Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
It's a good rule to live by, even out of a newsroom.
Today is a perfect day to exhibit this mantra.
In the afternoon meeting, the story cards were dealt out to each reporter and camera man.
What everyone started out on quickly changed when we got the call from the Chief's Office that there had been four arrested in connection with the tragic double shooting over the weekend at East 12th and Chester.
Switching gears-- and fast! We had lady luck on our side as crews were actually IN the places they needed to be without even knowing it!
The transition went off without a hitch.
A big thank you goes out to the room including, Dan Stadler, Dick Russ, Chris Tye, Chris Kunz, Dave Summers, Craig Roberson, Carl Bachtel, Dan Medsker, Julie Ocepek, intern Jeff Kinder, and editor Matt Hein for their great joint effort at getting this breaking news on the air.
Earlier in the day, a local restaurateur contacted the news desk about coming out to his Mardi Gras party being held during Downtown Dining week. I cover it every Shrove Tuesday. However, I knew better not to promise anything. I put it on my agenda and hoped to have a crew eventually to send over there...
A little dicier situation lay ahead. One of my managers pulled some strings for us to go live at 6pm and 7pm at another downtown locale. Breaking news blew those plans out of the water.
In fairness to the business who welcomed us with open arms, we still wanted to shoot video of their establishment for their accommodating nature. After the craziness died down, I sent a free cameraman back over there to shoot video for the 11pm show. There are times we can't even do this much for stories we must vacate.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, NEVER PROMISE ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!
Now, before the next emergency hits, I'm gonna get back to my peas in a bag, salad in a Styrofoam cup, and fettuccini alfredo with 0g Trans fat in a cardboard vessel.
Honestly, Channel 3 has been on Facebook for many months now, if not almost a year.
Most of our personnel, off camera as well as on camera, and their families have been 'friending' viewers at lightning speed.
Our producers and other staffers (including yours truly) have been doing daily teases promoting what's coming up in each of our live news broadcasts.
We share previews for upcoming sweeps stories, investigations, Prime time Network favorites, polls, live chats, and so much more.
We've gotten feedback, story ideas, and background for breaking news stories within Facebook messages.
We BROKE a story last Thursday on Facebook minutes before posting it on wkyc.com. 7pm Producer Jon Adkins first unveiled the chimp attack woman arriving in Cleveland en route to the Cleveland Clinic EXCLUSIVELY on our Facebook page in a video release....
You don't have to wait for the 6pm, 7pm, or 11pm news anymore. We'll get you the story every which way we can-FIRST. But know that the most comprehensive and in depth coverage will always be on wkyc.com and on our live broadcasts throughout the day and evening.
The challenge comes now in staying ahead of the curve. We've been leading the pack the entire time and will continue coming up with unique, interesting ventures to entertain and inform you, our customers, as well as keeping a leg up on the competition on Facebook and all of our other social media, electronic, and broadcast venues.
Rest assured, you can always count on us to Report the Facts, Respect the Truth (first!).
Friday, February 20, 2009
We were pounding the pavement with EXCLUSIVE breaking news Thursday on the Chimp attack woman arriving in Cleveland (we were the only station to get the woman and her medical staff arriving at Burke Lakefront Airport and then rushing off to the Cleveland Clinic). As if that was not enough, we had an arrest in the LCCC arson fire and potential for a winter wonderland! These items put me a tad bit behind.
Today's Hidden Gem: Goodyear, Arizona --Indians Spring Training Camp
This week's Hidden Gem is going out on the road. We are embarking on what appears to be an extremely exciting Cleveland Indians' Baseball Season! I've got a great feeling about this year. My guys have gathered at their new spring training home in Arizona and are days away from the official start when we hear 'Play Ball!'
The Indians are no strangers to Arizona. Before the Tribe's 16-year stint in Winter Haven, FLA, they trained in Arizona from 1947-1992.
I've not been to Goodyear this year. It is being touted as a state-of-the-art facility being built for our Tribe (and the Cincinnati Reds) which will not only be a ballpark but have shops, office space, restaurants, hotel facilities--an all encompassing recreation complex. It may not be exactly like it, but my first vision was a complex similar to Wide World of Sports where the Braves play. Always the center with a hubbub of activity!
First, the breathtaking Arizona landscape will get you every time. Add in Cleveland Indians Baseball and it's a combination made in Heaven!
Only about 20 miles from Phoenix, close to civilization.
I've read there are 57 acres on the north and 185 acres on the south which will house a 10,000 seat ballpark among other facilities.
The entire project is expected to hit the 108 million dollar mark. If that alone does not prove that Mr. Dolan and his staff are grooming for a pennant-winning team, nothing will.
