With Karen's help, we'll now be able to tackle a larger number of stories in the Lynchburg and Danville areas. Karen's presence will also free me up to concentrate more on an area I care deeply about: my hometown of Bedford. I've pledged to work harder at enterprising original stories from Bedford and Bedford County. My goal is to give you the very best coverage of the Bedford area you'll find on any local TV station.
Keep an eye out for Karen and myself. We'll be on the road a lot, working hard to give you more news from east of the Blue Ridge and beyond!
March 11, 2010
I hate moving! From Radford to Syracuse to Harrisonburg, Bedford, and eventually Lynchburg, I have moved WAY too much in the last decade. Frequent relocation is something you learn to accept as an inevitability when you work in the news business.
My most recent move was across town to a new pad in the Hill City. While the distance was short (about 5 miles), the task of moving itself was not easy.
I purchased new furniture for my new home, but I made my purchase in Tennessee. Yes, I realize the sales tax is much higher there, but I found a great deal! Unfortunately, that meant I had to get my furniture from the Volunteer State to Lynchburg - a roughly 4 hour trip.
I ended up driving a Budget rental truck full of furniture all the way up 81 and across 460. I NEVER want to be a truck driver! My truck wasn't even that large (15 feet), but it was definitely harder to maneuver than the average car, truck, or SUV, especially on a crowded interstate like 81.
Before and after my Tennessee trip, I was busy packing boxes, moving boxes, and unpacking boxes. Furniture, clothes, dishes, you name it, all thrown in a trunk and moved across town. Did I mention that all of this took place in a span of three days?
Moving is exhausting, but I'm glad I did it. I love my new place, especially now that it's mostly set up with pictures, etc. It feels like home - one I hope to keep for a while because moving again anytime soon just might kill me.
January 21, 2010
This is the first time in three days that I've had an opportunity to sit down at my own computer, inside my home, and compose my thoughts. As a reporter, it has been an emotionally exhausting week of heartbreaking news and tragedy. I certainly never expected to bring you the news of eight people killed at the hands of one person.
I received a call from someone in our Roanoke newsroom around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. I was on my way back from a morning story assignment - a World War II veteran who was receiving his purple heart and bronze star medals. The voice on the other end of the phone said "we're hearing about a shooting in Appomattox, have you heard anything?" At first, I brushed off the call. I have my story for the day, I thought. We'll just make a few calls and provide a short mention about whatever has happened. My assignment editor must have known this was more than your average shooting. He quickly told me to get on the road - and so I did.
When I arrived on Snaps Mill Road that afternoon, nothing initially seemed out of the ordinary, at least not compared with other shooting or domestic violence stories I have covered. There was a police barricade and a group of concerned neighbors huddled in a front yard. My assumption was that someone had shot his or her loved one and was now holding law enforcement in some type of standoff. Notice I said "someone" - my mind did not venture the thought of more than one casualty.
At that time, there were only five members of the media there - two people from another local TV station, a reporter and photographer from the Lynchburg newspaper, and myself. I started to shoot video, but within minutes I was met by law enforcement who asked us to move to a "staging location" on another road.
As we headed toward that staging location, we were met again by state police, who instructed us to go to State Police headquarters and wait for a press conference. A State Police Sergeant from Richmond was coming in to make a statement. When I heard that news, I started to realize the scope of what was happening, but I still wasn't prepared for what came next.
The Sergeant from Richmond used the term "multiple fatalities" to describe the situation in an initial press conference that afternoon. Around 7:00, I heard the first mention that 7 people were dead. Then the number rose to eight. What I was hearing was almost incomprehensible. I am still unable to wrap my head around what has happened. Within hours of word getting out about the number of people dead, that small group of 5 media members grew to well over 40 working journalists from the state and national level by the next morning.
I worked at WDBJ during the Virginia Tech tragedy, but I did not cover that story in the field as a reporter. I remember at the time being thankful that I was not among the reporters covering that story. I knew the toll it must have taken on them. What I have experienced this week is nothing in comparison to what my fellow journalists went through in April 2007, but it has been difficult. Say a prayer for the families of those eight people who were lost. They are experiencing the most difficult days of all.
December 30, 2009
Although I work in the media as a reporter, I approach all forms of media with skepticism and curiosity about the truth. I think the fact that I work in the media makes me more skeptical than I would be otherwise.
My reluctance to take what's reported at face value comes from the fact that what I read and hear from reporters and commentators is very often wrong. This particularly applies to the cable news industry.