Danielle Washington – Bittersweet

wtvm

Over the course of this summer I have had the best time of my life. This internship had showed me so much about the News Business and I am truly grateful to have gotten the opportunity to intern at the number one newsstation in Columbus Georgia. There is no doubt in my mind that I have gained so much more as a Communications major and person by being allowed to intern with WTVM.

Danielle intern

The team has been outstanding in lending so much wisdom to me as I got the opportunity to interview some legendary people of the station. Men such as Chuck Leonard, Paul Therrien, and Mr. Eddie Bland taught me so much about the history of WTVM. While the oustanding report Mr.Curtis McCloud took me under his wing this summer and he definitely showed me how to be a reporter. Word can not express my gratitude to the entire staff of WTVM for showing me what it is like to be a part of a newsstation. I also am forever indebted to Mr. Chris Robinson for allowing the opportunity to intern this summer.  I look forward to particapting in the first ever intern newscast this Saturday and I am very excited to be a part of it.

Live on Set

I have seen it all and loved every moment of sitting in the newsroom and also being live in the field. The city of Columbus will always depend upon WTVM for the news it can count on and WTVM will continue to deliver with style and grace as it had been doing for the past six decades. I have cherished this internship and I will take the skills I have formed with me in the future.

Danielle Washington – Craig’s List Fraud

Craig's List Fraud

A local woman in Columbus Ga, wrote into WTVM to inform the public about a fraudulent check she received in the mall from a job search she did on Craig’s List. Curtis and I went to her home to interview her about what happened. She was very sweet and welcomed us in with open arms. This woman had been out of work for a few months and all the while she had been searching for a job. She has profiles with all the job search engines that alert to when a new job has been posted. She definitely had been feeling down about finding a job and she was very excited when she was contacted for a specific job. However she was not expecting to receive a check for about 2,000 dollars in the mail with instructions on what to do with that money. She knew then that this was not a legitimate job and she was very disappointed. The letter that was sent to her was done in an unprofessional manner and it was clear that is was fraudulent. Her main concern was to tell others about this scam so they would not be victims to such horrible things.

Fraud

For we all have made accounts through search engines to assist us in finding jobs and sometimes we give out important information online with hopes of discovering a job. We never think about how people are out there preying on those individuals who vigilantly seek a job. I am so glad this local woman recognized the letter was unprofessional and that the check was a major fraud. She gave us the inside scope about her experience which really brought awareness to her and her family. We were glad to be able to cover her story because it gave the opportunity to save so many others from this ridiculous scam. It was a pleasure speaking with her in her home and now I know that people will scam any website to take advantage of others. Curtis took a great perspective in representing her story and his technique of displaying the letter and check definitely left a real touch in his package for that story. So the next time I connect to the internet I will be cognizant of the information and websites I use.

Danielle Washington – Steam Mill Road Car Accident

Car Flipped Over

There is never a dull moment when you have the job of a reporter. Curtis had just got done covering a story and then he was informed there was a car accident on Steam Mill Road.  As Curtis, his skillful photographer, and I headed to Steam Mill Road I noticed how focused he got because he wanted to make sure he would deliver the most precise news to the public. As we get there the police have the street blocked off towards the area of the accident so we parked further down and walked on the scene. As we walked up I noticed the whole neighborhood was standing outside to see what happened and also to understand what was going on. Many of the surrounding neighbors were asking us how the accident occurred and we were trying to get to the bottom of cause.

The car itself was completely flipped over and it had knocked down the street signs and also some bricks as well. We could tell that it was just a one car accident but we did not know how it flipped over. Neighbors told us they heard a very loud booming noise which caused them to run outside to see what was going on. Shortly after we arrived the ambulance took the man to the hospital and then the towing truck came to dispose of the beat up car. There is no doubt that this was a tragic accident and people on the scene said he had suffered from a broken leg and other injuries as well. This car accident was truly an unfortunate one and I was saddened to see how badly the car was flipped over.

Steam Mill Road Accident

I really couldn’t get that image out of my head but I was hoping that the young man in the accident would be alright. We got some video and pictures of the scene and then we left to get back to the station to work on both stories Curtis covered for that day. Three days later the young man that was in that car accident dies from the trauma of the accident. I know his family is devastated by their lost and I know he will truly be missed. No matter what the issue may be I have learned that as a reporter you have to hold it together even in the most tragic situations.  I applaud Curtis for always being a bulwark of news as he performs his job.

Steam Mill Rd

Danielle Washington – A Fatal Accident

Fatal Car Accident

It was a humid night when Curtis was informed about woman being in a car accident. This woman name was Martha Hardeman and we were about to unfold what actually happened to her. So once again we were on the verge of breaking news so we loaded up the live truck and we went to the scene of the accident. As we arrived on that cloudy night I could tell that this woman was in bad shape and it was later determined she had been dead for 8-10 hours. She was lying next to her car in her front driveway while police and investigators were trying to determine what caused her death. As we were attempting to discover what really happened Curtis was getting prepped to go live in a few minutes. The details were vague in the beginning because we knew she was an elderly lady who lived by herself and her car rolled over on her. Curtis had to get this news out to the public so he streamed back live with the few details he did know while we were on the scene. He definitely handled that well and eventually we got more concrete information about the woman.

