as the Miracle Riders of Columbus, Ga. These men sacrificed their time to make sure babies and children of the Miracle Network would have money to continue research and improvements around them.

The query arises to us all to figure out how far we would go to help someone in need. These Miracle Riders have a distinguished leader named Scott Ressmeyer who is the co-owner of local restaurant Country’s Barbeque. Scott has been doing this ride for the past four years so this year commemorated the fifth year for the ride. He along with eleven of his friends took off from the Medical Center for a 21 day motorcycle ride across forty-eight states to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. These riders persevered through the heat for the Miracle Network and I was thoroughly impressed with their hard work and dedication.

As for the reporting of this story it was very excited because we go to wait at the National Infantry Museum for their anticipated arrival back to Columbus. There was so much joy in the atmosphere and Dante was ready to do his live shot. He allowed me to help him set up and learn certain features with the camera. We were also privileged to have star photographer Paul Therrien to cover the live shot of their arrival. His skills and wisdom are great and he definitely made Dante’s story more detailed and clear by leaning on his expertise. So as the miracle riders pulled up they all were smiling and waving because they were happy to back home. I could tell they were tired but the most important factor was the welfare of the Miracle Network. The Riders set history by raising a grand total of $262,860.80 this was the most they have ever raised over the five year span of doing the motorcycle ride. It was awesome to actually get to interview Scott Ressmeyer he truly is a saint among men and I was happy to be able to help cover this special story. Dante Renzulli is very talented and later that day he showed me how to edit a story and also how to make sure the sound bites tell the story because the voices are the heart of the story.

Dante Renzulli and Scott Ressmeyer Miracle Riders Arrival Honorary Member and Miracle Riders Infantry Museam

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Danielle Washington – “The Final Decision”

The greater Columbus area is rich with a historic foundation that allows citizens to feel connected to the community. The city is filled with many elements of hard work from the past which basically makes Columbus a cohesive unit. This hard work can be found in the educational system that impacts students on a daily basis. This hard work can also be found in our educators, business owners, determined citizens, and most importantly in the sweat and tears it took to develop this town. Therefore, when local issues arise it becomes a big stir because we as citizens of Columbus care about what happens in our neighborhoods and streets. So the possibility of the School Board voting to close Marshall Middle School and Edgewood Elementary School definitely struck a chord with the community, the teachers, parents, and students of these two Schools.

My first day as an WTVM Intern I got the opportunity to dive into the big School Board Meeting with Curtis McCloud as he covered the happenings of the meeting. We arrived on the scene early to set up everything and to begin doing a live shot to stream back to the station. In that particular instance I realized that we were about to take part in something that would forever change Columbus. Before the meeting began droves of people were lined up outside to make sure they procured seats for the vote and also for the recognition of the students in the local area. As Curtis prepped for his live shot at 5:00pm he began to show me the ropes about reporting. He informed me to always be ready and prepared for anything that may ensue. I really admire his tenacity to tackle all his stories with the utmost commitment and dedication. His hard work paid off because we were the first news station on the scene to ensure we did not miss any details. The greatest element about working with Curtis is that he never sticks to a conventional script, he always knows what he wants to say and is ready to report. So after we grabbed the live shot the reality began to seep in.

As we sat in the School Board Meeting the tension began to increase after the awards were given out. It was so much anxiety in the room because numerous students and parents were there to plead their cases and to see what the outcome would render. Before the Board voted an enraged citizen stood up to address the school closings, his tone was so brutal he yelled and screamed at the board and Interim Superintendent John Phillips about money being wasted. He also begged that they keep Marshall and Edgewood open due to the major scholastic improvements the schools made in the past school year. He shouted from the top of his lungs to ensure that he was heard and he definitely poured out his heart to the crowd. After he sat down people in the room had a shocked look on their faces due to the passion of his argument.

Then the time of reckoning unfolded and the vote began to be discussed. At the moment the vote was tabled by Board Member Mark Cantrell so the Board could have more time to discuss the issue further but once it was explained to him he withdrew his motion to table the issue and then they proceeded with the vote. The results were clear the Board decided to close Marshall and Edgewood. As this decision was revealed it was a commotion in the crowd and many tears shed. One parent that we got an opportunity to interview said that “she had just had the chance to watch her son read for the first time.” She was heartbroken and she felt like all her hard work had gone in vein. The Board’s explanation boiled down to savaging the budget for Muscogee County. By closing these schools it saved the district 10 million dollars. Both schools were under the number of students they needed to remain functional so the Board decided to close the schools down. This major decision definitely touched the community and it is still an issue people are discussing. So my first day as an intern I got to be a part of a historic decision in the community and I got to view it through the lens of a reporter.

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School board The board angry parent

From Journalism Intern to Editorial Assistant Intern

Well, we have received are first set of evaluations. I did not know whether my evaluation would be critical or praising. Even when I’m doing a good job I always think I’m lacking somewhere.After many overly dramatic sighs I began to read my evaluation. My boss loves my work. Now I’ve made the jump from Journalism Intern to Editorial Assistant Intern. The same job description applies as Chief Intern for the Journalism Department, but now I get BCC’ed with the client emails and I have first pick on interviews. It’s a lot of work but I love it!

