I have always liked watching the news—local, national and world. When I was young, I was convinced that I needed to be on the news. I even made a couple of cameo experiences in local television during local festival remote weather reports in my younger days. Early on, my dad repurposed a plastic, toy table into a news desk when I was young, and between the ages of three and four, I think I sat there informing the family dog on the events around the house more often than when she wanted to hear.
Around the age of 10, I started watching CNN for hours and hours at a time. I especially enjoyed watching what was going on behind the anchors; this was when CNN was still headquartered in Atlanta and showed their newsroom as their backdrop. Reporters, producers and others were always rushing about working on important things, or at least they seemed important to me.
Close to that same time, I had the opportunity to visit a local TV station with my Boy Scouts troop. We watched a live newscast and toured the weather center and newsroom. The flashing TV screens, the big green wall, the people researching stories—it was so cool.
When I was in middle and high school, I started paying attention to the weather quite a bit. I wouldn’t miss hearing the weather on the radio or seeing the current conditions during the local news. I scheduled all of my other television viewing around what time the local news was on. I didn’t care if I had seen the same stories three times earlier in the day, I watched them again, and I really paid attention that forecast.
Despite family vacations, I started to follow local news in the places we would visit. I still regularly pay attention to the Colorado Front Range news from Denver, Colorado. Channel 9, KUSA in Denver, is one of my favorite local news operations. They have to cover a diverse, wide and densely-populated area—almost the entire state of Colorado. The standard to which they hold their broadcasts—in content and presentation—is high. I have rarely seen a newscast or general operation go better than what I see out of that station. The entire market is really very good. Compared to what I see locally, I wish we had that style of operation in Evansville. I know that’s not possible with the market being smaller and the desire for personalities to make their mark in larger markets.
Another medium of which I pay close attention is public broadcasting, specifically on the radio. I have admired the way NPR reports the news for a long time. The reading of news on the radio, or the internet, especially with the growth of podcasting, requires the audience to listen closely, to become an active part of the experience of listening and gaining knowledge and understanding from a reporter. The voice from the radio has to show, not just tell what is happening. There’s a finesse that radio journalists, especially those in the public radio realm possess. I wouldn’t mind doing that for a living.
Today, I interact regularly with the news. I use social media—mainly Facebook and Twitter—to ask questions and give feedback to our local newspaper reporters, television reporters and anchors, weather and sports anchors, as well as local radio newsreaders. I have developed some neat online relationships with these people. I am thankful that we have these people. I have not conversed online with one local personality whom I would not trust or rely on.
Telling stories and finding answers comes naturally to me. I love getting to know people and understand why things happen. Making what is complicated easier to understand gives me a feeling of accomplishment. That was one of the things I really enjoyed as a teacher—showing, not telling, and seeing the realization in a student’s mind when he or she finally sees the big picture.
It has been a long time coming for me, trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. I think journalism may allow me to fulfill this dream that’s been brewing since I first sat at that toy table and told the dog what was happening in the kitchen one morning.