I got the chance to speak with her neighbor and she told me she had arrived home at about 6:30pm when she noticed that the elderly woman’s car lights were on but she assumed she was going to turn them off. Then about an hour and a half later it was brought to her attention that her lights were still on so she decided to go walk across to check on her neighbor. Her grandkids walked with her but when she noticed a shoe in the front yard she told her grandkids to stay back. She began to walk up the driveway and that is when she found her neighbor lying there under her car, so she immediately called the police.

This was such a tragic accident and it saddened me to see this happen to someone. Neighbors said she was very nice and I found out she played the piano for her church as well. She thought her car was in park when she got out but it wasn’t and it rolled over on her. She was 73 years old and I know she will truly be missed by her family. Curtis got the chance to reveal this poignant information to the public with grace and this also makes people become more aware of their own safety while driving or parking. This story showed me that no matter what the story may be one must always keep their composure to serve as an emissary for the public and a true reporter to the people of the community.

Breaking News Curtis at Accident Scene

Danielle Washington – Arson in Uptown Columbus

arson interview

There were many incidents of Arson in the Columbus Area especially in the historic district. So as I went out in the field with Curtis we put on our investigative hats to determine the culprits of these incidents. I learned that when you are a reporter you can’t be afraid to ask questions and knock on the doors of people’s home to get the information you need. We walked up and down the bricks of the historic district to get a lead into whom or what could be the cause of all the arsons in that specific area. We saw the tangible evidence with our very own eyes and it was devastating. There were cars in ashes and also trees were caught up in this damage as well.

I also got the divine opportunity to witness how each element of a story comes together full circle. Curtis began by doing a live shot right in front of a sign that spelled out the reward for the person who could help find the culprit of the arsons in the historic area. Yet again he did it effortlessly and then we moved on to get our interviews. We happened to find a great person to interview who actually is a major part of the police force. He told us that he was gone for the weekend but his wife and young daughter were still at the house when the arsonist place fire to his wife’s vehicle and as a result that caused a raging conflagration that went  up into his trees in the front yard.

arson reward

No one was harmed but just the ideal that the child could have possibility lost its life to the fire is so hard to even imagine. We got the main ingredients for a great story and some wonderful close ups with the help of photographer Jarrod Six and I realized that as a reporter one has to be prepared to wear many hats. The last effect that Curtis added to his package was tag on the roof of WTVM and it definitely was a nice finishing touch to the Arson story.

arson tag

Danielle Washington – Hometown Hero

tommys interview

It is rare that you find a hometown hero that actually personifies what it means to be a great person. A hero that looks out for the greater good of the community and is often willing to go above and beyond to help someone out if they can. I had the privilege to meet such a man while I was interning with Curtis McCloud. This man is a local umpire for the little leagues of Columbus, Georgia and he has been dedicated to calling fair games in this town for over thirty years. He is definitely concerned with the well being of the children in this town and he has prided himself as a dependable umpire in this city. We had the opportunity to attend a special ceremony for Mr. Tommy because of all his hard work he one of the baseball fields in Britt David park named after him.

His ceremony was so lovely it was filled with his family members, close friends, coworkers, and of course the children that are in the little leagues. It was such a humbling experience to be a part of this story and I was intrigued at how Curtis connected to this man during the interview. I also learned some great pointers on how to shoot better angles when one is at an outside venue. The photographer Jarrod that went out with us is definitely has some great skills and he always captures some great footage when go out live.

The most beautiful part about this particular story was how appreciative Mr. Tommy was to receive such an accolade he was moved to tears by all the support and love shown to him. Due to his recent decline in health, Tommy was in a wheel chair because his MS had gotten worse but he did not allow that to hinder him from being at the ceremony and he acts as if he does even have the disease. He has the true spirit of a champion and I was so proud to meet him and be a part of this hometown hero’s ceremony. It makes me feel proud live in Columbus with such outstanding citizens that service the community. I realized as a reporter these can become the stories you live for because they elevate your skills in a befitting manner.

tommys fied

Danielle Washington – New Principal at Rothschild Middle School

The greater Columbus area has recently been undergoing some news changes in the Muscogee County School District. With the recent decision to close Marshall Middle School and Edgewood Elementary Schools for the 2013- 2014 school year it is clear that changes have to be made in the district. One of the changes that will be implemented is the placing of former Marshall Middle School Principal Dr. Michael Forte at Rothschild Middle School. He will lead and serve Rothschild Middle School as their new Principal. Therefore as I have the privilege to shadow Veteran Reporter Curtis McCloud I get the opportunity to learn more and more. So this particular day we had a game plan to get some information from Dr. Forte about his new position. We got on the phone with Dr. Forte and he gave us a great statement about the upcoming school year. He seemed very thrilled to be working with the students and staff of Rothschild Middle School and we were excited to jump into this story.

