I am recovering from a whirlwind trip. Eight months ago, I lost my job in public information, through no fault of my own. Despite this personal setback I enjoyed the experience because I loved helping people get the information they needed. But, early on in this new profession, I realized I missed the newsroom.
I started working in television in 1974, becoming a real "professional" in May of 1978, when Ridge Shannon hired me as a newsroom production assistant at KMBC TV in Kansas City. I worked in newsrooms around the country until January 2006. Television news, for me, has always been about a good story well told. I could care a less about covering murders, fires, or car accidents, which unfortunately, have become a staple at most television stations. The last station I would worked at would abandon good stories to go cover murder or worse still some inconsequential mayhem just so they could scream "BREAKING NEWS!" Journalism was an afterthought.
There are more than a few newsrooms left in the country that still try to cover news that really matters to the communities they serve. I was fortunate to visit one such newsroom on Monday to interview for a job. The Internet and social media has dramatically reshaped the process of news gathering in the last few years. But they are simply new tools just as ENG was when I started in this business and a few years later when satellite trucks came into vogue and then the introduction of computers.
I've got another dozen or so years left to make a difference in a work environment. I've been lucky to work in some great news operations and fortunate in a weird way to work in some dysfunctional newsrooms to see what not to do. I'm excited and hope to get a chance to bring my old school experience into a setting that is working and succeeding at implementing the new school tools.