Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oh the insanity!!

(This is for you, Mommy and Daddy, since you missed my daily reports... xo)

Yesterday I had one of those crazy, illogical days that happen entirely too often in the news biz. My reporter and I have been working on a sweeps piece about... oh wait. I shouldn't say since it won't air until Monday. Let's just say it has something to do with famous hamburgers.

But that’s not really part of yesterday’s craziness.

The craziness came from getting redirected all over the Southland. Technically, I'm based in the Orange County bureau for NBC News-Los Angeles, but because we’re short staffed, one of the two photogs based in OC is pulled from the county daily. Yesterday, I got the OC shift and my reporter and I were given the day to finish up the sweeps piece. Just as we wrapped our last interview, I got a MAYDAY call from the assignment desk. They needed me for a Dia de los Muertos shoot and live shot from... Koreatown--Koreatown? Really? Wouldn't, like, Olvera Street make more sense?

Anyway, if you’re not familiar with L.A., Koreatown is about 35 miles north of the OC, but 35 miles in L.A. traffic can sometimes take up to two hours. I made it in just over an hour.  As soon as I’d finished shooting the story and was about to edit (happy with the very pretty, colorful pictures of the Day of the Dead altar) the desk called with another MAYDAY. There’d been a situation at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station south of San Clemente—like 70 miles south from where I was. Seriously??? The call came at four o’clock; they wanted us live at six. Not a stinking chance, I told them, but they said go anyway. Here's my path yesterday, with "A" being my base station in OC.

SO… I hit the road again, passed back through Orange County and headed to the northern tip of San Diego county… for what? A small ammonia spill in a non-nuclear part of the facility. A total NON-emergency. And no, I didn’t make it in time for the six o’clock news. 
Part of the reason news agencies have bureaus is because in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, it takes too darn long to get anywhere. By having bureaus, you can make sure there’s always a crew in proximity. By pulling both crews out of OC, it left my reporter with no crew and a breaking story.

But here’s the deal: there’s no sense getting mad about it. Right away when the MAYDAY call comes, the blood starts pumping and the first impulse is to yell, are you crazy??

But you've just gotta take a deep breath, and go with it. It's part of the job. And part of what I love is the day-to-day variance, so...

The silver lining... got to see sunset over San Onofre State Beach. All in a day's work. Whew.

Today? A follow up on the confusion about the nuclear alert system in the community. There shouldn't have been so much hubbub over a small incident, and it came down to a lack of uniformity in the alert numbering system.

Tomorrow, we're supposed to get the day to finish the top secret sweeps piece, which might involve having to buy a hamburger and fries to shoot. And of course, it can't be wasted, right?

But who knows what the day will really hold.

Until tomorrow....

Later gators!

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