Noor Tagouri's Reflection on Covering a Storm

4:14 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- By the third time in the station, I picked up on the routine, get there at 3:00 p.m., bug Manny and ask him a million questions about the TV industry, the newsroom and life. Then, at 3:30 p.m. sharp, go to the news meeting to pitch ideas and find stories to go out hunting for.

I love having an excuse to be on Twitter. That's where so many story ideas come from. Voyager 1 was trending, and I thought it'd be awesome to cover the first human craft that had left our solar system...finally, after 36 years. But, NASA had already had its press conference, so there was no where to actually go and report.

On my way to work, the clouds started to turn gray and I knew it was going to rain. Ken Molestina, a super cool WUSA9 reporter was assigned a story at BWI airport because it had been shut down from the storm. I hopped on board immediately. Ken, James Hash (the cameraman,) and I headed out soon after. I learned a valuable lesson before leaving the station. Always bring food that doesn't need a microwave. All the food I brought that day needed a microwave and I wasn't going to get the chance to eat it because we wouldn't be back at the studio until past midnight.

The drive was long. Traffic in DC was backed up. And the rain was incredible. I don't think I've ever seen that much rain before. But I love the rain, so I didn't mind....however, props to Hash for driving a news truck in that weather! I got to sit in the back and enjoy the view for the next couple hours.

Once we arrived to BWI, we saw other news stations set up covering the same story...but the airport was empty. And we soon found out everyone else was struggling with finding a timely story as well. All the chaos had gone down hours before, but due to the weather, we couldn't make it on time.

Ken interviewed a couple girls who were waiting for their ride to pick them up since their flights were canceled. He also interviewed the airport PIO. We then found a group of hundreds of people who were waiting to be picked up or whose flights had been canceled. Once we pulled together a story idea. I was dubbed the great task of interviewing people who had a terrible day due to their travel plans being shattered into pieces. I eventually interviewed almost 10 people.

Hash taught me how to approach people before interviewing them. He told me this task is a sales job. You have to sell the opportunity to do a TV interview to the interviewee. Many people were in terrible moods and didn't want a camera in their faces. However, after having a few laughs with people, we got great interviews for the TV segment!

After interviews I got to do my stand-up for my reel. The BEST PART OF MY INTERNSHIP! And my purpose according to my mentor, Manny. "You are only here for stand-ups!" I always hear that statement in my head, every time I go out in the news truck.

There were so many people around, watching me do the stand up. Some strange, creepy people were distracting, wanting to "be on TV," and would get in the awkward.

It took four times before I got a good stand-up. I work better under pressure, and when I know people are waiting on me. It gets a better "performance" out of me. But I'm thankful for Hash and Ken being patient with me and giving me such great advice to better my stand-ups. Their advice got be a solid stand-up, Manny called it "excellent." That made my day!

After my stand-up, we grabbed Subway for dinner, and headed back to the truck to put the story together. We were under deadline, as always....and Ken had a live shot at 11 PM.

Back in the parking lot, there were other news trucks. Ken took me to meet the WJZ (CBS Baltimore) crew. I was so excited! I love their stories! I always watch the news packages on their site while I'm at my other job (WNEW, CBS Radio.)

Once 11PM hit, Kenny did his live shot. It took a couple minutes, and we headed back to DC around 11:30PM. The talk on our way back to the station was one I'll remember for a long time.

As glamorous and rewarding the job of a reporter may seem to aspiring reporters, IT. IS. NOT. EASY. There are so many sacrifices you WILL make and a good chance you will grow some-what bitter. There's so much struggle involved in this profession and everything that you think could go wrong, WILL go wrong.

To put it in simpler terms, if you pursue this job you have to REALLY want it. If you are asked "why do you want to be a broadcast journalist?" and your answers include any of the following DON'T DO IT!

1)   I want to be on TV.

2)   I want to be famous.

3)   It looks easy.

4)   I want to be verified on Twitter.

5)   I want easy hours.

6)   Cause I'll finally be cool.

Just don't do it.

I asked Ken, why do you do this job...he answered, "honestly, I just love telling stories."

That is the EXACT answer I give to everyone who asks me. It made me feel so much better to know that I share the same reason of choosing this profession as experienced reporters. 

Can't wait to share more with you all!


Noor Tagouri




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