When I’m not receiving packages, making coffee’s or answering phones 9-5, I’m out in the world trying to make my parents proud (and draw as much attention to myself as physically possible).
Sometimes my attention seeking takes the form of some volunteer reporting.
Oh boy, I’ve covered some of the biggest stories in volunteer journalism history, Indoor Volleyball courts, School Marathons, knitting clubs, rotary auctions, Panda exhibits… If it’s local and it’s community, your friendly neighborhood Foreign Correspondent will be there.
Usually the shoots are last minute and my preparation involves a five minute Google search and then a 20 minute mental scroll through my (limited) wardrobe, followed by a 20 minute argument with myself over what to to wear. There is not always a lot you can prepare for, for some of these events, often there is no more than a sentence online, outlining where and when and some variation of “come on dowwwwwwwn folks”.
As much as I tease, community events are really fun. People are eager to talk to you, and nobody has an ego (except for my VERY first ever interview on camera where an unexpected Z List “celebrity” chef was in attendance and tried to draw attention away from the kids at the fundraiser we were at – turns out he was AWFUL on camera and his PR pitbull was such a cow, she totally had me shaking with nerves and I fucked up tonnes of questions. As soon as he left we re-shot the whole thing again). People are usually just so happy that we came out and are shining a life (however small) on their achievements.
I don’t take myself very seriously during interviews (playing the dumb, blonde Australian works for me) but I treat the people I talk to with the respect they deserve. Okay maybe I’M not personally passionate about miniature trains or don’t know that much about the South Indian dance community, but there are people out there where that is a big part of their LIFE. And I think that’s pretty rad, frankly.
So it was with this attitude last Sunday, that I headed out to cover the East End Easter Parade. It is what it sounds like, a local parade with people from the community marching, with floats, and an appearance by the holidays finest representative, The Easter Bunny. I wasn’t really given much information outside of where to be and when. I hadn’t worked with this particular producer before, but I knew I would be out in the crowd grabbing sound bites from the audience when we took quick breaks from the coverage. I’m friendly and generally like things like parades! So off I went. No biggie.
When I arrived at the live-eye van, which had all sorts of wires coming out of it, I finally met a fellow reporter, Amy, for the first time. We are facebook friends and I’ve seen her perky self on the channel a bunch of times, but we had never actually met in person. She was going to give live blow-by-blows of the parade with a Canadian Olympic medalist….
Except he never showed.
Or actually he did. We spotted him waving to the crowd, perched in an open top car about an hour into our coverage. I began in the crowd but was quickly drafted to the booth to work with Amy narrating the parade. That’s a tough gig to do solo. And we had fun with it. We cracked jokes, I played the dumb blonde, we threw some cheesy stuff in there. Amy is smart, outgoing and way better at Twitter and social media engagement than I am (I can do social media when it doesn’t involve me – I used to be social media coordinator for an Australian reality show but I find it awkward to tweet about myself). Amy was tweeting some during the parade.
And then we both experienced something for the very first time… we got our first Twitter hater!
The tweet has been taken down or I’m just that bad at Twitter now that I can’t find it but the original nastiness read:
@Quick_A @ohparis Talk less and do your research next time. My ears are bleeding from listening to your useless banter. #knuckleheads
I think as far as twitter rage goes, we got off pretty lightly.
Amy engaged with this “Mark E” person, but I was busy Sunday night making questionable decisions and getting up to other knucklehead like antics.
Upon further snooping of this bastion of philosophy and helpful “constructive criticism” twitter feed I found the following:
“@CP24 all I’ve learned by watching you is where to sell my jewelry, how to contact a lawyer and that the weather sucks. Thanks“
@Thirteenmark13, April 8th (For those of you that don’t know – CP24 is another news source)
I suppose it is safe to say that it is not just my fellow wanna-be reporter and I who have offended the truly discerning sensibilities of this internet troll.
Well to each their own. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
And mine is this: I strive to do my best in any and all undertakings. Rather than sitting on my couch tweeting at young reporters-in-training, I was actually at a lovely community parade, reporting on it. Quipping lame jokes, mingling with the community, and hopefully learning more and more about live TV.
Anyone can take a pot shot at someone else from behind the anonymity of the internet, it takes courage and guts to put yourself out there – ESPECIALLY on live Television, and not for a second am I not proud of what I have achieved in the last 18 months since that fateful first, terrible interview.
Yup, I say inane, bantery-type bullshit, and yup, I come across as ditzy, maybe even a knucklehead on camera. People LOVE being interviewed by me and I LOVE learning about them and their interests and what makes them tick. People are fascinating.
Even the trolls I guess.
And you know what this means now right?! I’m famous enough to have my first hater! Obscurity here I don’t. I need to get all new friends and all new clothes.
Catch you at the Pulitzer’s ThirteenMark13… oh no wait… I won’t.