Friday, July 18, 2008
A Day in the Life
Back to work today - I could get used to a schedule like this. One day off, a day on, two days off, work another day and then....the weekend! Sadly, this won't happen again for awhile. But it was a great breather.
Fridays are my day to work on The Show. And I had a full day scheduled. As usual, it started off a little strangely. I knew I had to interview someone at eleven and I'd written her name in my planner...but I couldn't remember why I was going to talk to her.
It's a strange feeling to know a name and a number and not have a clue why you were going to be talking. Fortunately, after a fruitless internet search for her name, I found a file card I'd made with one word on it: Thailand. That was enough. She was a woman I'd spoken to for a news story and in the course of conversation she revealed that she had just returned to the States after moving to Thailand. She and her husband had retired, packed their bags and moved there a couple of years ago. The only reason they'd returned was that the rental on their home in the States hadn't worked out and they had to come back to do repairs and figure out what to do next. Selling isn't an option in the current economy and she was asked to return to her old job on a temporary basis, so she seemed happy with the situation. But I wanted to know what it had been like, pulling up stakes and moving somewhere so completely different.
The main thing that struck me after I spoke with her today was the story she told me about going to the local markets after she'd lived there awhile and people telling her it was time she spoke to them in their own language.
"You live here, you stay here, you speak Thai," she was told.
It sounded a lot like what I hear around the U.S. these days.
That interview was immediately followed by a phone call to the sustainability department head at Ford Motors. She's a nice young woman with an engineering degree whose job is to steer Ford into the future.
"Is there a perception in the industry that maybe you're all getting on board too late?" I asked her.
"Maybe a little. But we've started now and all we can do is the best we can."
The next interview (I told you it was a full day) was the woman who hosts the women's issues page at About.com. I first got in touch with her when I got The Show and she was very enthusiastic about getting involved. She used to have a radio show and she misses it. I figured she'd be a great person to talk to about women in the media. It's an upcoming theme on The Show (I have a great interview with Barbara Walters courtesy the host of another show at the station) and she'd written an editorial about the flap over CBS's Lara Logan. I didn't know who Logan was, but I watched some of her reports on YouTube and was particularly taken with her interview on The Daily Show. She told Jon Stewart that if she watched the news the rest of us watched, she'd want to blow her brains out. That's what I call refreshing candor.
About.com's Linda Lowen thinks the tabloid's fascination with Logan's personal life wouldn't exist if Logan wasn't a beautiful woman. She compares Logan to Jessica Savitch...another smart, savvy woman who moved up fast in broadcasting. That sent me on a hunt for Savitch and I came up with gold - a very frank interview she did with David Letterman after she wrote her book, Anchorwoman. Savitch said what ticked her off the most was when she was referred to as a 'newsgirl'.
"Just once I'd like to see someone say, 'And today, newsboy Tom Brokaw said...'."
Linda and I enthusiastically agreed that we love CNN's Candy Crowley because she breaks every mold and every myth...and she does a damned good job without anyone making a big deal about it. Here's where you can see what Linda has to say on a lot of topics. www.womensissues.about.com
My last interview of the day was with two women from Project Vote Smart. They're trying very hard to make people aware they exist. I'm amazed everyone doesn't know. If you don't, you should go to www.votesmart.org
They are a non-partisan, non-profit group that keeps painstaking records of every politician's vote on every issue and makes that information available to the public free of charge. Their goal is to make voters able to make educated choices at the polls.
I asked them about the presidential campaign and they said although John McCain and Barack Obama have some clear differences on the issues, the one unfortunate thing they have in common is the way they campaign. Candidates, they have found, don't want to be too open about their own stands on the the issues...it's not good for the campaign. Instead, they poll voters, find out where their own strengths are and where their opponents are weakest, and campaign on those issues. That's something the people from Vote Smart think is unfortunate, and also something they don't see changing anytime soon. It's how our elections are run.
I spent the last couple of hours of the day editing the women in the news-themed show. That's a fun job...playing with a computer editing program, chopping up sound files, adding music and creating a finished product. It's a lot like a video game.
The bad news is that's not the next show scheduled to air. That one is almost ready to go, but I'm holding on until the last moment in hopes of getting a woman considered 'the voice of Tibet' to talk to me in time for a show that airs the day a peaceful candelight protest is scheduled against China's policy on Tibet.
If things went smoothly, I'd have nothing to stress about. And what fun would that be?