How shootings on Military Bases have become normal…
I found myself in Norfolk, Virginia Tuesday for coverage of a shooting that left a sailor dead and the alleged shooter killed as well.
In this job, there are lots of benefits but one benefit is really getting to know members of our military. It is heart breaking such a young man had to die and my thoughts are with the family.
What struck me with this story is how “normal” everything seemed to be after the news first broke.
Now I know it wasn’t a “Navy Yard – like” shooting, (I was there for that too last year) but in my opinion it was still a significant event!
The shooting happened around midnight and people went to work the next morning, tours on the base were not even cancelled.
Tourists told me after their visit everything looked “normal” – people at gas stations in the City didn’t even know the crime had happened.
Richmond is only an hour and a half from the base – the largest base in the world mind you – and I was the only reporter there. The other Richmond stations thought the TV stations in Norfolk could cover it for them. It was a VOSOT in the other Richmond stations’ shows.
There was no CNN satellite truck or NPR radio reporter. Indeed a shooting on a Navy Base, in fact on a Navy destroyer docked there, indeed is apparently “normal” in our new world.
What does that say about us?
Till next time -
It is amazing how fast news travels these days.
A story that years ago may have only been seen by a couple thousand – can now be easily scene by millions!
That is what happened to me this week regarding my Burger King Story.
The story is simple enough to understand – woman goes to Burger King, woman gets her receipt, woman is called a B**** A** H* on her receipt, woman gets upset, Burger King fires employee.
(There of course was ample fun to have while writing the piece “she didn’t have it her way” or “a ‘whopper’ of a complaint” might have been used once or twice.)
How the story developed is how so many good stories develop now a days – the woman posted the receipt on our facebook page and wanted CBS 6 to investigate. I jumped at the chance to get this story on air.
It happened on Sunday and although I knew this was going to be a story that I would have to wait until Monday to broadcast (getting a Burger King response on Sunday was going to be difficult) I nevertheless called the woman up and said can I come over and do the interview.
Part of the reason I went over and did the interview on Sunday even though I knew it wasn’t going to air that day was because I find that the more time people wait to be interviewed the more likely they are to come up with an excuse as to why they DONT want to be interviewed.
I cannot tell you how many times I have lost interviews with people because they had too much time to think about it.
So for any young reporters out there my advice is always get the interview on camera – it doesn’t have to be used for days but it guarantees the story makes air.
At any rate I digress, we knew the story was going to be a big deal so my web editor and I had a discussion about the headline.
(The headline is often the difference between going viral or not)
The original title was something along the lines of “Grandma moved to tears by restaurant receipt.”
Good title but I suggested to add Burger King in the title – people know the franchise and would be more likely to click on it if that is the case.
The more clicks – the more shares – and the more likely an international news site would pick it up.
Turns out I was right - in a matter of hours gawker, CNN, NY Daily News, Perez Hilton, Huffington Post, and virtually ever CNN affiliate had a version of our story on their website.
Many of those sites would include a link to the original story on our site which no doubt is the reason why we got tens of thousands of views in a matter of hours.
I am not a reporter who typically covers stories like this – I have interviewed presidential candidates, broadcasted live from mass shootings, exposed government abuse etc. – but its my B**** A** H* story that is now the most popular story I have ever broadcasted – and one that I will never forget.
Going Viral is pretty cool.
Thanks for visiting. I will try to post when time permits….but know I am always posting on twitter!