On the SEPTA strike beat. Again.

septa

A rundown from CBS This Morning on Nov. 1, 2016. (Red is a bad thing.)

When I saw the news early Tuesday morning of the SEPTA strike in Philadelphia, I had a flashback to 11 years ago.

I was a cub reporter for The Temple News. I’d written two articles (poorly) for the paper so far, and then one of SEPTA’s unions decided to strike. It was a Monday. And my news editor asked me to go get reaction to the strike from Temple students stranded with no transportation.

So that’s just what I did. I spoke to several students waiting for emergency Temple shuttles that never seemed to arrive. And frustration was rampant.

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I felt the earth move: Covering a historic natural disaster

Aug. 23, 2011. Five years ago, I was eating a snack in my car in the parking lot of the Charlottesville Harris Teeter when I felt a small rumble. I looked at the older woman in the parking spot across from me, and she appeared to have no reaction.

I looked across the street and saw the window panels on a building shake.

Did I just feel an earthquake? Nah. It’s Central Virginia. Psh.

I opened up Twitter and saw lots of locals questioning what just happened. And I shared my thoughts.

Then I got a text from a friend.

“Are you alive?”

That followed a text from my brother.

“Are you near that earthquake?”

Apparently, yes. Yes I was.

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My day is your night: Working overnights

I have the perfect icebreaker in my back pocket. It’s always guaranteed to be a conversation starter, and the conversation can thrive for several minutes. It typically goes something like this:

Stranger: “What do you do?”

Me: “I’m a news writer for a morning show.”

Stranger: “Oh, you must go into work pretty early.”

Me: “Yeah, I work overnights.”

Stranger: “What time do you go in?”

Me: “2 a.m.”

What follows is some combination of a dropped jaw, a gasp, an expletive or bulging eyes. Hook, line and sinker.

But let’s talk about the reality of working overnights.

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Puns get tweeting coders very excited

obama jerry

Screenshot from “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

My favorite online series returned with a new season Wednesday night. Humor is brewing with more episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

(To be fair — CICGC is the only online series I watch.)

Wednesday’s season premiere featured Jerry Seinfeld speaking with President Barack Obama — perhaps an unconventional choice for a comedian, but Seinfeld defends his choice my referencing past White House Correspondents’ dinners.

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Trial Circumstances: Covering the Randy Taylor Murder Trial

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AArDAzwn8M%5D

On May 1, the murder trial began for Randy Taylor, the man charged in the abduction and murder of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy in Nelson County, Va.

My station decided to have many reporters cover this trial, since many people had a role in covering this story since Alexis’ disappearance in August 2013. Alexis is still missing, and there’s no evidence of her death, but prosecutors chose to proceed with a murder charge in a completely circumstantial case.

I covered Days 4 and 5 of this trial. I’ve learned in covering a number of court cases that every judge runs the court differently. Here, as has become a trend in Central Virginia, phones need to be turned off in the courtroom. The judge would not allow anyone to leave the courtroom unless there was a break. He would not allow anyone to enter the courtroom until there was a break. It was a tight ship, and in television news, that’s not convenient.

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Snow-go on Route 29: Snow Reporting Guide

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0KXvOpgyR4%5D

Reporting on snow doesn’t really get easier.

It’s fun to tell the snow stories. It’s not as fun to be out in the ~32-degree weather all day long. (Although, in hindsight, it is.)

This week, the first major storm of the winter hit Central Virginia. Snow accumulation was inches less than what was anticipated, but the impact was still great.

On top of the couple inches, the temperatures over the coming days would border freezing — making overnight lows in the low teens or single digits. Therefore, anything that would stick would likely freeze.

Of course, the average viewer may already know this. So to make a standup as engaging as possible… what to do?

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High-profile family tragedy: reporting on a state senator’s stabbing

I almost called out sick on Tuesday.

On Monday night, I was congested. I felt hot. I was run down. I wasn’t feeling it. But on Tuesday, I was much less sluggish. And, my hot water heater malfunctioned. Nothing like a cold shower to get you going.

I was on my way to work when I got a phone call — “Creigh Deeds has been stabbed.”

Then, I was truly awake.

It took me a second to process that. A colleague had been communicating with our state senator of Virginia’s 25th District in the days prior about doing an interview regarding the recent statewide elections. She was going to pass over his info to me so I could contact him for a story on Tuesday.

That same Creigh Deeds?

I got to work and was charged with updating our social media. Typing the words was surreal.

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