Live Shot from 300 Feet Up

The most extraordinary live shot I ever worked on was the one we broadcast from the top of a wind turbine. We also had a wireless camera system on the roof of a building across the street, which was able to provide perspective on how high up we actually were. We had to climb up a ladder inside the turbine to get to the top. (It’s harder and scarier than you think.) I pitched and produced this story, which focused on Mesalands Community College’s green-collar job training program.

Running into the Storm

“Why is it that all you news people want to come in while everyone else is rushing to get out,” the man at the rental car counter asked me. I had been sent to Louisiana to cover Hurricane Gustav with Reporter Mary Thompson. Many people believed it could be the next big storm after Hurricane Katrina. We went armed with a list of supplies and best practices from other hurricane news veterans.

We were originally posted in New Orleans but when it looked like the storm might head west, we drove to the industrial center on the banks of Lake Charles. It was my responsibility to find a live spot that could provide not only a suitable backdrop for our story but shelter from a potentially horrible storm as well. I was also in charge of securing accommodations for our four-person crew in a stressful environment with many places closing down. I found everything we needed at L’Auberge du Lac, a hotel and casino right on the Lake Charles waterway. The management team there kept their doors open for employees and emergency crews during the storm.

The storm impact wasn’t as bad as many had anticipated but we still did more than a dozen live hits that day for CNBC and MSNBC.

You Had Me at Small Plane

Broadcasting from the Maine seaside during the summer may not sound like a tough assignment, but getting our crew to an island 20 miles off the coast presented a host of logistical challenges. With no regular ferry, we headed out on one of the first small planes of the day. I coordinated our access to the island, interviews and a live shot on the mainland.

The result was a picturesque piece expertly told by NBC News Correspondent Janet Shamlian. “NBC Nightly News” cut a version of the story for their weekend edition.