Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I've done it hundreds of times before.
We all have.
You have a beige-manilla envelope with lines on it and that 'twistee' closer string that you wrap around and around and around the little cardboard clasp. You scratch out the previous name and message and update with yours and the envelope's destination and date.
Then you place it in the outgoing mail bin.
That's what I did 11 days ago just before I went on a few days of vacation or furlough, I really can't remember which, but was off for a long weekend.
Came back to work.
Had yet another day in the middle of the week off.
Came back to work after the weekend and got stopped by a co-worker who said she delivered my mail to its destination.
I looked with amazement as to why she had the envelope only to see there had been writing on both sides.
Mine was dated and signed June 19, 2009. The other entry much earlier in the year if not the end of last year.
Lesson to be learned --check both sides of your inter-office mail envelope and follow up with the receiver in a timely fashion! Or better still, get a little exercise, take the steps and deliver it yourself!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I really won't go into too much detail because I am off and don't have all the details, but I had to pop on for just a few minutes and say, HOLY COW!
What a day to be off.
I was in PA with Mom and the Tribe and a very good friend from College and, thankfully, kept abreast of the situations unfolding all over the U.S.
I really don't think any of them have sunk in just yet.
Shaq comes to the Cavs. Good thing! Big sports story so I am not missing too much! I just hope Shaq knows WHO is #1 in Cleveland --the L-Train! This has garnered multiple Facebook comments from college friends around the US who know their teams won't hold a candle to the Cavs next season.
Farrah Fawcett passing away. Awful story, but we all knew it was imminent. National story, so I am not missing too much on this except it is quite saddening for those of us who grew up in that time frame. Also, maybe this is a deranged way to look at her passing, but the next entry overshadows Farrah's death.
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, dying. Again, a National story, BUT, this out of all of them can certainly be localized. Especially with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum being right here in Cleveland, Ohio....the Jacksons performing in Cleveland.....
I am sure every single radio station will be playing MJ songs for days.
I heard there were so many Tweets, they went off line because their server blew up.
As an assignment editor, you are torn. On one hand, the news day that everyone lives for...but on the other hand, as a viewer, a fan, a riveted human being, by not working, I can sit in front of the tv all night long clutching the remote & just immerse myself watching tributes, music videos, listening to music, & try to come to grips with what has transpired and how it will change the future of music and 'pop-icon culture.'
We'll miss you Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson (they always die in 3's).
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Today, I heard it from a police dispatcher and kinda liked the fact that feeling is universal.
When the big 48 inch water main blew, the phones began lighting up, not only at the news assignment desk, but apparently at every single police department where residents were experiencing water problems.
There was water water everywhere, but it was not where it was supposed to be. Dozens of eastern burbs lost their water or water pressure for a time being and thousands of customers were affected.
When the big one hits, no matter what duties are left to do, the rule book goes out the window and you drop back 10 and punt.
Just after the water main broke and I began hearing scanner traffic as well as fielding phone calls, my priority was the water main break. I needed to:
- get my producer the most updated info for our show
- simultaneously writing the story for wkyc.com as breaking news
- twittering the information
- Facebook-ing the info
- continue answering phones
- make sure my morning show had a good grasp on what was happening, a plan, and hopefully all the tools in place to execute
- unfortunately, it was too late to send a crew due to OT restrictions but next crew in will be assigned that task
One of the phone calls I received was actually from a police dispatcher who nicely asked that when we air the story, we try to impress on our viewers that they really should not call any police departments or 911 lines unless it is a true emergency....
The water department and police agencies are working together to get the info out and the situation rectified but they can not do that if they are fielding the phones.
I can commiserate. If we have breaking news, such as a water main break, an earthquake, or something else, I can not get the facts if I am fielding hundreds of calls.
Same thing internally. If I see a story on the competition that is interesting or breaking....and every producer, manager, employee calls the desk asking if I saw that story--
- I can not jot down details while I am fielding in-house calls
- I can not make calls to verify the facts while I am being given the 3rd degree
Oh, dispatcher, I feel your pain many many many days out of the week.
It's just good to know that I am not alone, a news assignment desk is not the only group that experiences this job war wound....
