My first experience with breaking news came during the fall semester of my sophomore year. I was in my COM Newswriting and Reporting class when all of a sudden we heard sirens coming from right outside the building. We all ran to the window and saw police cars up on the sidewalk and people running down Comm Ave. None of us knew what was happening, but my professor immediately dropped the lesson plan to give us a chance to cover a real life breaking news situation.
Some of the photojournalists in the class had their cameras with them, and went to shoot stills of the action. When they came back, we learned that there had been a bank robbery and the police had chased down and caught the suspect—so we combined the stills and wrote a report on the story.
That day was only my first time covering breaking news—since then, I’ve had a hand in a few other instances as well. This past fall, news of Joe Paterno’s resignation came during my Newsroom class on the day I happened to be the live reporter. Myself and another student in the class took to the streets at about 8:30 a.m., and had a package shot and edited by 12 p.m. It was an exciting story to cover, and you can check out the final product here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb0_LF4j88U.
Then this semester, a project that I was working on fell through, and I found myself starting from scratch at 11 a.m. for a 3 o’clock show. This was the same day as the second day of the Supreme Court “Obamacare” hearings, so I packed up some equipment at Field Production Services and headed down to the State House to get reaction and film a quick report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiuZk9N3gww.
Although it’s tough to turn a package on a deadline, those two pieces are some of my best work. As a journalist, I was forced to tighten up my reporting; as a broadcaster, the adrenaline that comes with a looming deadline ups my on-camera performance: it’s do or die at that point, and not turning in a package isn’t an option. My COM education has placed me in real-life situations, and I know I’m prepared to cover a breaking news situation when I finally arrive at my first job.