This week I had the opportunity to assist a reporter on a story outside of the newsroom. I was able to return to the National Zoo for the debut of the newest addition to the elephant exhibit, Bozie. Bozie has been reunited with one of the Zoo’s other elephants, Shanthi. Records indicate Shanthi and Bozie lived together as calves in Sri Lanka decades ago.
The reporter I accompanied recorded and emailed a “teaser” in the parking lot before we entered the media event so it would be available for air on time. A teaser is a 5 second introduction to an upcoming story that is supposed to draw the listener in.
We entered the multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art elephant facility to get the first peek at the 37-year-old elephant. After we gathered our sound bites, footage and other interviews, we returned to the car to piece together and finalize the story for an on-air segment that was to air shortly after 12 p.m. Reporters are allotted 35 seconds for an entire segment, and we had a lot of audio we had to choose from. For the first time, I was able to see the process of creating an on-air segment outside of the studio from start to finish. You would think for only a 35 second segment, it would take a matter of minutes. Wrong. It took us over 45 minutes to finalize the segment and have it ready for air. The process is extremely extensive and requires patience, close attention to detail and creativity. We didn’t want to do a story that any other news station had done. We wanted to be original. In the end, I was able to hop in the car on my way home and hear the segment play live, having finished it just minutes before.