Sunday, December 6, 2009

They call it winter. Feels like a cold shower to me.

Yesterday should have been festive. The first snow of the year, right as the holiday season is picking up. Good spirits all around.

But in my life, snow just means a wet and cold intern.

I left my apartment for WTOP, running a few minutes late. i didn't expect the rain or the cold. When I arrived, i looked less than professional. That is to say, I was soaked from head to foot. One of the reporters gawped at me, so I fled to the bathroom to dry my hair with some flimsy paper towels.

This was pre-snow. I cut some CBS audio down to size for awhile. It was a slow news day, so I had some time to catch up on the headlines. Tiger Woods, Britain ending it's UFO reporting service, Sarah Palin's book signing in Fairfax County....I had finally drip dried after a couple of hours.

Then a gasp from the far end of the newsroom. Snow! It was coming down pretty hard--big flakes everywhere.

And soon after I got my assignment: Go out onto Wisconsin Avenue with an audio recorder and get people's reaction of the snow. MOS just like I like it.

And so, being the dedicated intern that I am, I went.

This might be a good time for a disclaimer. I'm from Iowa. That is, I'm from the tundra. We get a lot of snow where I'm from, sometimes a few feet. Here in D.C. it hardly ever snows, maybe twice a year, an inch or two. In Iowa people know how to drive in the snow. The city knows how to clear the roads in a thorough, efficient fashion. In D.C. panic ensues.

Another disclaimer: I'm from the arctic circle but I cannot stand the cold. Not one bit. and the only thing worse than cold is wet and cold. Plus, in a streak of brilliance, I had not put on socks before going to my internship. I did not have an umbrella or a scarf or a hat or gloves.

But no one likes a whiner, so I went. Plus, journalists don't get to choose what weather they go outside in. think about the TV reporter standing in the middle of the hurricane: "It's pretty windy here, Bob, I'm gonna have to hold onto this telephone pole while I talk to you or I'll fly away."

It was wet and cold. And for some reason, everyone on the street was from really frigid places--upstate New York, Minnesota, even Norway. they all LOVE the snow. They told me so.

And the people I talked to from the District were loving it, too. They were a little worried about the roads freezing over, but a lot of them had kids in tow. I heard a lot about snow men and sledding. I was getting good responses--everyone was excited and I think they felt bad because I had to stand out in the cold. The "poor intern" card.

Unfortunately, the recorder was getting pretty wet. I wasn't really sure if my feet were still attached, because I could not feel them. soon after, they started to hurt with each step. My hair was frozen at the ends--not exactly business casual. I made the decision to head back to the station.

I only had about twenty minutes to edit the MOS. I started by cutting the best sound bites out of each person's response. Then I stuck these pieces back-to-back, mixing up who spoke when so that there were varied voices and points of views. At the end I had two montages covering everything from trouble on the roads to snow reminding people of home to sledding to holiday spirit.

I think I did a good job. Both of the montages went on air within an hour or two of my return. Of course, I was soaked through. Oh well, we'll just call that a new intern fashion statement. The damp, disgruntled look.

Just a fun winter day at WTOP.

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