Thursday, May 21, 2009

The DC Trip.

Let's see how much I can get done quickly, because I really need to get ready for work. Fair warning. I'm going to write for ten minutes (or so) and let you see some shots from my DC trip, but I'm going to have to cut it short and will have to come back later today to finish the tale.

Really, this trip deserves more words than I have time to wring out of my travel addled brain, but I figure you hang out here to see what I'm up to, so the least I can do is bombard you with pictures when I have the opportunity.


That being said, this week's totally unexpected out of town trip to Washington DC was a heck of an opportunity. This was my third visit to DC (my second for my job) and one of the toughest road trips I've ever had to make.

I'm not complaining (we know how much good that'll do), I'm just saying.

The picture above is in the White House Rose Garden. I've seen press conferences from the Rose Garden on TV, but the feeling was incredibly surreal to actually be there in person.

I also found myself hanging out in the Press Room where Hilary Clinton made an appearance. That was cool, but just completely mind blowing that she wasn't even the story we were there to cover.

Even Obama only made a brief appearance in the package we cut for the newscast. Barack (freaking) Obama, the Preident of these United States was not the top story.

Nope. Our reason for flying across the country (other than being obviously "sweeps" related) was to follow our own State of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as he did his best to cut and run from the predicted results of the voting done on Tuesday.

Right after Obama had his press briefing in the White House Rose Garden, Arnold held his own appearance in the driveway near the White House Press Room.


Darn. Got to cut it short, folks. I hate to say it, but, well, "I'll be back."

There. I'm back.

Yesterday didn't seem like it was going to be difficult, but I found myself getting home late in the evening after being on SNG duty in Faria (between Ventura and Santa Barbara on the coast) on the story of a triple murder.

I'm not sure, but it sort of puts the big trip to DC into a weird perspective. So sad. Well, I'm back. Let me finish telling you about the trip.

We were all over the White House press room. I even bumped into Helen Thomas. That was a rock star moment for anyone with even a passing interest in journalism. I was on my way to buy a couple of bottles of water from the White House Press Room vending machine ($2.00 each) and she was just sitting at a small desk next to the window there. I introduced myself and asked if she'd mind if I took her picture. She didn't mind and I quickly snapped a couple of shots.

Having a camera sometimes saves me from the embarrassment of asking for an autograph.

If I wasn't so pressed for time, I'm sure I would have tried to get her to do a "jump shot" photo for me. That'd been cool.

Uncool was later in the day how much it took to get us into this Congressman's office. We were under the gun to get reactions to Arnold's appearances and press conference.

I'm completely traumatized by the DC automobile parking situation. All my overtime money is going towards couch time with a good therapist.

We were trying to put together the elements for a package to run in the 10pm and 11pm newscasts and we still had to get back to the White House to do 4pm and 5pm liveshots. Try to keep in mind that we were still on the clock from 4:30pm the previous day.

It was about 3:00pm West coast time. We inhaled a burger from McDonalds then got stuck on the street outside of the White House because of a security lock down. These things happen when important people are on the move. Might have been President Obama or the First Family, but I don't know exactly who was coming or going from the White House.

They couldn't tell us for security reasons. We sat for twenty minutes waiting for the lock down to finish. Worried the whole time that we weren't going to make the live shot, but I think it was too many hours on the go at that point for us to have the energy to freak out about it.

It was either going to happen or it wasn't.

We finally got in.

Two live shots later and we were back at the hotel where we were able to actually check in and get the equipment set up in order to edit.

The hotel was a stylish place a block away from the Capitol.

I made good use of the flat screen TV in the room, incorporating it into the on-the-road edit suite.

Dinner was room service while we cut the package (ahhh, TAPE!) for the later shows. I actually nodded off for a couple of minutes in the time while Dave Bryan logged and wrote the package, but after 28 hours on the clock, I wouldn't call that rest.

I had spinach raviolli and Dave had roasted chicken for dinner. Dessert was chocolate pecan pie with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The meal cost $375.00 not including the tip.

Just kidding. The tip was included.

I'm jumping forward because we made the 10pm and 11pm live shots with no problem. The CBS Newspath office is arund the corner from the hotel where we were staying, so we walked the tape over, fed it back to our station and Dave did the two live shots.

I finally clocked out at 11:30pm. Thirty hours continuous duty. You can say, ka-ching if you want, but I'd still rather have gotten some real sleep somewhere in there.

A little over five hours later, I was up and we hit the ground running. I packed away what I could and tried to orgnanize the gear for a quick get away. We had a press conference with Arnold to cover and would have to chase down reactions from elected officials, edit a piece for a noon (West Coast) live shot, check out of the hotel and make it to the airport (Dulles) for our flight out.

Arnold spoke.

We ran and got our needed sound bites.

We cut a piece and did the live shots.


No time for sightseeing, except what we could see from the rental car as we drove likes bats out of, well, Washington. I dropped Dave Bryan and the gear off curbside, then returned the rental car. We cut it close. Dave was in his seat on the plane while I was in line to get through security.

I know this because he called me on his cell phone with updates.

He'd also gotten me a turkey sandwich.

The Dulles airport security line extends from one end to almost the complete length of the terminal. At one point I was last in line and I thought I wouldn't make it. Remember I said, Dave had gotten me a sandwich?

There was no way that sandwich was leaving DC without me.

I actually made the flight with maybe 10 minutes to spare.

Yay, me.

Yay, Dave (for a great trip and everything, but especially for the sandwich).

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SidDawgone said...

I just want to make sure that you know that you are appreciated, especially knowing what kind of effort it takes to make your world tick. I appreciate the news coverage as a SoCalian (so calite? so calico?) any way, for the news AND for the blogs. Thanks Bryan!

Wes Barrett--Hearst-Argyle DC said...

Bryan, it's interesting to see the "outsider perspective" on our DC news media scene. As a friend of Lenslinger and a fan of your blog, I wish I had known you were at the White House on Thursday...I was there Wednesday and Friday. I would have loved to introduce myself to say hello. Great posts as always!