Fridays can sometimes be fairly slow news days, but today must have been a fluke. Many of the reporters had scheduled vacation, which I assume is due to the upcoming 4th of July holiday.
Today I worked with government reporter Chris Heinbaugh, who was shifted to cover another reporter’s beat. Chris was assigned to the Fort Worth newsroom while those reporters were covering the ongoing flooding.
We headed out to Fort Worth, which was yet another reason I am still astonished by WFAA’s resources. Between the Main Studios, Victory Park Studios, the Forth Worth newsroom, and the Collin County Bureau, Channel 8 is ready to cover news when and where it happens. Just like their Dallas newsroom, the Fort Worth team seems to operate in a close-knit work environment.Tim Auman, a photographer who has been with Channel 8 since the 1970s, has some interesting stories of his experiences. I enjoyed spending time working with someone so highly regarded by his peers.
We were unsure whether Chris’ story would pan out today. After talking to a man who claims the city is making illegal changes to zoning areas, we realized the story was not what we initially thought. Back to the drawing board! Researching all of his claims would be too time consuming to turn around in one day.
We then drove to nearby Flower Mound to cover the news of a case of West Nile virus discovered in a neighborhood. Heavy rain recently is fueling the growth of the mosquito population and the county is planning to begin spraying efforts immediately.
North Texans are not used to dealing with stagnant water, considering summers are normally obscenely hot and dry.
While Chris wrote the story, I helped photographer Tim with setting up his shots for the VOSOT. Just as we were about to go live during a newscast, the bottom fell out. Lightning, pounding rain and a slight breeze made a routine live shot anything but.
I held an umbrella over Tim and the camera equipment, as Chris was soaked by the downpour. I held my clear plastic poncho over the TV monitor as we waited for the cue from a producer at the station.
This summer has taught me one important lesson — no matter how much you plan for something, things will find a way to astray. Murphy’s Law 101. Despite the unexpected obstacles, we pulled off a good intro and tag, then packed up to head back to Dallas.
On the ride home, I had a very good conversation with Chris about contracts, landing my first job, as well as adjusting to the sometimes stressful life as a reporter. He had useful advice on everything from eating right, to exercising, and picking places to live.