I also go to interview Ariane from Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta on Tuesday. Today I am working at transcribing that interview so that it can go live on the Erica Vain website. The interview itself was awesome. I stumbled some but she was an awesome person to talk to, and hilarious! I caught myself wondering if the jitters from the interviews ever go away? Does Oprah get jitters when she’s interviewing Beyonce? More like Beyonce gets jitters being interviewed by Oprah. I was really nervous, but with each interview I do I have less nervousness then I did before.

Today, however was a crazy day. With the BET Awards events starting today, my boss is extremely busy, which makes everyone run to the intern leads. Since I work another job outside of my internship, my boss is always catching me replying to emails. It’s crazy and I love it!

ariane

Ariane from LHHATL

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This was a tweet sent to me from Ariane on Twitter. I was so excited! I can’t wait to do more interviews!

Chatil Bradford- Free HIV Testing

Today was a very interesting day because we chose to cover the National HIV Testing Day. There are several people throughout the world that go many years of their life being sexually active but not knowing their status. HIV does not have a specific look so there are no ways that you can just tell that someone has it when having sex with them. To cover this subject we talked with Jeremy Hobbs about his journey just as well as the fact that he is the “cheerleader” for HIV Awareness in Columbus. This is what many people call him when referring to all the work that he does in the community when making people aware of what could possibly happen to their lives if they are not practicing safe behaviors.
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During the interview, he was very enthusiastic and uplifting about the event coming up at the Columbus Public Library. The library will be hosting free HIV testing to everyone who comes and asks to be tested between 11am and 6 pm. This is an opportunity that many that do not know their status can come and be tested confidentially without any judgements given.
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One little event that happened during the interview was that there was a woman that came into the room while we were taping and she wanted us to leave so that her grandchild could listen to a kid’s story. She was a little mean with the reporter but eventually realized that we were taping for the local news and apologized for her behavior after seeing him in the children’s reading room. It was quite entertaining to watch while I was working the camera.

Chatil Bradford- Flightways Columbus, Ga

Yesterday, we decided to cover an event for children 8-18 called the Young Eagles Program. This program gives children an opportunity to fly in an airplane and see what it is like to be thousands of feet in the air for free. It aims to get children comfortable with flying so that when their families or them decide to go somewhere they will not be as frightened to get on a big airplane. The planes that they use for this program usually only sit about 3-5 people. They are not big at all and in fact to move the planes around the lot they use a little cart that looks like a child’s wagon. I don’t know about everyone else but a plane that small scares me because I think it might just be a tad bit too small.

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We interviewed a guy named Ernie, who the reporter refers to camera as “Cuzzin Ernie.” The reporter refers to him as this because to put a little comedic spin on the interview so it wont just be a regular face to face interview. It was interesting experience for me to tape this interview because of the way I had to constantly move around with the camera to get different angles of the planes and make sure I avoid anything in the area around the plane while holding the camera. This also makes it extremely difficult to make sure that the reporter is on time if I cant look down at my phone or a watch. This was probably the most difficult challenge that I have been given since I have started the internship. It was challenging but we were still able to have a successful taping of the segment.

DJ Chip and Ernie

DJ Chip and Ernie

Chatil Bradford – Miss Georgia Pageant

One of the first events that we covered was the Miss Georgia Pageant. We interviewed two contestants from the Columbus Area. The first contestant was Miss Columbus, Willietta Grant. She is also a student at Columbus State University. The interview seemed to go very smooth with her because I have already developed a relationship with her before the recognition she received from the pageant.

Chatil and Willietta

Chatil and Willietta

The next contestant that we decided to interview was Miss Gwinnett County, Shelby Price. The interview went by fairly smooth with her but the biggest challenge was for us to find a place for us to shoot. We wanted to have something other than a plain background when talking to her about the pageant. To solve the problem we found a place on 13th Ave that allowed us to have a moving and interactive background with the community while conducting the interview. This was a new experience for me because I had to constantly make sure that the camera was balanced and the sun exposure was at the right level. DJ Chip was able to conquer both interviews and we completed a successful segment once again.

Shelby Rice, Chatil, and DJ Chip

Shelby Rice, Chatil, and DJ Chip

Chatil Bradford- WLTZ/ NBC38 Intern

Being a student in the Communication Department at Columbus State University offers me so many opportunities in the community for different internships. This summer I have begun an internship at WLTZ/ NBC 38. My particular area of focus is under the entertainment portion of the morning news called “Chip’s World.” This portion of the news focuses on whats going on in the community for the week. It is a way of connecting the people to the things that are going on in the community.

Dj Chip and I

Dj Chip and I

My job as the intern of the show is to always know what is going on in the community. Everyday I am calling different marketing directors for events and companies setting up times to shoot them. Once I have scheduled a time to shoot them, I then have to consult with my reporter about the event that we will be covering. We will then wait until the scheduled time and go out to shoot them. I am in full control of the camera at all times. All of the skills that I have learned through Dr.Hart’s Video Production class are put into full force. Once we have started shooting, I am also in charge of keeping my reporter on time and not going over 1 minute and 45 seconds. Sometimes it can be difficult when he isn’t looking but we have gotten better at communicating with each other when to wrap it up.