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Everyday can not be sunshine and roses and dancing and singing.
No one's job, life, or surroundings are like that 24/7.
So as not to get ambushed by anyone saying, "there goes Danielle with a salty attitude!" For the record, having a salty attitude is not in my vocabulary nor in my actions.
I LOVE what I do, where I do it and frankly give 200 percent every single minute of every single day whether anyone wants to truly admit how much I contribute or not!
I report the facts and respect the truth.
And honestly, the start of today's work day was like pulling teeth. I don't want to lie to you. I kept a smile on my face and my chin up and morale in the newsroom buzzing along! I was humming and singing! But, let me set the stage. At least a dozen times, I had to 'find' someone. Trying to 'locate' staff members took away from my first 2 hours doing what I really needed to do.
Now, normally when I come to work, I come to work --to work!
Thank God I had Sarah the intern. She was able to log the competition, answer phones and type up fact sheets while I tracked down those trying to elude the desk!
So, yes, I won't lie. The 1st couple hours were a bit exasperating.
But, with my attitude and take charge mentality, I was not gonna let that get me down one bit. We kicked a little booty.
Mobilized crews as best we could on the best stories of the day.
Honestly, having an intern for part of my shift, I was able to assist the web folks on attaching video to the web and writing stories throughout my entire shift. Great feeling!
Then, Dick Russ, being the Fugitive of the Week guru, received the big call that the Mansfield sex offender who took 4-year-old Haylee had been caught in San Diego. We were all over this story. We were in contact with San Diego. Dick Russ wrote the web story from home. And CNN managed to get a sat truck to the press conference with U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott, which we took in live for our news broadcasts...great start to, what should prove to be, a big story over the next few days!
We always strive to get more than the competition and that little niche that others may not effort. We were able to get some good video for Sports Anchor extraordinaire, Jim Donovan, of Asdrubal Cabrera playing for the Akron Aeros as well as Aaron Laffey pitching for Akron. It's those little stories and added effort that puts us a step ahead of the others.....Comparing Jim's sportscast to all the other stations --no comparison!
And then Senior Political Reporter, Tom Beres, and his crew Mark Smilor were all over the Recall Election of Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. Web Reporter Kim Wendel was updating the web as fast as Tom was calling in the results.....
A great team effort from everyone Tuesday! And, it showed in the live broadcast.
Again, when the day does not begin on a good note, never let it get you down. I find it always works itself out and usually winds up being one heck of a blockbuster day!!!
Monday, June 22, 2009
It's the eve of the recall election for long-time Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.
We also had an arrest over the weekend in the Laundromat murder. Ironically, the suspect may be attached to two other incidents in two other counties. This story is far from over. Not only do you have what we call the 'nuts and bolts' for this story alone --what is new and happening in this murder case today--but there are many sidebar stories like WHY did the judges ever let him out of jail with his long list of offenses and are there even more suspects with serious offenses roaming the streets?
And, of course, everyone...I mean EVERYONE is awaiting that call from the Cleveland Indians gathering the local media for a press conference regarding some kind of shakeup...
However, the BIG story of the day was miles away....states away......
Yet, we were still able to cover the BIG story with help from our NBC/MSNBC, Gannett, and CNN affiliates in the D.C. area.
WUSA9, our Gannett Sister-Station, had superb coverage of this catastrophic event from its inception. Producers/Writers/Reporters kept all of their affiliates in the loop with updated email regarding new information, upcoming news conference details, pictures and the latest video.
Steve, the CNN Producer servicing our region, kept us in the loop in a number of ways including continuous Twitter updates.
And, of course, NBC/MSNBC kept Producer Dan informed of the latest developments as well. Dan was able to use Reporter Steve Handelsman to update our customers during the 11pm news.
WKYC in turn, was able to get updated information out via Twitter, wkyc.com, and during our LIVE news programs because of the support we had from our affiliates in the region of the breaking news story.
This is how news coverage and getting information out to our customers is supposed to work...and I believe, we did a pretty good job Monday evening on a tragic story.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Swing by and Spray is a labor of love, as you all well know.
I pride myself in everything I do in life--trying to be the best person I can be, the best daughter, friend, Assignment Editor, WKYC /Gannett employee, and writer.
