Two minutes into my first morning meeting at WKRN and I knew this was going to be a different experience. I was the only one in the room wearing a coat and tie. 10 minutes later, my tie was in my coat pocket.
The morning news meeting was similar to morning news meetings at other stations where I’ve worked, with one big exception. Reporters were treated like grownups.
We went around the newsroom asking for story ideas and everyone brought something to the table. When someone pitched something the news director and executive producer liked, they told them “go do it!”. There was no “here’s how I want the story to go” or “go do it this way”, it was simply “go do the story”.
There were several other video journalists in the newsroom this morning and they seemed to enjoy the freedom. Several of the stories were “NFT” or “not for today”, meaning they could go hang out with the subject of the story and then go back tomorrow to finish it. That’s one of the big benefits of having more cameras and reporters on the street each day; instead of having to get x amount of stories each day, whether those stories are ready to be told or not, the station allows them to go get a feel for the story before filing it. As an example, the news director is giving me the next two weeks to get to know pastors and churches around Nashville before I get thrown into the mix on a daily basis. That’s the plan any way. It may not happen that way as they nearly put me on a story to turn today.
I picked up my gear. A Sony HD camera, tripod, wireless mics and lights. Tomorrow I pick up my new vehicle, a 2006 Mercury Mariner with 50 miles on it. I’ll also go out and shoot my first religion story, whether it airs or not I don’t know. It’ll be a training session for me to learn the new gear and the editing equipment and how to upload it to the server.
I’m impressed with the newsroom and the product they put on the air. I watched all three major affiliates last night and if I didn’t know which station was #1 in the market I would have thought it would be 2. They have a higher story count, they tell stories that affect more people and they simply look different from the top two stations in town.
I did meet Brittney, the full-time blogger for Channel 2. Brittney hosts “Nashville is Talking” each day and she’s helping me put together my blog and website for the religion franchise.
The highlight today was lunch with the news director and chief photographer. At the chief’s suggestion we dined at a place called “White Trash Cafe”. Near the fairgrounds this is one of those restaurants the locals know about. Southern cooking (I had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, turnip greens and beans. I told them this place probably wouldn’t go over too well in Memphis.
All in all, it was a good day. I got lost a good bit trying to find the newsroom from the bathroom and the front lobby from the newsroom but that’ll come in due time. The general manager and news director seem to be very cool. I’m not as nervous as I was this time yesterday. I think everything’s going to be good.