Along with spankin' brand new digs, you'd guess the fees would go up a bit. Some of the ticket prices mirror Progressive Field costs. I have not heard the range of prices for the food concessions, but have been told the selection should please everyone. They profess to have a full menu ranging from the traditional hot dog and burger to peanuts, shrimp, nachos, pizza, Polish and Italian sausage and even breaded pickles! And get this, you may be miles away from Cleveland, Ohio but will feel as if you are in Ohio City when you quench your thirst (for those over 21 please) with a Great Lakes Brewery beer!
The only other drawback I'm hearing about is that fan accessibility or close proximity is not as enticing as before. That's a little disappointing.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves before its total completion.
All that really matters is that baseball season has arrived. We soon will be hearing the soothing sounds of the crack of the bat or a ball swishing into the catcher's mitt.
If you want to have a fun and exciting Spring and Summer, perk up and keep on top of the happenings down in Goodyear, Arizona over the coming weeks and then keep the fever rolling as the Indians kick off their home season on April 10th at Progressive Field.
The Indians will be a part of another history-making milestone when they play the New York Yankees on April 16th in the Yankees' home opener at their new stadium.
It's a sign of great things to come.
So catch the fever, and you too, will see why Goodyear, Arizona and the Cleveland Indians' Spring Training Camp is this week's Hidden Gem!
Be a believer!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
- To share details from an interesting job in a crazy business with those willing to listen
- To fine tune my 'English major' creative writing skills because of my love of writing (you just never know when a 'fall back' profession will be needed later in life)
Though just short of my anniversary, I have reached another milestone--50 Facebook NetworkedBlogs followers! Unbelievable!
Sometimes I over-analyze situations. However, the way I see it, this scenario is a perfect example of a few 'lessons learned.' It takes one person at a time to make something happen. Each person is just as important as the next. And none of us can accomplish anything alone. We need each other. The next lesson I've learned is you never know who is watching you or reading your compositions. Sometimes a scary thought I guess, but a motivation to be the best always! And some of the bloggers have quite interesting blogs themselves which are great reads on my part enlightening my world about something I may have not known before!
I have to be honest, I've been blown away time and time again, not only by the folks who have signed up to follow my blog on Facebook, but by numerous comments I've received from readers.
I recently received a wonderful comment on the story I wrote about Lydia Esparra's departure. When I read through the entire comment and saw that it came from the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Puerto Rican Culture Committee, I was humbled and felt as if I had done something right that day!
I've received comments from current and former co-workers to people I've never even met.
One such entry came from a stranger who reinforced that anyone can stumble upon your creations. The man, though I had never met him, was familiar. I had seen his name before and read HIS stuff! He's a Cleveland based writer/editor who has had his works in over 70 publications. And for him to say I can write, I am on his 'A List' and he will come back to my site--quite an honor!
When thinking about who in the cyberworld may be visiting my little portion and the effect my words may have on someone else, I'm reminded of the life-altering letter I received from the daughter of a former Cleveland Indian. Whether that young woman knows it or not, she changed my world forever and I will always be indebted to her.
So, for those of you who don't think you make a difference, you do! For those of you who have lofty dreams, go for them! Anything is possible, as I have seen with my own eyes in my Facebook followers and upcoming blog anniversary milestone!
If you are on Facebook, pop onto the Channel 3 page and become a fan! We're nearing a milestone there as well approaching 1,000 fans!! If you have not 'stumbled' upon my blog pages, take a minute to look them over! I'd love to hear what you think and get your feedback. It will only make me better!!!!!!
Monday, February 16, 2009
WOIO's chopper flew to Buffalo to assist WGRZ as well as a number of other agencies including WKYC in the most comprehensive coverage of this tragedy.
WKYC sent its Satellite Truck to assist in WGRZ's coverage of this immense storyline, which will continue for many days to come.
Then, management from both WKYC and WOIO made the announcement on the Video Sharing Partnership plan which is being introduced this week between both stations.
For more details on this venture, PLEASE CLICK HERE!!!
Stay with Channel 3 News and wkyc.com as we continue new undertakings to bring you the most comprehensive newscasts, more local news, sports and weather, up-to-the-minute information and video on stories affecting you and your family, and the latest multi-media platforms allowing you to get your news of the day pretty much anyway and anywhere you can! (computer, cell, blackberry, facebook, you name it!).
As always, however you get your news from us, we will continue to 'Report the Facts and Respect the Truth!'
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Today's Hidden Gem: Cedar Lee Theatre
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
It's finally hit home. I have to spring out of 'denial.'
The holidays are over which means vacations have come to an abrupt end and everyone is back at work.
We are gearing up for March Sweeps --that's right, March Sweeps. The way my News Director explained it is that March has become a sweeps month this year instead of February due to the changeover. With talk of a changeover delay, what does that do for the rest of the Sweeps seasons???? Regardless, gearing up for Sweeps, everyone is back at work.
And with everyone back at work, there is one quality piece of the puzzle absent.
