Practice for the Big Time

All the credit for that video goes to CTBlogger via Youtube. I just wanted to put the video up, in case you missed it.

I covered the recent U.S. Senate debate at UConn on Thursday night and I wanted to share a few things that I learned from that experience.

I wasn’t supposed to cover it, but a coworker fell ill and I was asked to fill in. I, of course, accepted and for the story click Murphy, McMahon in attack mode. I think it came out okay. I think it could have been better, but I say that about every story I write. 

It was nice to see all the pros there, including Susan Haigh, Mark Pazniokas, Daniela AltimariChristine Stuart and Don Michak, among others.

I was honored to be in their presence. I doubt many of them knew who I was or what paper I was from, but that’s okay. I have no problem with that.

What set me a part from them, from the get go, was that I didn’t bring my laptop. I had thrown the idea around in my head all day, but I decided against actually bringing it. Why I did that, I have no idea. It was really the worst idea in the history of dumb decisions.

If you learn anything from me over the last 150 posts, always learn from my mistakes.

My notes weren’t bad, but I seriously underestimated how fast both candidates would talk. I really should have known better. If anything, I should have just brought my laptop with me and decided during the debate if I needed it or not. I really would have gotten a much better story had I done that.

My view of the debate.

 I don’t think my story suffered too much because I ended up re-watching the debate before I wrote the story, anyway.

Other than my note-taking catastrophe, everything else was fine.

It was really something to see how fast the pros do it. They all filed their stories by 10 p.m., with many having stories up by 9 p.m. That’s insane, considering the debate ended at 8 p.m. and was followed by another half-hour of the spin room, where the candidates answered questions and further elaborated on where they stand on the issues.

It was also pretty cool to be in the spin room, after the debate, with the veteran reporters yelling out questions to the candidates. I didn’t ask anything, but I wanted to stay after the debate for the experience. There was no pecking order. It was who could talk louder and faster. The candidates actually opened up a bit and it was nice to see them as real people and not the faces and voices we see on TV.

I knew I was going to have fun, but practice like that isn’t something you get on a daily basis and I was proud to represent the Chronicle.

I wasn’t surprised to see the camaraderie among the reporters there. They all know each other, from working in the press room at the capitol in Hartford. It was nice to see them all laugh and have fun, while being on such tight deadlines. I can imagine the stress that goes into covering something like that. I know it’s not easy, but for them, I’m sure they’ve done it a million times. They have their own “family.” It’s another reason for me to keep my head down and work hard. It be nice to have those skills and be able to cover events like that on a regular basis.

So, the next time you are going to a debate or special event, of any kind, make sure you bring both your laptop and your notebook.

You’ll thank me later.



One Response to Practice for the Big Time

  1. Pingback: Worry about You « Just Starting Out

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