Day one

The new guy

The new guy

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.

WXIA control room, 8.10.09, 5:58pm

WXIA control room, 8.10.09, 5:58pm

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.

This entry was posted in WXIA on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

22 thoughts on “Day one

  1. Jim


    As everyone else has said, it’ll be great to have you back on the air. Sadly, WXIA is on the verge of losing my wife as a fan, and she’s always been my indicator of what a station is doing right and/or wrong.

    She was watching last night, and between the “CIA” guys in suits and Commuter Dude II she said that it’s turning into a Saturday night live skit of a news show. I’m sitting here watching it this morning, and I would have to agree.

    Watched the CIA guys talk about a woman who quit a good job when she got hired for a better one, only to be fired 2 weeks later when they finally got around to running her credit. They guys did the whole investigative thing, or at least they tried to. However, when they “confronted” the former employer, they were far, far too timid. They sounded more like the class introvert than the class bully, and that won’t work. I couldn’t help but imagine Bill Liss on the phone with this company. “I understand that you have a credit reporting requirement, but do YOU understand that this woman quit a good job, and was never told that she was going to have her credit checked, then was never told why her credit score didn’t pass, which is a clear violation of the fair credit reporting act.” Instead, these guys were barely even asking the question, and were a long ways from forceful. They need to be locked in a room with tapes of Liss, Fowle, Russell, and Saltzman for a day, then given a testosterone shot and unleashed on the world.

    Then we have Commuter Dude verison 2.0. Nice guy, and this could be useful, but it just adds another layer of cheese. And what’s with the little vest…if he’s going to wear one, it should at least look like a real traffic vest. My wife’s comment when she saw it was, “oh look, they even bought him a little uniform” and I agree with her, it looks like they’re letting him play dress up. Does that vest even meet the Class II requirements (it’s supposed to if he’s on the right of way) or is it just for show? I know, I know, reflective tape is hard to light, but without a real vest it just looks cheesy.

    WXIA needs to understand that, for most of us, cheese is an accessory that is added to the sandwich. Most of us want some meat in there someplace. I’m hopeful that this may be what Doug can bring to the table (if he ever quits sitting with the shooters:-).

    1. Dash Riptide

      Ditto. I watched 11 Alive last night for a change. It wasn’t just cheese; it was badly executed cheese. These appear to be decent, competent people who are being made to look awkward through no fault of their own. I pitied them.

  2. s

    I try to watch them. Homnestly, unwatchable. Love the promo … a “different type of newscast.” Yeah, a bad newscast.

  3. Benny

    8pm Shirtless General Manager playing ping- pong against employees. At stake their 401k’s and medical insurance. 2 men in Engineering lose 2010 vacation pay in spirited doubles match against Bill Liss and GM. This never happened at WAGA. Having second thoughts about WXIA part-time gig. Might multi task on Falcons Face to Face and Live truck detailing.

  4. Jolly Roger

    The ping pong table was purchased just days after the mandatory across the board paycuts were announced… mmmm?

    BTW, the floor director rolls the prompter via a remote control.

  5. beth

    They have a workout room! But do they have a SHOWER? Because if they have a shower, I’m going to be seriously pissed.

  6. Scott H.

    Dear Doug,
    As Han Solo once said, “Good luck. Your gonna need it.”

    Go get ’em. And for goodness sakes, get them to wake up and really utilize the Web site, even if it is just integrating a account for live video.

  7. Dale Russell

    Ping pong tables?

    At WGST All News Radio, back in 1980 or so, we invented chair racing. Using the time code on our recording machines, we would hit the start button, race down the newsroom hallway in our news chair on wheels, stop at the news director’s office, push hard off the wall, and race back, hitting the button for an exact time.
    Dennis Dumler, Dave Shea and others treated it like our own private NASCAR races. I’m pretty sure I briefly held a world record. That is, until one of the heavier ones put a foot through the news director’s wall during a frenzied push off.
    That ended the races.

    Who needed ping pong?

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