Friday, July 10, 2009

Reporting on Michael Jackson

1st day- Encino, CA---outside MJ's parent's home

we had a perfect position---right in front of the
front gate and near the makeshift memorial

Day 2- Encino, CA

Ahn, Gina, me
"Team 2"
-it's an inside joke

celebrating Gina's bday---
this 4th of July cake was the only one available!

Neverland ranch front entrance

reporting from Neverland

Ahn---our photographer

a day off!

several large white boards were placed
outside the Neverland gate for fans to sign---
they were eventually placed at his Memorial

where I sat for hrs in between liveshots to stay warm

goofing off!
Gina's shades were way too big for my face

eating breakfast at a Danish diner in Solvang, CA

Solvang, CA

watching July4th fireworks overlooking
a country hillside in Solvang

advertised as 'home cooking'---it was the worst
we're sarcastically giving it a THUMBS up!

driving again

reporting from the dowtown L.A. Courthouse

reporting from the Staples Center the
day of MJ's memorial service
67 liveshots in 1 day!
(that's my record)

the Rev. Jesse Jackson--he was doing interviews
all morning...he kept smiling at me!

my official MJ memorial program and ticket!

at the circus
we've decided it was 'creepy'

Larry the Clown--he told me to tag him on facebook. yea right!

our truck operator gave Gina this MJ cookie for her bday!

(in Mindy's words):

I guess Michael Jackson's death will now always be one of those moments where we each remember "where we were" when it happened. I was home, watching tv and waiting for Travis to get off work. I had just logged onto Facebook with my blackberry when I started reading updates about Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital and that he may have died! I flipped over to the news and txt Travis to see what was going on. Of course, it was the lead story with 'team coverage' on the national news that night. I remember thinking- "was Michael Jackson really that big? Does he really deserve to have 'team coverage'?" Little did I know that the next 2 weeks of my life would be consumed with anything and everything Michael Jackson.

The next morning, FOX News emailed to see if I was available to go to L.A.. (When we had moved from DC in May, FOX had said they may still use me for the 'big stuff' but I assumed I'd hear from them for hurricane season.) They flew me out that next day. At LAX, I met up with a photographer from DC and a producer from NYC. We all assumed we'd be there a few days....not the 13 it evolved into.

We were the morning crew so our shift started at 2am each morning and ended around 3:30pm (EST). It was MUCH colder than we expected (50degrees) especially since our shift was during the coldest hours of Californina's timezone.

We worked 155 hours, did 257 liveshots and slept very little...but it was a lot of fun and so cool to be a part of such a big story and historic moment. We did liveshots for FOX News Edge...which is the part of FOX that deals with the affiliates or all the local FOX stations across the country. Basically, I was the one reporter to do liveshots for all the FOX stations across the country. Stations would book :05 minute slots starting at 5am. I got my schedule each morning...including what timeslot was booked, which station and who the anchors were. Each station had the option of using me and my package (the edited story) or just doing talk-back with the anchors, aka Q&A. For example, between 5:05-5:10am I would report for NYC doing my package and talking to Ernie and Roseanna. Every day was different but on average we had 30 liveshots/day....which is fairly busy.

To be honest, before this trip my only memories of Michael Jackson were from our family trip to Disney/Epcot as kids. There was a new
3-D Michael Jackson movie... Other than that, I remember hearing a few of his songs and of course, the child molestation charges. I was only 9 years old when Michael Jackson was in his prime and won back-to-back Grammys.

I really enjoyed reporting on this story. Every day took a different angle and it was a constantly developing story. I was just relieved when a memorial date was finally set! I was working with a great crew which made the trip so much fun. We celebrated July 4th in the small town of Solvang, CA, ate at some great restaurants, and even went to the circus our last night in L.A.!

I now know all sorts of random Michael Jackson facts---including that Bubbles his chimp now lives in Florida, his parents are Jehovah's Witnesses, and his fan base is
64% Democrats vs. 36%Republican! Who knew?!