Archive for August, 2007

Jane’s Take: 25 Years On NBC 5

Saturday night my friends and co-workers will gather to celebrate the 25 years that I have been fortunate to anchor NBC5 news.

If you’re a viewer, you only see a few faces on our newscast; reporters, occassionally photographers, and most often the anchors. What you may not realize is that there are dozens and dozens of dedicated people behind the scenes, without whom our news would never get on the air. The technical staff that physically gets the product on the broadcast signal, the writers who spend hours crafting stories, the producers who have the tough job of deciding which stories are relevant to our viewers, and the studio crew who tells you when your hair is out of place or you have lipstick on your teeth. Those are just a few of the people who do the jobs that get the news on the air every single day. The news never takes a vacation.

I’ve been very blessed in my career. I came to Texas never expecting that I would be able to make a home here, raise a family here, and spend a wonderful career with people
I truly have come to love. The NBC5 newsroom is filled with some of the most talented, dedicated, and genuine people I could ever hope to work with. Many days, spending time with my NBC5 friends is the best part of going to work!

So as I take stock of the years I have been on the air at KXAS-TV, I just want to say thank you to all the people who have helped me every day, all along the way. Thank you will never
be enough, but it’s a start.

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Jane’s Take: Reporting Life-Changing Events

NBC 5 captured the heat, flames, and and billowing smoke of the huge gas explosion near downtown Dallas Wednesday as it happened. Bringing viewers the immediate action in a breaking news situation is one of the things television does best.

But when we broadcast these dramatic images they usually, sadly, involve North Texans just going about the work of their day. In this case, two workers and a truck driver were injured.

It will be at least hours, probably days, before we know how seriously they were hurt. Recently, we watched in horror as two sheriff’s deputies were shot during a dramatic standoff that started out as a domestic dispute. Then there are the stories that don’t make the top headlines. They are just items mentioned within our newscast. A construction worker fatally injured on the job. A convenience store worker shot dead just trying to make a living for his family.

By definition, news is what is unusual. NBC 5 is in the business of bringing you news. But when the story is over, and the producers, reporters and photographers have a moment to think about what they just witnessed, there is almost always a victim whose life was changed by the events of the day.

Tonight, as we watch the incredible pictures of those massive explosions, we’ll hold out hope for the families, friends, and co-workers of those injured today; and most of all for the victims themselves.

Jane’s Take: Amber Hagerman Case

People often ask me which stories are the most difficult to cover.

As a reporter, and mother, they always involve children. Can you imagine the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach if your child disappeared? Can you imagine the agony Amber’s mother suffered as hour after hour passed, with no sign of her daughter?

Reporters are emotionally affected by wrenching stories like this, and I still remember the frenzy in the newsroom that day Amber disappeared as we tried to get any information on the air that might help police find her. We always hope that we can help people in trouble. But as the hours passed, our hope began to slip away. We knew from experience that the first hours were critical.

Today in the newsroom when word came down that there might be a suspect in Amber’s murder, the newsroom went into a frenzy once again. We couldn’t help the first time, but maybe this time we can. People need to know who perpetrated this horrible crime. People need to know who stole this young child’s life, and the innocence of many other children.

And people need to know who left a hole in the heart of Amber’s mother, which will never heal.

Maybe that’s why we all rushed to help get the information on the air. Maybe this time we can do some good.

Jane’s Take: Lindsay Lohan

So Lindsay Lohan is already in trouble again. What is her problem? She has everything most people would envy: beauty, fame, and fortune. And yet she seems determined to self-destruct.

But Lindsay isn’t alone. We have conversations about celebrities like Lindsay frequently in the newsroom.

Newy and I talk about it with respect to sports. How could an athlete who makes millions of dollars doing something he loves to do throw it all away for drugs, women, or gambling. Don’t these celebrities appreciate all they have?

I don’t think Lindsay and those athletes are all that different. Most celebrities have been used all their lives. No one ever tells them “no”. No one ever sets limits. Most people enable them as long as it helps keep them famous, in the limelight. Because sadly enough, celebrities usually have very few real friends. For most people it’s all about basking in the extended glow of the celebrity.

So we watch Lindsay and others like her slowly unravel.

It’s not an excuse of bad celebrity behavior. But maybe it’s not all their fault.

Jane’s Take: Harry Potter Series

My nephew, along with millions of other kids, is counting the minutes ’til midnight when the final Harry Potter book hits the shelves. I confess my son has never read a word of Harry Potter. He was living in Pokemon world when the first Potter books were released and just never got hooked.

But the excitement over Harry Potter got me thinking about reading, and how much it changed my life.

Growing up in a town of 4,800 people was a pretty small world. I remember walking to the public library on hot summer days and sitting in the cool of the big stone building, deciding which books I would check out for the next week. One summer I read the entire Nancy Drew series. Another summer I was enthralled by a series of books on famous people like George Washington Carver, Abigail Adams and President Lincoln.

Those books brought a whole big world of ideas and possibilities to my middle-school mind. They showed me that people from all walks of life and circumstances had achieved great things. In short, they inspired me.

So as we cover the release of the final Harry Potter book, I’ll be thinking of how much fun it was as a kid to get to know the characters in a book, follow the story and get so engrossed that I couldn’t put the book down.

Today, my reading is mostly non-fiction: newspapers, magazine, the Internet. But reading still gives me the same gift it did those many years ago. It broadens my world, forces me to think about different points of view and opens up all kinds of possibilities. Here’s to Harry Potter.