ANY OPINION SHARED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT REFLECT THOSE OF WVLA LOCAL 33/WGMB FOX44, NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP OR ITS STAFF.
THESE OPINIONS AND CREATIONS ARE MY OWN.
Fresh off the heels of working for a local startup, I joined the news team at WVLA/WGMB-TV, the Nexstar-operated affiliates for NBC and Fox in Baton Rouge. This is currently my day job. But being a TV producer thrown into the news world, I’ve endured quite the saga during my time there…
News Photographer (July – August 2016)
I started as a photog on Independence Day, doing live shots with reporter Mary Mueller (“muller”) at the annual event on the Mississippi River levee downtown. The day after, Alton Sterling was shot to death by the Baton Rouge Police Department, while twelve days later, Gavin Long murdered three local officers in response. I was there front and center as Local 33’s nightside (evening) photographer, capturing the protests, press conferences, police tributes and more in the Baton Rouge area, working alongside reporters and anchors such as Lucy Hayes, Chad Sabadie, Deedra Wilson, Rachel Spangenthal and local legend Jeanne Burns. Here are a few of my stories:
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 Foster Dr. 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 in the station’s parking lot with morning anchor Deedra Wilson, as she offers tips on what to do during a traffic stop.
JAVAN H. footage on The Rachel Maddow Show/MSNBC
Local 33 is an NBC affiliate, so much of our footage would turn up on the larger NBC networks in such breaking events. Here is my footage on The Rachel Maddow Show.
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 I first moved to Baton Rouge after Katrina. I edited this package as a timeline of events during the police shootings.
Gov. Edwards Addresses Southern Baptist Convention
One of my final shoots, this video shows why my live hits were popular among station 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 look. In tandem, I’d perform a gradual bump in (zoom in) as they began speaking, something seen commonly on the world news. As of May 2017, no other photographer in the Baton Rouge market has displayed anything similar.
OMG, JOHN SCHNEIDER!!!
One of my favorite new words, 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 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. Tired, annoyed and slightly delirious, I dropped off my reporter for the evening, Rachel Spangenthal, at the station, grabbed some Taco Bell and headed out to film. 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.
Here’s the full playlist of some of my stories while working as News Photographer, in chronological order:
Production Assistant (August 2016 – present)
At-home duties, as well as additional work, called for a change in position from news photographer, a stop 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. This is where I am today.
From September 2016 to September 2017, I worked under Lauren McCoy, a powerhouse multimedia journalist (MMJ) who started as a P.A. while in school and worked her way up to anchor. Easily one of my favorite people in the world, she would often makes use of PLAZes, full-screen graphics displayed on the plasma TV in studio. Gaining compliments from her and my coworkers routinely, here are all of my PLAZ and OTS (over-the-shoulder) graphics during my time at the station:
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. Here, I got to see it firsthand on a weekly basis, applying what I’ve learned to my own productions.
Due to a move to Houston, Texas, I resigned from Local 33 on March 5, 2018. I was then granted the opportunity to 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 colleges at Local 33, as well as other journalists across my social media, due to its script, the subject matter, the composition and the intonation in my voice.
Published on brproud.com, the story aired March 18, 2018 at the top of the 10 P.M. newscast, my final newscast at WVLA.