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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Introducing Virginia’s next governor to viewers

Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe thanks his supporters at a campaign party in Tysons Corner, Va., on Nov. 5, 2013.

Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe thanks his supporters at a campaign party in Tysons Corner, Va., on Nov. 5, 2013.

It was like a repeat of Nov. 6, 2012. Just a different candidate in a different Virginia city.

The setup at gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign party in Tysons Corner, Va., reminded me a lot of covering Tim Kaine’s party in Richmond last year. However, this year, things became a bit more hectic.

First of all, my station held an election special from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., so that was an additional two liveshots from the party, on top of my 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. hit. Around 9:30, I began gearing up for the 10 p.m. hit. I interviewed Virginia’s House Minority Leader, cut a soundbite and began sending it back to the station. I wrote some bullet points in my notebook that I wanted to touch on in my liveshot. I dabbed some makeup on my cheek to cover up a razor nick from shaving earlier in the morning.

Around 9:50, I tweeted the following:

Live report on WAHU FOX27 in 10 minutes from #McAuliffe HQ. Lots can happen in 10 minutes. #VAGov

I jinxed it.

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Years of Covering the Clintons

President Bill Clinton spoke in Charlottesville on Oct. 30 to campaign for Terry McAuliffe.

President Bill Clinton spoke in Charlottesville on Oct. 30 to campaign for Terry McAuliffe.

Since college, the Clinton family has always found a way into my life.

On Wednesday, President Bill Clinton found his way to the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville to campaign for his buddy, Terry McAuliffe, who’s running for governor of Virginia.

I was one of a handful of reporters inside the theater for the event. Clinton is an engaging speaker. He’s very understated, he has a dry sense of humor, and he’s got some sort of deadpan delivery. It’s just fun to watch.

Covering Clinton this week made me think back to 2008. It was a time when then Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were fighting for the Democratic nomination for president. The Pennsylvania Primary was the first call for voters in six weeks, and the race was contentious.

Chelsea Clinton went to Philadelphia a handful of times. At one event, she spoke at a small restaurant in Fairmount. As she schmoozed with the crowd afterward, I stood on top of a chair with my camera to try getting some different shots. That’s when I met Felipe, the Secret Service agent who lifted me up and brought be down.

I covered primary night for The Temple News, and I was at the Clinton victory party at the Bellevue. I was a junior in college, playing ball with CNN, Fox News and some reporter from Australia who was standing next to me. As the night progressed, I was feeling pretty awesome.

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A Very TTN Reunion: Why then and now mean so much


They say the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Little did I know when I wrote those very words just seconds ago, the person who (roughly) said that was Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a French journalist. Google is a wonderful thing.

Little did Mr. Alphonse Karr know when he wrote those very words just 160 years ago, he was talking about The Temple News.

First, let me explain what The Temple News is. It’s not a part-time job. It’s not a student organization. It’s not even a student newspaper. It’s a multimedia news organization in Philadelphia.

Second, let me explain my involvement. I never aspired to be editor-in-chief. I, as a young and naïve freshman broadcast journalism major, didn’t think it was a possibility. In hindsight, I’m sure glad it happened. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Snowbody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen


Sometimes, a liveshot goes so right until it goes so wrong.

In my three years in Charlottesville, I’ve covered two hurricanes, a derecho, a microburst, a few heat waves and an earthquake.

(Yes, I had to look up some of those words, too.)

All of that prepared me for the most complicated weather coverage yet: snow.

When I first moved to Charlottesville, there was about a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Then, two more systems over the next month dumped an additional 18 inches each. Since then, relatively nothing.

I had to shovel my four-wheel drive SUV out of my parking lot and got to work around 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the snow. By this point, about 6 to 8 inches had fallen.

I got to work to discover the phone lines at the station were down. That meant reporters in the field (as I was supposed to be) had no official contact back at the station, namely to the anchor desk to hear the anchors toss to the field.

What to do? Improvise.

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Freedom of Information Act: Gift or nuisance?

A new article from the Washington Post says the drama between University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and Rector Helen Dragas has far from passed.

The article, wonderfully written by Jenna Johnson, suggests a “struggle for control of the university’s agenda and priorities” continues behind the scenes, as evidenced by numerous emails obtained by the Washington Post.

The emails show Dragas sent Sullivan a list of 65 goals to achieve before the end of the school year, something Sullivan contested as being unrealistic. Sullivan suggested this in an email to the university’s governing body, the Board of Visitors.

“I am not averse to stretch goals,” Sullivan said in emails, according to the article, “but I also do not care to be set up to fail.”

The article goes on to ask one of the Board of Visitors’ newest members his thoughts on the tension. According to the article, Richmond businessman Willam H. Goodwin was “angry that the internal e-mail was shared with The Post and argued that the news media should not report on issues that cast U-Va. in a poor light. He said there is no tension between the board and the administration.”

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Is It News When It’s Legal?

As Americans still reeling from a national tragedy, we’re all a little more sensitive to particular issues — in this instance, guns.

An incident involving an assault rifle took place in Charlottesville Sunday night. As the acting weekend managing editor, I chose not to run the story that our television competition and local paper did.

It started on the police scanners in the newsroom. We heard that a man in his 20s was walking into a local grocery story carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. It was almost casual. According to the scanner traffic, he was not posing any other threat than carrying a weapon.

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