Corinne Fisher- WTVM – Coming to an End

Well, my time at WTVM has been fun and a great learning experience!  The first thing that I have learned is that I probably don’t want to be a reporter. While following a reporter around was interesting, their job is crazy! It is extremely hectic, most times stressful, requires long hours, no breaks and very little pay. Another thing that I don’t really care for in this smaller market of Columbus are the stories. Many of the stories that we did were in my opinion, silly. When I am doing a job, I want to find meaning in it and know that it counts for something; however, I couldn’t find meaning or a point to half of the stories that we were assigned to.

On the bright side, in the end, I started to work with some of the producers and found that I truly do enjoy the work that they do. While the majority of their job is spent behind a computer, it is interesting work. They are responsible for putting the entire show together. They have to search for stories to fill gaps, write scripts and make sure reporters stick to their time limits. When show time comes around, the show is run by them. If an anchor takes too long in reading their scripts, the producer must adjust some other part of the show accordingly. I had the chance to help the producers write scripts and it felt good to hear what I wrote being aired! I think I am still interested in pursuing the news as a possibly career choice, just not as a reporter.
I’ll leave you with some holiday cheer….2012-11-18_20-53-35_513

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Corinne Fisher – WTVM – From Stressful to Sweet

This past Tuesday was election day and things were crazy to say the least at WTVM. I volunteered to work the government center in downtown Columbus and report numbers back to the station as well as to the reporter I was with. The reporter was set up for live feeds all night, therefore, she did not have time to sit in the government center and wait on the numbers. I would be given a new set every thirty minutes or so. In total, I probably was given about 6 sets of numbers. Each new total would add a couple of precincts and finally we had all precincts and early voting reports. During all of this, I would update the station and try to help the reporter come up with material for her next live feed. I was also relaying numbers back to a local candidate that I had been helping during his campaign. The whole night was filled with excitement and nerves while I was trying to get everything right and not report back any wrong information. The night was finally complete at 12:30 as we made our last live feed and headed back to the station.
On Friday, I accompanied Mackenzie, a reporter, to a local home to interview a stay at home dad. The story that she is doing is called a “sweeps” piece and it is meant to help generate viewers. This particular sweeps is on stay at home dads and the dynamic of the family. We were able to interview the entire family of the stay at home dad and shoot some B-roll. Their smallest boy was so cute! They are die hard Alabama fans so they named him Crimson and he was just the cutest thing ever!

He was our last interview with the children and we asked him to look at the camera and say, “I love my dad.” He looked up at the camera and in the softest, sweetest voice said, “I love you daddy.” These are the moments that reporters live for! This one little sentence will make the piece and touch the hearts of all of the viewers.

Corinne Fisher – WTVM

This past Monday, I finished putting together my first full package. While I haven’t done a stand up yet, I have done voice over or tracking and put together something that is similar to what would air. A stand up is when the reporter says something in front of the camera about the story that they are working on. When finished, I asked an anchor for the station to review my work. He gave me some great tips! He said to try to include natural sound or “nat” sound. For example, my piece was on a canned food drive and I could include the sound of a can being dropped into a bin. I’m glad he pointed this out because I was always under the impression that B-roll or the footage being played while the sound of an interview is being rolled should have no sound. It makes sense though, because it helps the viewer to feel like they are there and the story become more realistic. I was also told to try to add more base to my voice when talking. I knew that my voice overs sounded high and I had been trying to sound a little lower but that is something that I will just have to work on. The reporter that I work with told me that I could try to make the story follow one individual and make it a little more personal. For example, I could have started with one little girl and talked about how she is donating canned goods and shown footage of her.

Each day, I am learning new tricks of the trade and learning how to come out of my shell. Today, we interviewed MOS’s or men on the street and I had to ask people to interview for us. I also had the opportunity to shoot some B-roll at a women’s luncheon that we attended and we met the former mayor, Shirley Franklin. Election day is coming up and news rooms everywhere will be busy reporting numbers and doing live shots at precincts and headquarters everywhere. This election night, WTVM has asked me to work with Mackenzie at the government center to both report numbers back to the station and to conduct live shots. I am excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Corinne Fisher – WTVM – Gettin’ the job done!

As I continue to learn the ins and outs of the news world, the fact that there is never a dull moment is constantly being reinforced. Wednesday was my long day again at the station. Fortunately for me it wasn’t as long as Mackenzie’s, the anchor I am shadowing. When I arrived, Mackenzie wasn’t there but she showed up shortly after. She had already been there and gotten an interview that morning around 8:30. She started the morning by making her “beat” calls. A beat is a particular subject or topic that she is always assigned to check in on. Mackenzie’s beat is Lagrange, GA. Soon after, we headed out to collect our interviews. We had to cover the canned food drive and Red Ribbon Week going on at Richards Middle School. While there, we interviewed two girls about the drive and about Red Ribbon Week. When we returned to the station it was editing time. I began to put a package together from the footage that we shot and was almost finished when someone else had to use the computer. So I spent the rest of the time watching Mackenzie. We also had some visitors to the station.

Firefighters and law enforcement touring the news room

Local firefighter and policemen came to the station to learn about how to interact with the media and see first hand what goes on at a news station and all the behind the scenes. A reporter’s job is to dig up the dirt and they will go to whatever lengths they have to to do so. Unfortunately, getting through the police can be the hardest part. That is why it is important for them to learn how to work with the media to make things better on both ends. They won’t get annoyed and we won’t have to nag. The day for me ended after we received an unexpected assignment to shoot a bus tour made up of individuals from the Concerned Veterans of America. This tour included a lieutenant from the same company that found and captured Saddam Hussein. We had the opportunity to interview him and others on the tour. We then returned back to the station around 6PM and Mackenzie was in for some overtime as she had to then put the video together.

