8:55 am. I arrive at One Monroe Place, and stalk the back door at WXIA. I’m hoping an employee with a key card arrives and will let me into the building. I have no key card. It’s my first day of employment there.
8:59 am. A man arrives whom I’ve never met. Ignoring my naturally malevolent bearing, he gives me a friendly wave and lets me in the door.
9:00 am. Two other employees arrive. “We’re new too!” they say. I race them through the door, hoping my earlier arrival into the building will give me seniority.
9:15am. The noon producer improbably offers to give me the nickel tour of the building. The most intriguing stop is the ping-pong table, where two men play with gusto. It’s adjacent to the workout room.
9:30 am. Morning editorial meeting. I sit on the fringes with the photographers, out of range of the web-cam. I contribute next-to-nothing.
10am. Key card, ID, cell phone issued.
10:15am to 11:30. Training for uploading stories on-line, training on I-News (newsroom software I already knew), and Outlook e-mail.
11:30 – 1pm. Look busy. Eat homemade sandwich. Decline invitation to participate in a meeting about NBC programming.
1pm. Browbeat veteran photog into teaching me the basics of Avid video editing software.
2 – 3pm. Fitfully view, then commandeer the Avid training session.
3pm. Afternoon editorial meeting. I sit on the fringes with the photographers, out of range of the web-cam. I contribute next-to-nothing.
4pm. The bosslady encourages me to attend a meeting about an upcoming special broadcast. The meeting isn’t webcast like the other meetings. I sit at the table. I contribute next-to-nothing. After the meeting is over, I pitch an idea for the broadcast. The bosslady politely appears to buy into it.
4:30 to 5pm. Look busy. Play with new cell phone that won’t work because its previous user’s password has locked it. With uncharacteristic calm prevailing in the newsroom, I retreat to the commissary. Call wife. Watch two employees playing ping-pong with gusto.
6pm. Head into Control Room to watch the 6pm news. The control room has two producers, one technical director. Director and associate producers plus chyron and prompter operators are nowhere to be seen. All the stories are well-told. Two live shots inexplicably flicker to black.
6:30pm. Exit, asking the bosslady if I can cover the one weird / fun story on the books for Tuesday. I get a definite maybe, and an assurance that my second day will be more productive than my first.