Word is that local TV news crews began showing up at the Atlanta home of 106-year old Ann Nixon Cooper as early as 1:30 Wednesday morning.
Cooper is the woman referenced repeatedly in President-elect Barack Obama’s victory speech Tuesday.
No field personnel would actually pitch such a ridiculous idea. It came from a manager, probably with a corner office, whose calendar just flipped to November.
Kinda makes you wonder: What kind of material might a TV station expect to gather at the home of a very old lady at 1:30 in the morning? Are you craven enough to actually insist that a reporter knock on the door at that hour? Or does the reporter simply launch a stakeout?
The answer, one would hope, is the latter. Perhaps your live truck engine (and those of your competitors) make enough noise that somebody inside pokes an eye through the curtains to check the source of the racket. If the door cracks open, you beeline toward it.
(Have you disobeyed an order by failing to knock on the door at 1:30am as directed? If you’ve walked to the door, tapped on it with a fingernail, then walked away — then the answer is no.)
You’re there to play defense: Let your competitor be the fool to bang on the door, then invite yourself along in the unlikely event that the 106 year old woman grants a 2am interview. If a limo shows up with a network producer inside, then it’s time to start getting aggressive and ridiculous.
Maybe we’re the only ones who find the very notion very tawdry. Yes, Joe the Plumber got similar treatment. But Joe wasn’t a 106-year old woman.
Turns out Cooper’s caregiver spoke to the assembled and politely asked them to leave, inviting them to return after daybreak.
Cooper graciously granted interviews to all comers. The stories had an unexpected element: Obama personally phoned her a few days ago, and she missed the call. The call is on her answering machine, and it’s not a robo-call.
Cooper wasn’t a great interview. But the local story was a must-have. Doesn’t mean, though, that it’s a must-have at 1:30am.