I graduated with degrees in English and Communications.
I have always taken great pride in everything I set out to do and that includes my writing, even though at times, there is so little time to perfect this craft.
However, a number of years ago when I was in charge of birddogging the wkyc website during my shift, I decided to get back in the swing and fine tune my writing skills.
Ever since, I've been striving to become a better writer on a daily basis on the Channel 3 website, assisting on writing stories for the 11pm show, and of course with Swing By and Spray and Grand Slam Kind of Day.
Well, Friday night, I'm beaming and proud to say that Swing By and Spray was actually recognized by the Press Club of Cleveland's 'Excellence in Journalism Awards.' It came in 2nd place under the category of New Media/Blogs behind Carl Weiser and his Politics Extra on Cincinnati.Com.
I'm humbled to say I also won 2 other Press Club awards with several comrades from WKYC.
- First Place--Reporter Paul Thomas, Videographer Mike Greene, Assignment Editor Danielle Fink for 'Officer Owens Shot'
- Second Place --Assignment Editor Danielle Fink, Videographers Brian Johnson & Randy White for 'Fuel Tank Rescue'
And yet more awards for Channel 3:
- General News-2nd place for Reporter Dave Summers --'At the end of the day'
- Human Interest-2nd place for Health Anchor Monica Robins, Videographer Shane Snider, Editor Sarah Montgomery and their 'Sleep Deprivation' piece
I thank my readers again for helping Swing By and Spray take home this great honor.
I am proud of coming up with the concept, with sharing a little slice of my television world with those that want to hear what it's like on a news assignment desk, and with every story I've written. But I am more impressed with the amazingly, positive feedback I've received from numerous readers and so many fellow colleagues on a consistent basis.
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can not thank you enough for your kindness.
I would be remiss not to raise a glass to every other winner in this year's 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards! Ohio, particularly Northeast Ohio, has some of the best journalists, writers, broadcasters, television and print folks around. And they are nice people to boot! A job well-done to you all!
For a complete list of the 2009 Press Club of Cleveland Winners, CLICK HERE!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It's been a crazy month and my erratic and sporadic postings tell the story.
There have been furlough days, vacation days, people changing departments so added duties, and the normal insanity surrounding the inner-workings of not only a news assignment desk but a news room!
Well, for now at least, for this quarter, I believe all of my furlough time is over.
Today I arrived back at work.
Let me tell you, for not being in the office for 7 days, it was really strange driving into work. I can not pinpoint it because obviously I've been off before. But, I had to re-program my car where to go.
I'd already heard a few 'nuggets' of happenings going on before I even entered the door. It's nice to have good and true friends at work!
Our annual Cedar Point ticket memo came out. Believe it or not, this will become one of my first priorities so I don't get shut out!
And, I'm hearing rumblings that we lost one of our desk people. I'm sure this will have an impact on all of us. But in the words of REO Speedwagon, 'just roll with the changes.'
I'd like to say I'm back refreshed and better than ever. But as I stated in a recent Facebook profile comment, "no matter how much free time you have, it's never enough and it's never free!"
Here here. There's always a catch and responsibilities. At least for me.
Free time from the work place constitutes work load pileup from everyone else in your life.
But, I'm back in the saddle, and in a heart beat, it's like a never left.
I found my normal parking spot.
Before I even took off my TJ Maxx sunglasses (which still broke after a month), and have put my 4 bags down, I have people coming up to me alerting me of schedule changes, stories already set up for our reporter, and 'what do you think about this?'
It's nice to be needed.
Let me say it again. I only had a few vacation days, a weekend, and then 2 furlough days but I have people coming up to me left and right welcoming me back, telling me they are glad to see me, spouting how much I was missed.
I don't mean to drone on...but like I've stated before, I don't feel like I was off for an extended period of time yet maybe because the days were abutted with a weekend, it appears that I was off the entire month of June?!?!
One fellow co-worker, who happens to be a very good friend and a jokester, came up to me, shook my hand and welcomed me asking if I was the new person on the desk! Ha ha, very funny! I do work with some amazing people and that's what keeps me sane! Thank you friends!
Anyway, here comes the 'feel like I never left.'