After we received his statement Curtis wanted to go out to the School to shoot some footage and also to get the opinions of the students and parents about Dr. Forte being a new addition to Rothschild. As we arrived at the school we were in search for students or parents that would be happy to share their opinions about the new leadership for the upcoming school year. We began to look and parents and students had left for the day however, Curtis did not let that discourage him. We decided to drive around the neighborhood to see if we could discover someone else to be a part of our story. As we circled the block we came across a woman in her yard and we inquired about her opinion on the situation and she was willing to be interviewed.

I thought it was amazing how Curtis just continued to search for a viable person for the interview because one must always deliver a full package. This woman was actually the aunt of a student that attends Rothschild and she had great insight into the new position because she actually worked in the school system as well. Her perspective provided the truth because she mentioned that the kids would have to get used to Dr. Forte before any major changes in the school would take place. She also told us that she thinks it will be a good thing for the school.

After we left her house we ventured back to Rothschild to shoot a live shot right in front of the school. This is always the fun part of the story to me because a reporter gets the opportunity to place their own spin into their story. I also got to shoot a live shot in front of Rothschild Middle School and it was definitely a great experience. I truly believe that this story was informative because it allowed the community to understand other changes that have been made in the School District. I know that Rothschild will have a successful school year and once again Curtis was able to interpret a package through his own creative lens that reached out to the viewers. I am really learning a great deal from him.

Rothschild ParentRothschild Live shot 2Live ShotCurtis Live Shot at Rothschild

Danielle Washington – Behind the Scenes

Production!! Production!! Production!! It can be real fast pace behind the scenes and I was thrilled to watch how a show comes together. After an interesting day of reporting with Curtis he gave me an assignment. This assignment was to sit in with the producers of the shows to fully understand how a show functions. The producer’s job is definitely a handful because they have to manage the scripts and control every minute of the show. As I sat back with Jessica who is one of the producers at Wtvm she really showed me the ropes of producing. There are many parts that go along with getting news broadcasts to the viewers and I was so happy to be able to learn about this intricate process.

Jessica gives cues to the anchors and she also tells them of any changes that need to be made in the show. So one must always run a tight ship in order to make sure a show goes smoothly. The anchors also have to be well prepared and familiar with the news they are presenting on air because there is no room for error when going live. I was amazed as I sat in the control room and watched the news from a completely different perspective. It was truly eye opening to watch the transitioning from the green screen to the live shots and I loved every minute of it.

The production team is so wonderful and I gained a greater respect for producers because their task is a very important part of the news cast because they develop the topics that are major issues in the world and community. They also have to be prepared to rearrange shows due to breaking news or to a great story that a reporter wants to cover that will impact the community. Just to sit in the control room I realized that Wtvm operates in strong team work. I also realized that all the elements from behind the scenes producing to anchoring fits together perfectly to render Wtvm as the number one TV station in Columbus Georgia.

Production jessica Control Room Behind the Scenes

Danielle Washington – Breaking News

After an amazing day with the coverage of the Miracle Riders we arrive back at the station to begin editing this great story. So Dante begins to demonstrate his expertise on how he edits stories which gives me some good insight on how to edit and focus on the key components of a package. As we are discussing these details he begins to compartmentalize the sound bites he wants to include and what B roll to insert into his story. It was such an honor to be a part of this story that touched the lives of so many people. Then all of a sudden at about 10:30 pm that night we were informed that there was a blazing fire at 3rd Avenue and Railroad Street.

So we immediately rushed to the fire to report this breaking news, as we got there it was tricky trying to find a place to park and for the live truck to set up as well. However, as we drove around the area we discovered a proximity that allowed us to settle in so we could report the breaking news of the fire. Dante was very diligent as he prowled through the bushes to get a good angle of the fire. The police were very particular about how close people could be to the fire so they kept directing us to move back further. Dante being the savvy reporter he is found a way to capture the fire within the limitations of the police instructions.

The conflagration of the abandoned warehouse was spread everywhere and we were attempting to figure out how it started. However, the most important part was whether anybody was in the warehouse or not. As it came to be discovered no one was in the building as it took ablaze but we did not know how it started. As I got to observe how quickly breaking news occurs it showed me another element of the business that I really admire. I really appreciate the hard work of the people that report the news and also the photographers as well. The photographers actually have to go through the process of setting up live in a timely fashion to ensure the live shot is on TV by the time the newscast rolls around. This is so much pressure and I salute all the photographers at Wtvm because they do an outstanding job every day.

As the fire was being put out I got the opportunity to ride over to the closet bridge and take pictures of the fire because Dante needed extra footage for his story. The fire finally was put out and then Dante went live right in the heart of the action. So my first opportunity to go live was definitely an interesting event that affected the downtown area and it taught me to always be ready for anything to happen when you’re a reporter. That day was eventful from the Miracle Riders coverage to the warehouse fire it was obvious that Wtvm truly embodies its promise of delivering “news you can count on.”

3rd and Railroad Fire Fire Warehouse Fire

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