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.
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.
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.
A blurred screenshot of said reporter committing said act on live television. It looks better this way.
You’ve probably seen the video. A dramatic local news reporter who quit her job on air by dropping the theoretical microphone (aka the F-bomb) on live TV.
Some people are calling it funny and badass. I’m calling it unethical and disrespectful.
I’m not posting the video. Or her (fake TV) name. Or her pro-marijuana “business.” She doesn’t deserve that kind of exposure, not because of the cause, but because of the way she presented it.
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.
The Associated Press Stylebook is basically my Bible.
Now, however, I feel as if I’m led astray.
Last week, the folks at the AP made a drastic change. I don’t use the term “drastic” loosely when I talk about style.
The AP has decided that “over” is an acceptable substitute for “more than” when talking about numbers.
I had to read about the change more than 10 times before the magnitude of such a change sunk in. (See what I did there?)
Such a concept has been a core of the AP Stylebook for decades, one that I learned as a journalism student and one that I implemented as a college newspaper editor. And it’s a rule I’ve continued to – and will continue to – use professionally (and personally – whom am I kidding?).
Sure, I may have allowed the misspelling of the word “commitment” on the front page of some 10,000 copies of The Temple News. But I swear you never saw an “over” where a “more than” should have been.
We all make mistakes.
A screen capture of my Twitter timeline.
It’s so hard to cram so much into 140 characters.
I have several categories of tweets I send. My main requirement is that I must find what I type interesting – the thought process being that I can make something interesting to someone else.
Sometimes, that entails retweeting the governor of Virginia. Sometimes, that entails retweeting Wawa. Because I love Wawa.
My tweeting categories range from work-related tweets to Charlottesville happenings to hometown pride to “just for fun.” A number of my followers rely on my Twitter account to know about what’s in the news (recently, I tweeted updates from the scene of a plane crash in Albemarle County). But not all my tweets are Charlottesville-specific, as not all of my followers are specific to Charlottesville.