Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Make My Living Off The Evening News (At Least For Two More Days)

Every girl has her own brush with gossip in grade school.

Some girls are the ones who spin - the loudmouths who disseminate the news of 7th Grade. You know: who's kissing who, who's failing which class. Who's suspended and why.

Other girls are the subjects of the spinning - the victims of sometimes falsified, sensational information. Those little nuggets of knowledge sometimes get stretched and trumped up for the sake of selling a good story, leading crowds of pimply, brace-faced teens to crucify an unsuspecting (and sometimes innocent) victim.

I had my own encounter with idle gossip in junior high, and it firmly planted in me a desire to work in broadcast news.

After that painful encounter, I wanted to be a purveyor of news- I wanted to be a source of credible, accurate information that was important and relevant to others.

I wanted to tell stories that mattered - because they were the truth.

18 years later, I still feel my heart racing after receiving word of a good story.

I literally jumped up out of my seat and cranked up the volume on my old antenna TV set Sunday evening. One of our anchors broke in to a heated March Madness game to report the discovery of the remains of Staff Sergeant Matt Maupin, a Tri-State soldier who had been missing in Iraq for almost four years. My jaw dropped at the shocking development that many wondered would ever happen.

Monday night the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up after catching wind that a beloved legend at my alma mater had passed away - just streets away from my newsroom. Other folks in the newsroom failed to immediately grasp the importance of Bill Keightley - but I knew the Big Blue Nation on the other side of the Ohio River would collectively weep over the loss of such a monumental figure.

This morning my eyes fixed on the television to learn a young man had admitted to killing his parents in their Northern Kentucky home more than four months ago. It was a mystery that previously police had no answers for, a suspicious crime that bewildered neighbors at the local barber shop and lunch counter.

My heart still races when I'm the first to hear a hot news tip.

It's not always good news in the sense the stories are sometimes unhappy, sometimes gory and sometimes emotionally dramatic.

The local news business is a glorified form of gossip - we look for opportunities to spread credible, accurate information that people care about. We ask ourselves, "What are people talking about?"

We dig for sensational stories that will suck viewers in after Master Control rolls the show open.

I'm going to miss that aspect of the business, and that makes me feel a little dirty inside.


Chris F. said...

Kate, here's wishing you well on your latest endeavors. Denae is moving off to Oregon; you are practically starting a new career; a upcoming high school graduate that I know from covering football games while working at a newspaper sometime back landed a job at the Grand Ole Opry.

Another friend's son will be celebrating his 2nd birthday this month, my cousin is coming off the heels of an ugly divorce, but is cautiously optimistic about the future, and too many other tales
to tell.

I've prayed for lots of people over the past few years and I've coming to really understand now that praying isn't about the well-being of yourself, but others. I do however have several prayer requests for anyone who wants to hear them:

the start of a new career either in pro football or music

visit a friend who I've not seen in person in about seven years. She is originally from Indiana, but now lives in New Mexico.

To find whatever has become of a secret high school crush that I didn't take out to the prom or date because of my shyness.

I've posted more on my blog:


NB-C said...

If it makes you feel any better I still get all hot and bothered over a great story (good or bad) and I've been out of the business for four years.

It'll take a while, but you'll soon miss it less and less. Plus, you can always go back...a great producer is always in high demand.