I finally have to admit that my former co-worker and friend, Lydia Esparra, is gone and not coming back.
Lydia, a vibrant force, could always cause quite a stir with her outgoing compassion and energy.
Lydia and wkyc parted ways at the end of December.
When a co-worker leaves for whatever reason, there is a great void, especially amongst a very tight, cohesive team, which characterized our crew. A missing piece leaves quite a hole, even though everyone must plunge ahead.
It's unfortunate that oftentimes the tightness of a group, tremendous talent, teamwork, and titanic contributions to the whole are not always recognized by those not constantly present.
Let me tell you about Lydia. She was an anchor, reporter, and researcher all rolled into one who NEVER put on airs. What I mean is, she was the REAL deal, totally underrated.
She spoke from her heart. She said what was on her mind. She never spoke behind any one's back, always went to the source...and always had your back! She also had her endearing 'scatter brain' moments, especially when it came to directions, but really, don't we all!!! That made her even more endearing --she admitted her flaws and foibles!
I just loved when Lydia worked because she knew she was expected to bird dog multiple stories each night...there were nights she got us 3 or 4 and knew that was all part of her job. There were nights she stumbled on a great story and shot it as a HFR (hold for release). She was also very cognizant that crews were/are a hot commodity, especially on nights, overnights and weekends, and her crew may be needed for another assignment so she got them back as quickly as she could--no wasting time, no stopping for long dinners, nothing like that!
Along with getting the stories covered, she completed the tasks associated with her main job which entailed putting her stories on the web....leaving a slice of her story for the morning show....and leaving updates, if necessary, in the computer.
Lydia, I believe, was the senior Puerto Rican reporter/anchor in Cleveland. She was highly regarded in her ethnic community and had contacts like you would not believe, not just here but all over the U.S. Her heritage helped in obtaining her exclusive with Bartolo Colon (with just a little help from my Pastor, Father Gary, who was Bartolo's spiritual advisor), as well as so many other stories related to her community. She was extremely competitive and always wanted to WIN the big story, beat the competition. She'd stop at nothing less.
Her enthusiasm for politics was well known in the newsroom, partially because of her husband's profession I would imagine. But really, if there is a reporter who excels at something, you should let them run with their passions. On a number of occasions, Lydia and her contacts bailed us out or got the 'big get' when dealing with 'Presidential Protocol.'
Lydia was down to earth. She would walk around the newsroom with her hair up, no make-up, talk to absolutely EVERYONE in the building from the cleaning crew to the GM. She answered all her viewer email and phone calls. And when it was a rough night up at the News Desk or we were getting slammed with phone calls, she was the first to come up and help rather than walk on by.
Our team is so in sync, it's oftentimes scary. There were times when Lydia and Producer Dan knew I had something going on before I even verbalized the situation. I'd crank the scanner, set perched facing the scanner, and be totally silent. It was then when Lydia would quickly finish the current story she was working on, sometimes even RUN (literally run) back to EJ and track it so that she could go out on the breaking news story. She kicked major booty at the Carbon Monoxide incident at a Hispanic church on the near west side a few years ago.....as well as the Burke Plane Crash (with Paul Thomas) last year...and numerous storm coverage incidents --just to name a few!
She was always willing to help her fellow anchors and reporters. Romona scored an exclusive interview with the wife of fallen officer Derek Owens. Romona got back to the station quite late after her interview. Lydia knew she'd have to help Romona get the story ready for air so she made sure she had all of her assignments complete. Lydia worked closely with Romona when she got back and finished up the story so Romona could prep for the 11pm news.
AND as a parting gift for her crew, she and her family cooked a genuine Puerto Rican Feast fit for a king and queen which she catered for the night crew--consisted of beans and rice, chicken, collard greens, plantains, and so much more! She did not have to do that but she wanted to thank her co-workers and show them how much she appreciated them! Classy lady!
Lydia, as all of us do, has had many hardships and tragedies in her life over the years. Through them all, including the death of her sister, she gave her best, she gave her all, and even tried to teach the viewer something new or helpful. If her situation was health related, she'd offer useful information to our customers....and so forth.
She listened and had an amazing memory. Stories I told her about my family did not go on deaf ears. 'Surprise guest' at my last birthday party--she went around the room asking my family members questions about their lives stemming from the stories I told her. She was on the money with each question asked. My jaw dropped to the ground in disbelief that she remembered the smallest of details.
I really could go on and on and on......however, a few zany thoughts which will always be a part of Lydia's Legacy: her 'candid & blunt verbiage'....her wild hair when she just let it go......the amazing cookouts she and Scott Newell would throw for their weekend crews....and the infamous Popcorn Machine!
Thank you Lydia, for giving your all and being an exemplary co-worker and human being. It did not go unnoticed by your fellow colleagues and friends.