Many people keep asking me, “How did you meet
the weatherman Aaron?” Well, there were a few steps to us meeting:
1. We went to the same grade school
2. We went to the same high school (I was a grade above him), we never spoke in grade school or high school; but school was pretty small, so we did know each others name.
3. We went off to college and eventually both interned at the same TV station in Rockford, IL. I was a news reporter intern while he interned in weather (both during separate semesters).
4. Because of us going to the same high school and interning at the same TV station, we became Facebook friends. We still debate who ‘friended’ who, but we both decided to meet up at a classy joint in Rockford (RBI) to talk over a few beers about our experience as interns.
5. And that my friends, is the romantic story of how we met.
The part of the story you may be forgetting, and may be curious about, is how I did as an intern and why I am not in news reporting today.
I was fortunate enough to intern twice at WIFR. They pulled me in for an interview after they viewed my resume and asked me a question I was incredibly prepared for, “What are your top strengths?” I had studied interviewing and had just finished a class on it, so I had all the right answers and key phrases to really WOW them on what an amazing reporter I was going to be. One of my top answers was that I ‘paid attention to detail’. The news director said, “Really? Tell me an example”. I made something up about me playing tennis, and blah, blah, blah…I thought I did pretty well BS-ing my answer and could move onto the next question. The news director listened to my answer and pulled out the cover letter I had submitted to him and said, “Mind reading the first line to me?”
My heart stopped.
I did NOT pay attention to detail when I submitted my cover letter to WIFR.
The first line of my cover letter was:
“Written and verbal communications are two of my strongest areas of expertise. Through my hard work of making honor roll at the University of Akron studying Communications and juggling being on the tennis team I have a combination of skills that makes me the best candidate to intern at the David Letterman Show.”
The David Letterman Show?…What the hell was my problem!? I must have mixed up my cover letters and envelopes!
I had to think quickly, so I came back by saying how I’m a ‘real go-getter’ and have BIG aspirations in TV and, ‘Don’t you want an intern who is reaching for the stars trying to work for David Letterman?”
Well they gave me a chance and hired me on at $0/hour.
To make up for my lack of ‘paying attention to detail’ I wanted to prove that I was the right choice for the internship. I worked my butt off that summer. I went on every story they’d let me go on, I learned the editing system, I wrote stories, I learned how the cameras worked, I helped run the teleprompter, I went to the horrible town hall meetings and school board meetings that no other ‘real’ reporter ever wanted to go to because they were SO BORING.
As a reward for all my hard work, they allowed me to be on air. I was able to do a live ‘phoner’ about a car accident and I also had a package air about a volunteer group my mom and I worked at and brought attention to a great cause. I don’t want to brag, but I’m going to…I was only one of two interns EVER to be on air. I was convinced I had set myself up for a job once I graduated. All the hard work was going to pay off, the news director was proud of me, the staff appreciated all the work I had put in, and everyone was saying how they couldn’t wait for me to graduate…I made it!
Here is where I killed myself. I asked to practice reading stories as an anchor. This required a lot of people at the station to help me with this endeavor. I needed a camera operator and a few people in master control to stick around after hours to run through the news cast that just aired. They teased me all summer saying they’d let me do it, then it never happened because there was breaking news, or it was dinner break, or *insert any excuse here*. But one glorious day, all the stars aligned- they pulled me from the editing bay and said, “Hurry get in there! We have 10 minutes for you to run through the first Block.”
AHHH! I was elated! I was finally going to get to practice being an anchor!
Sudden panic took over me as I was getting the microphone on. I hadn’t read through the script at all, now I’m suddenly supposed to be as good as an anchor?!
I can hardly prepare you for what you are about to watch. I can’t decide if I should tell you to just listen to my voice and the lack of proper voice inflection, or if I should have you look at my hair (what is going on with my hair?), even better is how I’m as stiff as a stick and look like a deer in headlights, but I have 3 favorite part I’d really like you to pay attention to:
1. :45- ‘Camera Transition’
2. 1:38: “…Oops I’m still reading”
3. 2:40 ‘Camera Transition’-again
And now you know the reason why I’m NOT the one in broadcast.