Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Five Seconds on Channel 7

Just saw the clip (here) after I got home from work. One of those cringe-inducing moments when you see what you actually look like.

Here's what really happened:

WJLA reporter Steve Tschida picks up on the DCist post about Shaw being the 2nd most blogginest neighborhood in the country, and sets out with his cameraman cruising our lovely streets looking for one of those hip, young bloggers. He waylays my neighbor, who outs me as a blogger, and they knock on my door. I happen to be home, having just dropped my mother off at National Airport, and answer the door while putting on my tie to go to work. I'm probably not exactly what they're looking for, being neither young nor hip, but they're on a deadline, so they'll take what they can get.

I agree to talk on camera, but am flustered because I'm late and totally unprepared with anything to say. He asks me the most obvious possible question ("Why so many blogs in Shaw?"), and I answer--basically--"Duh." Soon it's obvious that they're really just after the crime angle, so I gather my wits a little and point out that despite that extraordinary stolen bicycle footage, local bloggers aren't really a bunch of vigilantes taking pictures out their windows of crime in the street. I add that the blogs have really increased residents' awareness of what's happening in the neighborhood, not just crime, but lots of other issues--in my mind the biggest contribution they have made.

Then they want some action shots at the computer. I'm not sure what to do--posting some zingy comment isn't too exciting on screen, so I start scrolling through most of the Shaw blogs. Looks like they picked up shots of "In Shaw" and "Off Seventh". Then that was that.

Tschida hung around a little more, and I made a couple of suggestions about stories that they might cover that would be a lot more indicative of what's going on in Shaw. He might actually be interested because he lives just a few blocks away near Logan. Maybe, maybe not.

I have learned from sad experience that reporters almost never pick the parts of the interview you wish they would, so you just hope they won't pick the parts that make you look the dumbest. In this case, I think it's a shame that they made Shaw sound so much worse, crime-wise, than it actually is. That, by the way, was their spin--they didn't get it from me. And I wish they would have picked up on some of the other, more positive, aspects about life here that appear in the blogs.

Still, I guess it's always a bit of a thrill to be on TV--otherwise why would all those squealing throngs stand out in the cold and rain for the Today Show? Actually, this was the second time I've been on WJLA. I won a little money on Jeopardy back in the 90s, and it was amazing--people would actually recognize and stop me on the street. But alas, fame is fleeting, and soon no one was offering sexual favors for an autograph any more. ;-) Not expecting that kind of response from this. Sic transit gloria mundi.


At 4/25/2007 6:53 PM, Blogger Mari said...

...which is sometimes why I work slowly so I'm just fast enough for print but too slow for TV.
I personally know what mediums I work best in and TV ain't one of them. Tried it once, that was enough. Remember this piece when you are ever approached again by a professional TV journalist, independent film maker, or any one else involved in the moving visual arts.

At 4/25/2007 6:53 PM, Blogger si said...

darlin you looked fabulous as usual. It really is too bad how the media distills the story of shaw into superficial sound bites every time they decide to give us a little attention. More often than not, this selective reporting really presents an inaccurate picture to the public. Of course this was especially infuriating during the election but so much more important when the bullets are flying. what we do with our incessant big mouths & overactive yammering really fills in that void. Little by little the truth comes out, the people get wise, and more and more of us get involved. That ultimately is what will strengthen this community.

I knew you were wise Daddy-Oh but damn! jeopardy!

At 4/25/2007 8:19 PM, Anonymous rr 446 said... rock and are a real asset to the hood...
and Si, i hope you're feeling better soon.

At 4/25/2007 8:35 PM, Anonymous Cary said...

Reporters often have the story written and are just looking for quotes or footage to fill in the gaps and put a face on it by the time they reach us. That seemed to be the case here. The trick, if we can figure out how to do it better, is to shape the story at the beginning. That said, I thought you did a very good job and while not the story we would most like to tell, I think it will have some benefits for police responsiveness and possibly putting local criminals on notice that people are watching and recording (by blog, video, or both).

At 4/26/2007 2:26 PM, Anonymous ak said...

What are you talking about? I think it's a totally positive story for the neighborhood -- being one of the most wired in the nation. I forwarded the DCist story to my whole family. The gentrification story is old. This is a new twist on it.

At 4/27/2007 7:11 AM, Blogger si said...

thanks rr, I feel peachy but wearing glasses really blows!

At 4/27/2007 12:04 PM, Anonymous beilttogmot said...

That guy with the stolen bike is kinda cute, does he need comforting?


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