This job isn’t always a glamorous one and calls for long hours, unexpected assignments and little to no breaks. But I am seeing that when you are passionate about something, that doesn’t really matter. You accept the job, do it to the best of your ability and don’t stop until it’s finished.

Corinne Fisher- WTVM – Learning from the Best

This week at WTVM, I was able to experience more hands on activity. On Monday, I began using Edius, WTVM’s editing software and pieced together different interviews obtained that day. I also wrote out a script and created a mock package.

On Wednesday, Mackenzie and I went out to shoot interviews. First, we went to Reese Road Elementary and did a story about how they are applying for a contest to win PE Equipment. Girls at the school sang the song they had prepared for the contest. I learned a lot by watching Mackenzie and her interviewing technique. She doesn’t write any questions down to ask the interviewee. I guess they are all already in her head. She does have a way of getting the person to talk though and making sure she has enough footage and the right information. I also was intrigued by the different B-roll shots she decided to take. B-roll means action shots or shots to play while playing the audio from an interview. She got B-roll of the kids dancing, signs on the wall, she got a close up on kids feet while they were playing soccer along with many other shots. After this, we then went back to the station and began editing. Not too long after we had to leave again to obtain another interview. This one was at the Muscogee County School Board building. We interviewed one of the staff members about the sex ed program in Muscogee County and what the curriculum consisted of. When we finished with this, it was back to the station. I was able to work on piecing together the Reese Rd. story on Wednesday as well and incorported B-roll. I am still learning  how to use Edius, but I am pretty sure I still prefer Final Cut. Soon enough, I will learn how to put together an entire package!

Corinne – WTVM – Week One

This week began a new chapter. Monday was my first official day at WTVM. While I was only there for 3 hours, there was much to observe. They weren’t exactly sure what to do with me yet so I stayed in the background and tried to become acclimated to the environment. One of the first things that I noticed was the police radio playing in the background. There was nothing really interesting being said and nobody seemed to be paying attention to it. The assignment desk supervisor said that if anything interesting happens, someone will usually catch it. The phone rang and the assignment desk supervisor picked it up. It was an angry mother. She was upset about an incident that had happened at the mall with her daughter who had supposedly broken their dress code and was arrested. She was willing to drive all the way from South Carolina to come and talk to the media about it. Of course, there is always 3 sides to a story; both parties and then the truth. After some investigation, it was determined that this story was not worth pursuing. I observed that everyone in the news room becomes involved in every story. While each reporter has their particular assignments, they all collaborate with one another and are all aware of the stories being done.

Wednesday I was able to see this first hand. I spent the entire day with one of the lovely reporters, Mackenzie Zaragoza, in the field. She put together 2 packages that day, which means she was responsible for 2 stories. One was about how high school students can beat the stress of applying to colleges. The other was about 2 Phenix City Councilmen that recently got elected. On the latter story, she had a hard time getting contact information for the candidates. When she asked for help from other news team members, they were more than happy to get contact information for her. Eventually, we were able to track down one of them and spent the majority of the day looking for the other with no avail. Luckily, we were able to get a statement from one of the voters which completed the package or story. After driving around town for the majority of the morning and beginning of the afternoon, we headed back to the station. It was editing time! Mackenzie was clicking away and editing like a pro. I definitely need some practice! When she was almost finished with both packages, she gets a call from the candidate that we couldn’t get in touch with! She decided to do a phone interview with him and at the last minute had to find a way to work it in to her segment.

At no point that day did we get a lunch break. Mackenzie said that she always brings her lunch and either eats on the go or eats at her computer. This job is a crazy one with extremely short deadlines and little notice, but there is never a dull moment! Until next time Columbus, I’m Corinne Fisher with WTVM, News Leader 9….. (Haha! Maybe someday…)

Corinne – WTVM – First Day/Tour

This past Tuesday, I was finally able to tour the wonderful facilities at WTVM. For those of you not familiar with WTVM, it is our local news station in Columbus, GA and is an affiliate with Raycom Media. Most of their equipment is brand new. The set looked amazing! I was always under the impression that the background of the set was digitally projected; however, it’s not. It’s all really there! We were told about their plans to revamp the lighting in the studio as well.While there, we were able to observe an entire news show. It was really interesting to watch. I had always pictured at least 10 or more people in the background telling the anchors what to do and running the show. I had thought it would be a hectic environment, trying to scramble around and get everything prepared. This news cast consisted of 5 people, including the on-air talent. The atmosphere was calm with only the sound of the cameramen saying commands such as “stand by” and counting down. There were 3 people on cameras, no producers or directors in the room and 2 people who had on-air positions. One person was solely designated as anchor, and the other was the meteorologist. While the anchor was talking, the meteorologist was preparing her segment and did everything for it by herself with no help from anyone. At one point, the meteorologist finished up her segment on the green screen and was walking to the other set while conversing with the anchor live. Meanwhile, the picture that was being shown to viewers was of the weekly weather update. I never would have thought that would be proper news etiquette; however, they made it work. Overall, all of my preconceived ideas were wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I was also introduced to one of the reporters I will be working with and was told that I would have the opportunity to shadow them and go everywhere they go. I just hope they don’t get too annoyed by me. Also,  by the end of the internship, I will have a demo tape and a portfolio to show to future employers. This experience will definitely be a rewarding one, and I am so excited to see the amazing opportunities that await!

P.S. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a picture of the actual tour, I was so excited to be there that I forgot to take any. I will try to remember tomorrow as I begin my first day there as an actual intern!