Sunday, September 27, 2009

Schooled, Biden-Style

"Your dopes just got schooled, Biden-style!"

As you may have heard, three weeks ago, it started raining and it didn't stop for 15 days.

Photos Courtesy AJC.

Thankfully, my home wasn't affected and I didn't work Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday during the major hoopla. But, Thursday morning, I was reminded of what it's like to be in a newsroom during a major local breaking story. It seems, that in order to avoid the appearance of national government neglecting a state during a natural disaster, Vice President Joe Biden decided to come to town and have a look-see. He was in town for maybe 4 house, first taking a helicopter flight with CNN over some of the damage and then poppping down the the Cobb Civic Center, a makeshift shelter for those who have lost their homes, to make a little speech, where he compared our situation to Katrina (?) and then personally reassure about three people, from what I could tell watching it on a live feed, that the federal government would come through for them in their time of need, though not any time soon. Seriously. That's what he told them.

Naturally, he decided to start his speech around 11:30am. That's thirty minutes before noon, for those of you who are bad at math. And what happens at noon? The noon newscast, of course! So, that gave us half an hour to listen to his speech, pick out the highlights, write a little script about it, edit it and get it on-air for the lead story. Chaos ensued, which resulted in a reporter in the field and the anchor talking back and forth stretching while we tried to get something cued up for them to toss to. It didn't happen. There was a "technical error" and we had to come back to it in the next block. Instead, they decided to do an additional hit with another reporter who was in the flood area. Naturally, since water runs downhill, this is a low area and therefore had to be a satellite shot rather than a microwave shot. And the thing about satellite shots is that you have to book a window on the satellite and that's expensive, so you only book for the time that you need for the reporter to do their scheduled hit. So, when they decide to go back to the reporter, to fill time, there is about 30 seconds left in the sat window. EXTEND THE WINDOW!

Essentially, it was a half hour of total chaos. I had expected myself to completely spazz out the first time I was in a situation like this, not having worked in news for a couple of years, but, thankfully, I found that I still have nerves of steel.