In September, writers at The Examiner were presented with a story idea: How is your town commemorating 911? I wrote about WTSP News10’s 11:00 Anchor, Reginald Roundtree, and how he took a day off to take Navy Veteran Lt. Pete Kolnicki and his family to a Tampa Bay Rays MLB game at his own expense. You can re-read that story here. I mentioned my hope to be able to interview Mr. Roundtree and bring you that report as well.
Last week I received an unexpected message. “Hi, David. This is Reginald Roundtree. I am working on a project that I think might be of interest to you, and I was wondering if you’d give me a call?” followed by his cell number.
He was correct on all counts. I was definitely interested, so yesterday I packed up my Trusty DX1 and headed out for parts unknown – well, to me at least – to follow this Tampa area newsman on a story he was putting together. After the wrap I was informed that this is the first time a ‘print journalist’ has been invited along on one of Reggie’s stories.
Up front I have to tell you the interview will happen later, and I can’t really tell you anything about the story until it is broadcast next week. After that, no holds barred. But WOW, what a rush!
If you read the other story, you already know I’m not a huge fan of contrived news. I think there are enough things happening in our world – both good and bad – newsworthy enough to make the pages of traditional print journalism, electronic print journalism like the Examiner, television and radio news to not have to ‘create’ a story. That was Dan Rather’s downfall. He want a big ‘exclusive’ so bad he fabricated some facts and failed to verify others to ‘get the story’.
Yet, even this reporter must allow for the human element. The seed of an idea that otherwise might not be revealed, or the story might not be told. The human interest angle. The ‘what if…’.
That’s what Reggie’s project was. A huge, unanswered ‘what if’ that has happened enough around this nation of ours, and in the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg area to beg both the question and some answers. Without revealing any specifics, it is defined by the simple promo that will air during the two days the story is broadcast.
“Was he right? I’ll tell you more at 11:00.” “Was she right? I’ll tell you more at 11:00.” There was a third promo line, but that one gives away the story and I promised to not do that.
I will tell you this. I observed this consummate professional in jeans and a polo work his story idea with a genuine passion you can’t fake. It was there even when the cameras weren’t rolling – when he was just talking about the subject of the day. I don’t know if it was the reporter speaking, or the former cop speaking, or some symbiosis of the two, but it was clear from the look in his eyes and his impassioned impromptu soliloquies that his heart was speaking the loudest of all. If you need more evidence, it was found when he kept blowing the three line promo quotes his producer was cueing him with. Most of the story was a group of one-take scenarios. The three line promos took several takes…each!
I’d like to tell you more, like what had this man so fired up, or what a rush it was to watch him in action, or to see the elements of putting a story together that even after the wrap will take hours in the editing room to clean up and assemble – like the shot in which this reported could be seen standing in the background shooting stills. Cutting room floor for that bit. All I can do at this point, is promise you that if you’re in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market, you need to watch for this story when it broadcasts Monday and Tuesday night next week (October 31 and November 1) on WTSP News 10, the Tampa – St. Petersburg CBS affiliate. You’ll be able to view the story on the station’s web site after it is broadcast.
You will not want to miss this. It will blow your mind!
You can find out more about WTSP and Reginald Roundtree on Facebook.
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