Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Day I Missed Working in TV: A Tribute to The List

Ever since I started working on "the other side of the camera," I'm regularly asked if I miss working in television. The immediate answer is, "No, not really." I actually still go on air regularly, plus I shoot video, edit and write, which I always enjoyed. I work so much with media that it satisfies my need for urgency/immediacy, plus working for a non-profit organization that helps animals is extremely fulfilling. Although my job is not perfect and I go through phases where I complain a lot (*ahem* gala fundraiser prep time *cough cough*), I'm aware that I'm blessed in my current career, and that not all former newspeople have the luxury of such a satisfying transitional career. One news mentor of mine got out of the biz for many years, and ironically recently began working again at the same station where she used to be the main anchor. She calls non-news careers "trying to work a civilian job." I don't presume that we former newsies are even close to military, but I do think working in news makes your mind work in ways it would not otherwise... and if you leave television before you're fully ready, it will leave you wishing you had stayed in (no matter what negative circumstances you are dealing with in your dysfunctional newsroom -- because what newsroom runs without a little dysfunction?).
Back in the day!

That same mentor made me fully realize and admit to myself that one day, there is a likelihood I will again work in television. Why? Even though she and I had both been out of news for a while, we still talked about TV all the time. It was a common passion between us-- a language we both spoke fluently, and a binding interest. Every time I visit my hometown, I watch my former coworkers on the air. When I visit San Francisco, I'm watching the local NBC affiliate, reminiscing about the day I job-shadowed the morning team. I love watching Miami news, fantasizing that I, too, could be on the air with the rest of the divas, with my long hair extensions blowing in the ocean breeze. ;)

The one and only time since I left WPTV NewsChannel 5 that I have missed working in television came not too long ago. It was a moment I was watching my favorite news magazine show, which actually airs on WPTV. The show is called The List, and the South Florida segment began airing. As soon as I watched reporter (and my former coworker) Dan Corcoran bite into a gourmet grilled cheese sandwhich for a standup, I had a startling revelation: if that were my job, it could have been me getting paid to eat grilled cheese sandwhiches on TV! And I admit that I felt a pang of envy that Dan and the other bureau team members, Bureau Chief Andy Delancey and Photographer Amanda Crane (as well as former South Florida and current Denver Reporter Ashley Porter) had such AMAZING television jobs. 

They get to have unique experiences, review cutting edge gadgets and interview celebrities... They even let me tag along a few times for cool stuff like interviewing the lead singer of Jefferson Starship
With David Freiberg

Of course, I was always grateful that they put the Zoo where I work on air a million times...
Dan at the Zoo filming ladybugs

The show is community info-tainment, and it is pretty much a dream job I would love to have. I'm not a hard-hitting investigative type of journalist, but I would have investigated just how melted that grilled cheese really was!

So I was happy to spend time with Andy, Dan and Amanda as they came to the Zoo to film a ladybug release to promote our upcoming weekend activities. The shoot went off without a hitch, but they had to leave quickly because they had a corporate phone call scheduled immediately afterwards.

Then, the bombshell -- Andy texted me that the corporate phone call was to tell them their local segment is being CANCELLED. The bureau is shutting down. This devastating news hurt me on multiple levels. First and foremost, I'm a fan of the show. As a viewer, I get a kick out of the easy-breezy, fun and funky format. Secondly, on a professional level, I will definitely miss the regular coverage they were so kind to provide the Zoo. They could do more creative angles of our events and Zoo news like no other.

Lastly, and more importantly, these affected employees are my friends. Nobody cracks Baptist church jokes with me like Andy does, and he is one of my most supportive friends, always there for me. Amanda won a special place in my heart back in our news days, when she drove an hour at top speed to deliver to me some legal documents outside the Okeechobee courthouse. She brought the papers JUST so I could hold them up on air and refer to the lawsuit for an active liveshot. She was shaking when she got out of the car from that nerve-wrecking drive! She is one legit photog. As for Dan, my husband (who is also a former TV reporter) and I both agreed even when we were new to this market that he is so good, he belongs on CNN. All three of these journalists are skilled, talented and dedicated-- and as my friends, it pains me to see them lose jobs they love through no fault of their own.

Whether they go the way I did and stay out of television (for now), or whether they will find other news jobs in this market or other cities, only time will tell. But my true wish for each of them is that their next careers will be just as great as the adventure they have been on ever since The List began... And that they never miss what they had by even one day, because their new roles will be that much more wonderful. Y'all are on MY List! 


  1. Sounds you have made wonderful friends, and are happy in your current career! I always wondered what would happen if I left TV...would I go back? Only time will nice to read more about you!

    1. Thank you for the kind words-- I am indeed enjoying my current job, but of course it gives me my "tv fix" (although my need for that is surprisingly minimal, LOL). You do so well on air, I hope you don't leave any time soon. :)