You know me and computers. I can not log onto our Microsoft system. Now, I don't feel so bad. There were a handful of folks off last week as well and all of them said they had to have an administrator re-start their computers. Whew! A simple fix.
You all know my next favorite item in the newsroom: the printers!
Whew hoo. I attempt to print out our assignment sheets and sure enough, the orange light is on and nothing. I don't hear the sweet sounds of paper piling up, information being disseminated, smoke coming out, nothing.
I guess I would not have known what to do had the printer actually worked on the first try.
After being off, I did have some pretty kick butt story ideas.
Yet they all went by the wayside with our first big thunderstorm of the season!
And that is Mother Nature's way of saying, 'Welcome back, Danielle!'
Friday, June 12, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
I've spoken of Our Lady of Peace Church before and some of the wonderful events and fundraising activities spearheaded by this community.
In fact, going back into the archive vault, I believe my first Hidden Gem focused on OLP.
Well, Thursday night was the end of an era.
My entire family went to Our Lady of Peace School. They've always had the best teachers, staff, and offered a terrific education coupled with those incidentals that you can't teach.
On a personal note, receiving a Catholic Education was probably one of the best things that I could have experienced in my lifetime. It laid a priceless foundation for the rest of my life. I will forever be indebted to Our Lady of Peace, the Ursuline Nuns and all of the teachers who pointed me in the right direction to become who I am today (someone I really like).
Our Lady of Peace Church survived the 'cluster' chopping block and was the only church in its cluster to survive. Epiphany has already closed and St. Cecilia will be closing.
Unfortunately, OLP Elementary School did not fair quite as well. Now, it's not as dismal as I make it sound. But, quite a surprise.
With all the flurry surrounding the Cleveland Catholic Diocese Church closings, what was happening between Bishop Lennon and the Cleveland Catholic Elementary School Pastors was sort of swept under the carpet.
Just a few weeks after the dust had settled with the Church closings, it was announced that Our Lady of Peace would become a satellite campus for Archbishop Lyke School. OLP will have a preschool, 3 kindergartens, 3 first grades, and 3 second grades.
4 thru 8 will be on two other campuses.
There was no discussion with parents or parishioners, as there had been with the Church Clustering.
This is what is happening.
Extensive information on how this decision came about was supplied along with answers to questions that may pop up. There had been many meetings with the Bishop, school administrators, and the Cleveland Catholic Diocese Education folks.
It appears that this was a viable solution to keep all of the schools involved vibrant, alive and strong for many years to come as they give the children of Cleveland the best education.
But, this decision can not take away the fact that Thursday night was the final graduation which will ever occur at Our Lady of Peace Elementary School. Now, there will be Pre thru 2 kids roaming around campus. They are cute little bundles but the bigger kids, who have done so much for the neighborhood, the community, and the parish will no longer be on site to assist in invaluable ways.
In fact, just recently, OLP Junior High students raised over $1,000 to put a roof on the new St. Mary's Church in Kenya. These kids, though many of them coming from lower income families themselves, always thought of those less fortunate.
The upper grades had a wonderful choir which will be silenced.
OLP will still have First Communion and possibly some very young servers.
It will be a great challenge to start these youngsters in the education world, and hopefully, lay a great foundation that they can take with them wherever they wind up after the 2nd grade.
I'm sure this will be a wonderful transition for this Parish and will work out for all involved to keep the Cleveland Catholic Schools alive contributing to the future of our children.
The process is just in the beginning stages.
However, that does not take away from the fact that those of us who graduated from the 8th grade at OLP with so many tremendous memories will have a little bittersweet feeling in our hearts knowing how much OLP contributed to our rich history, how the dedicated teachers encouraged us all to dream and reach for the skies, and helped immensely in who we have become today.
If you are not familiar with Our Lady of Peace Elementary School, trust me! The kind, caring, selfless, thoughtful, and successful students they have produced and sent out into this world is my reason for making OLP this week's Hidden Gem. It surely is the end of an era. I am proud to be an OLP Alum and can not say enough great things about this wonderful institution, which hopefully, will continue guiding the little tikes from the very beginning--giving them a tremendous foundation with which to start their education and their lives!