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

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.

marshall edge curt

School board The board angry parent

Danielle Washington – WTVM NEWSLEADER 9 INTERN

There are so many great opportunities that the Communication Department of Columbus State University offers to their students. I truly believe that interning is the best opportunity students can take advantage of because it allows the students to gain real experience in a positive environment. I am very honored to be an intern at WTVM which is the number one Newsleader of Columbus, Georgia. I also have the privilege of shadowing Veteran Reporter Curtis McCloud during the course of my internship. Curtis McCloud is definitely a virtuoso of reporting and the broadcasting arena as well. As I have began to become a part of the team for the course of the summer, I realize that there is never a dull moment in the newsroom. Because there is always a story to cover or research to be conducted in order to present information to the public.

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For example, everyday the team meets to discuss the what is going on in the local area and in the world. These meetings are vital because it informs every one of their positions and topics in the broadcasting of the news later that day. After the meeting is concluded, then the real fun begins. Last week Curtis and I got to go live at a stand-off on Victory Drive where a man held a woman hostage and threatened to kill her. He was running away from a few misdemeanors in Macon and he also missed his probation and he decided to flee to Motel 6 on Victory Drive. He later released the woman and then requested for his wife to come see him or he would resort to killing himself. So about an hour later his wife showed up and they talked for quite some time and then he finally came out with his hands up surrendering himself over to the Columbus Police Department. The most pivotal thing I took from this situation is that when you are reporting, you must be prepared for the worst.

Reporting Live

We could not tape from the crime scene of course, but just imagine standing in the medium of Victory Drive with the sweltering heat beaming down trying to get information from the police department. It was very intense and then later Curtis McCloud was the only reporter there who went live at 5 during all the commotion of running back and forth in the middle of a busy four lane street. After that occurred we rushed back over to get a statement from Columbus Police Chief and I got the opportunity to actually tape his statement which was such an exciting experience. This story stirred up a lot of attention in the Columbus Area and I felt proud to have been behind the scenes to see how it all unfolds in the world of a reporter.

Following that we went back to the station and I got to observe Curtis compile a package together for this particular story. This is one of my favorite things to watch because that is the time in which a reporter has unfettered freedom to project a story in a creative way. WTVM uses a system called ENPS which allows them to present the information to the public via newscast for the shows that are aired live. ENPS is an editing system that allows one to maneuver footage and sound in a way that becomes the stories and coverage viewers watch daily. I have began to learn how to use this system and I must say it is a great tool to have. I really am enjoying every moment at WTVM and to be under such wonderful tutelage is definitely showing me the important things I need to know about the business.