Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Up Close and Personal

Remember the movie Up Close and Personal? Michelle Pfieffer as the TV reporter? Robert Redford and the fateful boots?  Celine Dion's Because You Love Me?

Remember the scene at the end with the awards show? The lights and the music and the industry folks all gathered together? Well, that happens in real life, and it happened last week in D.C. Only with network and cable reporters, and naturally, without Celine et al....
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and CBS news anchor Russ Mitchell

Despite my having dropped out of the television business a decade ago, I still wound up in a ballroom with a great view of Wolf Blitzer and other famous-for-DC and famous-to-news junkie types at the RTNDA First Amendment Awards dinner.

Patrick, CNN's Candy Crowley and Shannon

Shannon, because she is hip to what goes down in the Disctrict, invited my co-worker, Patrick (another TV has-been) and me to join her.

I had a great evening...and not just because I saw Chris Hansen from Dateline getting his shoes shined, and not just because I got to spend a random Thursday dining at the Ritz with two of my best friends...

Several radio + TV journalists were honored for the work they did nearly 10 years ago on 9/11.  Each spoke briefly about their experiences as they accepted their awards, and the remarks were amazing: eloquent, well-written, purposeful, efficient.

NBC's Rehema Ellis

I thought to myself, if only Oscar winners could hear how well-spoken these people are...or if only they'd hire them to write their acceptance speeches! I could have listened for hours, really, as September 11 -only the second day that I'd lived in Washington - was remembered by the storytellers who shared their own up close and personal experiences that day with the world.

I fell into a cab that night, heading back towards Capitol Hill (only to head back towards the 'burbs) regretting for a while that I cut short my stint as a journalist. I loved the writing, the deadlines, the front row experiences to the news-of-the-day.  What I did not love was asking people for pictures of their dead children, following grim murder trials or working on Christmas. Even though there is a very unglamourous side to journalism, it's still exciting, important work, and I do miss it. Sometimes. I spent days after that dinner wondering if I stopped short of finding my place in that field. 

Last night I had a dream I was back at work as a reporter, chasing stories for my old station. Even in my dreams I felt the stress of that job. Today, I was happy, again, to be rolling into my office job. Although the days are often the same and the creativity is limited at best, I'm rarely stressed because of work, always home on the weekends and once...I even saw Robert Redford roaming the halls of Congress.


Dee Stephens said...

Looked like a fun dinner!

You know I like this post but I am opposite.
While I do miss the rush of news I never wonder if I cut my time short. I feel so belesed to still be working in some form of TV just not news.
The way people are treated, the pay and the work is just not worth it to me.

Sarah Beth - Dixie Gator Gal said...

What fun! Working as a reporter is a 24/7 job! I think you kind of get to do reporting with your blog if you think about it. Plus you get to cover the stories you like and set your own deadlines-can't get much better than that!

Meggie said...

I loved this post! I think there is a major part of me that always wanted that for myself but I just never got there.

Denise Burks said...

Dear! So I have been missing much on the blogosphere. Hopping right back into a post like this made me soo happy. I love what you said about listening to people speak. Watching the Oscars and such makes me squirm at times because I'm so embarrassed for those who can't seem to "land it" at that moment but obviously did "land it" at one point, otherwise they wouldn't be accepting an award! :-) I love a good speech. I too flirted with journalism but made the jump quickly to advertising sales at the radio and TV stations. I was a young, single mom and I needed the $$. You are such a good story teller! Keep 'em comin' girlfriend. (A little southern-ease for you there, in case you didn't recognize it.)

Sundresses and Smiles said...

ooh, how fun!! i'm jealous! i'm new to blogging, please stop by!


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