Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Not the kind of breaking news that flashes across the screen on the cable t.v. networks trying to make an old story sound fresh, but real breaking news. As a journalist, there's nothing more exciting and challenging then covering a breaking story, either as a reporter, anchor, editor or newsroom assistant.

Since I was laid off at WABC, I would listen and watch with envy as my fifth estate colleagues would dig into a big story. The last few weekends at ABC NEWS RADIO
have been kind of slow, until Sunday night.

A tornado had struck Virgina and early reports indicated widespread damage and perhaps hundreds of injuries. I have to admit, I was glowing....not at the destruction and desperation of those affected by the storm, but by what makes radio great, getting a big story on the air fast and covering all of its developments.
As the night went on, the editors and producers were constantly passing new information along to the anchors. The story got bigger. Now, it was THREE tornadoes that struck a wide area of South and Central Virgina.

Many of my friends think I'm sick when I get all giddy over a disaster. When I was in Denver at KIMN radio in the 80's, our radio station was located not far from the airport and we could watch the jets landing. On slow news days, we'd stand at the window chanting, "crash, crash, crash." Sick, I know. But, journalists are no different than people in many other professions.

Police officers, firefighters and paramedics will tell you of the adrenaline rush of racing to the scene of a major crime, big fire or terrible accident. Even accountants and stock brokers are like this. A ho-hum day on Wall Street is no fun. But, when there's a big rally or a major tumble, these suited geeks are in hog heaven.

So, next time you see a giddy news person talking with glee about a tragedy, you might understand what makes them tick. Oh, there was one day when this wasn't the case, when I wasn't giddy, when I wasn't happy to be covering a big story.

On this particular day, I was angry, saddened and scared. September 11Th changed my life forever.

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