Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'd be glad NOT To Talk To You

Tick, Tick, Tick.  I can almost hear the clock literally ticking in my head.  In my business, particularly when your job is to produce news content for the 10 PM newscast, unlike most, the closer you get to 6 PM is NOT an enviable mark of time when you have yet to pin down a story for the day.

Katie Weddington  seems eager to talk about a pretty horrible experience.  She works as a satanic clown at a haunted house in Salt Lake City (Utah inexplicably loves haunted houses, that is another story altogether) On Saturday, a man shuffling through the eerie walls of plywood coated in black paint, with teenagers slathered in latex makeup, synthetic blood, and wielding unchained, chainsaws, allegedly rears back and cracks Katie in the mouth with his fist.  According to charging documents, he turns to his girlfriend and laughs hysterically.  Police say he isn't angry or frightened by Katie's horrifying portrayal of every child's nightmare, a clown barring long, yellow fangs, but rather that he just thought it would be "funny."

I track down Katie's home address and find her affable dad sipping a Natural Ice beer with an equally affable buddy.  He gives me a warm smile, a hearty handshake, and reenacts to me the lively story of his daughter's assault.  He dials up cell phone picture of his baby girl's bashed in teeth, while his wife, calls Katie, and sets up an interview for us near the haunted house where she was assaulted.

Parked in the haunted parking lot, with the second hand moving briskly around the face of my watch, I get a spooky sense that Katie is beginning to waver.  The first call to he mobile rings several times then lands unanswered in her voice mail.  The second call clicks directly to her digital answering service. 

I've seen this before, Katie, might be pondering the affects of being remembered as the gal who got socked in a clown outfit, or perhaps, her bosses, excoriate her that discussing an assault at their place of business for thousands to see is not good for business   To that point, few viewers hold business owners responsible for bad things that happen at their establishments, that are beyond their control.  If a wild-eyes crook steals someones purse when she steps away from her cart that is judged differently than if an elderly man slips in a puddle of water that has been left unattended for hours.

I send her a text message, "Hi Katie, we are here, we can meet you near the pink restaurant "  After a maddening 10 minute wait, my lifeless cell buzzes awake.  "I'm not really interested, I've started my shift," and with that, poof!  End, literally, of story.  I don't blame her, and  don't hold a grudge (Much) I've seen my share of interview success (see last blog) and interview fail (see three blogs ago) so you can't pound your fist for too, long, because frankly you haven't the time.  It's already 6:30, the news will go on as scheduled, and you better begin culling your sources and court records for something meaningful to report.

1 comment:

  1. Even reading this gave me anxiety! When I try to do any sort of hard news package, I am terrified of the deadline. And that's even when I have an interview in the can! The fact that you can whip out a backup story...a good a matter of hours and sometimes minutes, is commendable.