Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shark.

It was last Friday morning, I had just dragged myself out of bed. The phone was hiding somewhere and I needed to find it to call in sick. How sick was I? Not very. Maybe not at all, but I felt like I needed to burn a sick day just to catch up and get my head straight.

I found the phone when it started ringing. It was the Iron Chief and he wanted to know how soon I could come in.

Dang.



Crews were already headed towards Solano Beach and we needed a satellite truck down there to put our reporters on TV for the noon show. It was 8:45am and I don't think anyone could really see that happening, but we worked out the best plan we could to try and pull a rabbit out.



While I pulled myself together, the Chief had the SNG unit brought down to my house. That saved us a lot of time.

After a quick load-in of my personal and overnight gear (you never know), I hit the road South.



That was the beginning of a long day. The longest workday I've had in a while.

As we expected, I got there too late for the noon shots. Not real late, just minutes too late to set up for a hit at 12:25pm. Our reporter was able to get on TV through the San Diego affiliate and I set up for the shots scheduled for 2:00pm and beyond.



The truck I was operating is a dual path truck. Without the technical mumbo-jumbo, that means we can send two separate signals out at the same time.

That's a good thing. My first actual liveshot of the day had two reporters needing to be on TV at nearly the same time. Reporter Dave Lopez was on one path and Suzi Suh was on the second.



I've seen operations at big stories where there are eight paths out. What we do is pretty simple compared to that, but still a pretty complicated juggling act for us. Well, not really for me. I've got a pretty good track record of putting people on TV when they need to be and I really know how to run our SNG trucks.

It's not very nice of me, but I really kind of dig it when everything is working right and I can tell the people who are easily freaked out to just. . .calm. . .down.



With everything we're going through to get our jobs done, no matter what people might think, we're still aware of the tragedy that others closer to the story are suffering.

Friends and family of the man killed in the shark attack were in the area all day. At one point near sundown, they gathered out on the beach.



Together they watched the setting sun. Some left flowers and others wrote "goodbye" in the sand.

Unexpectedly, I had to get my camera and sticks (tripod) and shoot the scene along with the other crews still on the story. There are more difficult moments in what we do, but there aren't many more difficult moments in life. I can only hope we didn't add to the grief.

The gentle surf and the setting sun seemed to be a very appropriate close to a tragic day. The friends and family left the beach. We had to stay and finish off our remaining newscasts.

Live at 10:00pm and 11:00pm, then a long lonely drive home.
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