ANY OPINION SHARED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT REFLECT THOSE OF WVLA LOCAL 33/WGMB FOX44, NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP OR ITS STAFF.
Fresh off the heels of working for a local media startup, I joined the news team at WVLA/WGMB-TV, the Nexstar-operated affiliates for NBC and Fox in Baton Rouge.
News Photographer (July – August 2016)
I started as a ‘photog’ on Independence Day 2016, doing live shots with reporter Mary Mueller (“muller”) at the annual event on the Mississippi River levee downtown. Early that next morning, Alton Sterling was shot to death by officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department, while twelve days later, Gavin Long murdered three local policemen in response. I was there front and center as Local 33’s nightside (evening) photojournalist, capturing the protests, press conferences, police tributes and more across the Baton Rouge area.
Baton Rouge Responds to Alton Sterling
I recorded this M.O.S.–man on the street–with reporter Lucy Hayes, collecting local feedback on the shooting death of “CD Man” Alton Sterling at the Triple S Food Mart on N. Foster Drive in North Baton Rouge.
What to Do When Stopped by Police
A “look-live” is a pre-recorded package edited and worded to mock a live report. I shot this story in the station’s parking lot with then-morning anchor Deedra Wilson, as she offered tips on what to do in a traffic stop.
News footage on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ (MSNBC)
WVLA Local 33 is an NBC affiliate, so much of the footage would turn up on the larger NBC networks as part of the national coverage.
Baton Rouge Police Shooting Timeline
Still reeling from the wall-to-wall coverage of Alton Sterling and the ensuing protests, all hands were on deck once again to cover the slain officers. This was also my first time getting to work with Jeanne Burns, someone I’ve been a fan of since first moving to Baton Rouge after Katrina.
Gov. Edwards Addresses the Southern Baptist Convention
One of my final shoots, this video shows why my live hits were popular among the news staff. Coming from a background outside of news, as well as my keen eye in general, I was disciplined enough to keep my camera at least ten feet away from my talent, as this gives a them a more natural and flattering look. In tandem, I’d perform a gradual bump in (zoom in) as they began speaking, something commonly seen on network and cable news.
OMG, JOHN SCHNEIDER!!!
A VOSOT (“voh-sott,” voice-over/sound on tape) makes up the majority of what you see on local news; the anchor introduces the story, video starts playing as they continue reading and it cuts to sound from the actual story. After a long day of filming a political spat, I got a text from our station’s executive producer that ‘John Snyder’ was filming a movie at Juban Crossing in Denham Springs. Drained, I dropped off my reporter for the evening, grabbed a bite to eat and went to the assignment. Little did I know that ‘John Snyder’ was John Schneider, one of my favorite actors from one of my all-time favorite shows, ‘The Haves and the Have Nots!’ Staying professional while totally geeking out on the inside, I filmed the above VOSOT featuring the Louisiana local, as well as Austin St. John, the original red Power Ranger, on the set of their movie Tres Leches.
BELOW IS A FULL PLAYLIST OF MY STORIES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.
Production Assistant (August 2016 – March 2018)
Outside duties called for a change in position from photojournalist–a notch below reporter–to Production Assistant (P.A.) running TelePrompTer for the evening news. This lasted for about six weeks during the Rio Olympics and the August 2016 flood. But due to freelance opportunities and MyScene TV returning to air, I made a third move to Graphics Operator for the weekend broadcasts, becoming a fill-in for the morning and evening programs while being trusted enough to train new hires on all of the production equipment.
The newscasts at WVLA/WGMB made use of PLAZes, full-screen graphics displayed on the plasma TV in studio. Here are all of my PLAZ and OTS (over-the-shoulder) graphics during my time there:
This continued my “fan-to-man” streak–that is, going from being a fan of a person, show or concept to being someone who’s now in it. Growing up, I was always a fan of news production, wondering what all went into assembling a local broadcast. At NBC Local 33 News, I finally got to see it firsthand, applying what I learned to my own productions.
I resigned from Local 33 on March 5, 2018 to move to Houston, in which I was granted the opportunity to do a feature story. Using my own equipment, I interviewed Rebecca Whyte, Baton Rouge Community Manager for Yelp.com and a friend of the station.
This feature received high praise from my colleges at the station, as well as other journalists across my social media due to its copy (script), the subject matter, the composition and the intonation in my voice.
Baton Rouge Proud – Rebecca Whyte
Published on brproud.com, the story aired March 18, 2018 at the top of the 10 P.M. show, my final newscast at WVLA.