I cover a lot of sad stories. I've never cried on live TV, but I have come close. And those have always been stories about children caught in the crossfire of violence. But this story brought tears to my eyes because of happiness. Sure, it comes from a sad story, but it's now one of resilience and faith.
I am not a religious person. I don't really talk about religion and I don't plan to get into that now, but I am a big believer in faith. The power of faith can do incredible things. Whether it's faith in your religion, faith in something bigger than you, or faith in yourself. It's a powerful thing. Yesterday I got to see that power in action.
In June, a 7-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by shooting. Her mother, father and uncle were shot as well. They all died. She was declared dead, but she started improving. Four months later I watched that little girl walk, talk and most importantly smile. Of course much is that is due to the incredible medical care she received from Children's Hospital, but I also believe much credit is due to her family, church and the little girl herself who never gave up.
I don't always get to share stories that make me cry tears of happiness, but this was one of them, and it's a story, and a family, and a belief in the something bigger that will stay with me long after the newscast. I hope this inspires you to start your week with a little George Michael quote, you've gotta have faith.
Today marks Day 11 of protests in St. Louis. Unless you really have been living under a rock, you’re aware that our city is once again under the spotlight after a white police officer killed a black man and was found not guilty. It’s been a tiring week for many – for those beyond frustrated with a legal system they do not feel will bring justice, for police officers working 12 hour shifts and for those of us in the newsroom who are doing are best to bring the most accurate coverage of everything happening on the streets of St. Louis.
The majority of the protests in our city have been peaceful. Disruptive, but peaceful. But some nights have turned violent. Windows have been shattered, officers have been hit with bricks, our crews have been threatened at gun point, spit on and called every name in the book. But we are committed to being on the ground, showing the viewer what’s happening.
Many people have said “just stop covering the protest, they’ll go away.” Well sorry to break it to you but that is simply not true. Whether our local news cameras are recording or not, someone is. Livestreamers, citizen journalists and anyone with a phone will continue to record what’s going on. But we as professional journalists believe we need to document and record and work to provide context. You may not agree with what you’re seeing on the TV – whether it’s police allowing protesters in the street or maybe you don’t like how police are wearing riot gear – but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And I believe we as journalists owe it to our community to bring them information.
Sometimes that information changes, and in breaking news situations things are happening fast. We do our best to only state facts, what we personally witness or what we are given from officials. But officials get it wrong too. I’ve had more hate emails, tweets and nasty Facebook comments than I can count. And they’re coming from “both sides.” Which in my opinion usually means I’m telling it down the middle... But I’ve also had strangers stop me at the grocery store, at the park, and on the street to thank me, and my coworkers for bringing them the coverage. Again they may not agree with it all, but those kind words, and their concerns for our safety mean a whole lot.
So thank you to the viewers, to those following along on Twitter, and for my mom’s friends who text her about my live shots. We do this for you. And I’ll end on this: Instead of typing something mean or hateful on Facebook, or making a judgment, try to make conversation instead. Real conversation. Ask a protester why they’re out there. Ask a police officer why they serve despite a tense climate. You just might learn something.
Here’s a look at some of my coverage throughout the last week of protest.
Usually I am the one asking the questions during an interview, so it always feels weird when the roles are reversed. But it was a treat to sit down for an interview with one of my neighbors, Nicki who writes a fantastic blog about life in the Central West End. We met for coffee and conversation at Silo Coffee + Goods in the TechArtista building in the CWE. I've met Nicki several times at different events throughout the last year, but this was a great way to get to know her as she got to know me.
We talked about everything from my typical day (spoiler, there is no typical day) to my views on growth in St. Louis to my favorite parts about living in the city. Its always fun to talk about my job to people because a lot of people have a very different idea of what I do as a TV reporter (spoiler, its not glamorous, no one is doing my hair and make-up). So its nice to let people know what actually goes into making a story appear on the 10:00 news every night.
Here's a little preview, and a question I get asked all the time - do I ever want to be an anchor?
Do you aspire to become an anchor one day?
“I’m happy in the field. The favorite part of my day is getting out and meeting people and sharing news with others. There is also the adrenaline rush of covering breaking news that I would really miss.
Head on over to Nicki's blog and read the full interview. While you're there, check out some of her other great posts about our wonderful neighborhood!
Does anyone remember the girl band B*Witched? They had that hit song "Blame it on the Weatherman," can't remember? Do yourself a favor and relive the 90s and watch it here. But when we're not talking unrequited love, it's not as easy to just blame the weather on the weather man. We were in Storm Mode all weekend at KMOV, along with the rest of St. Louis. There was a threat of a major ice storm that essentially shut down a good portion of the state for 36 hours.
In the end it did not get as bad as predicted. But all it would have taken was a degree or two of difference. I am not a meteorologist, heck, I was absolutely terribly at science in school, but I trust our meteorologist who study those models and do their best to predict the unpredictable. Its frustrating sometimes to see them getting hated on all the time. But part of our job in TV is to take the criticism along with the praise, although there recently seems to be much more of the former...
Storm coverage is always a crazy day. Whether it's an ice storm or a tornado, it's always hectic, you have to be ready to drop what your doing (mid-interview even!) and switch gears. There's an adrenaline rush that sticks with you through out the day that helps make you forget you haven't drank any water and all you've eaten in nine hours was a smashed peanut butter sandwiched. But weather coverage remains the number one reason people turn to local news. Local reporters and local meteorologists know the area, I can tell you that the overpass onto 170 is iced over or that you should head to a different Schnucks because the one in South County is completely sold out of bread. (I did no less then five live shots from the bread aisle during last week's storm). You're iPhone weather app or even the national Weather Channel is never going to be able to give pin-pointed info for traveling your specific neighborhood in a storm.
Here are my lessons learned during storm coverage:
Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day life of a TV news reporter. I have a love for food, traveling and all things St. Louis. This is a place for me to write a bit more about my passions.