The Week That Was

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

MSU's Final Four run has had us running at the station.

Sorry for the lack of content around here lately.  Last week, I was swamped with a sweeps story about coal ash, and let me tell you, nothing screams fun like coal ash or its annoying subsidiary, fly ash.  Only Mark Nixon of BWL will get that joke.  Anywho, before I was even finished with that, we decided to do an hour-long special on the Spartans in the Final Four.  And because Tim Staudt had a vacation he couldn't cancel, I would take his spot and co-host it with Jeremy Sampson.  Our EP Jeff Proctor became the third man of the team tasked with getting an hour on Friday night.

To be honest, we initially decided on a half-hour-- maybe an hour-- but when we saw Channel 6 was putting a 2-hour special together, our decision was easy.  When these specials go an hour sometimes they can get a little watered down with stories in there just to be in there.  If you go too long, before you know it, you're filling time with what type of shoelaces the team uses and how much the university paid for them. 

So, it's Monday and I've got a story to do on Goran Suton's parents, some tidying up to do on my coal ash story, and a fans story to do on Hoops City at Cobo on Friday.  Luckily, I wouldn't have to do anything during the 6:00 newscasts on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.  No problem, right?  Welcome to television.  Tuesday, I finished most of my sweeps story, only to return to edit and find out my standup shot out on Lake Lansing Road was unusable thanks to bad audio.  Now I'd have to shoot that Wednesday again.  The next problem was Suton's parents weren't calling me back.  Meantime, my problems were pretty much the least of our worries with questions as to who was going to do sports on Friday at 5 & 6 and Saturday with Jeremy at Ford Field and Tim on sabbatical.  Schedules were becoming an issue with our photographers as well.  Did I forget to mention our News Director was also going on vacation Thursday?  That wasn't as big a problem though, since he really couldn't do any of the field work and as we all know, when the boss is gone things run smoother.  (Sorry, Kevin, that was too easy a shot).

Speaking of the boss, Wednesday morning I get a text asking if I can cover the team leaving from Breslin for the 6.  Sure.  Less time to get the Suton story done and I still had to re-shoot a standup and finish editing the coal ash story.  As I'm waiting for the 6 to start, I'm wondering out loud to WLAJ's Hondo Carpenter where all the fans were for this thing that we were expecting.  We brought two cameras and a live truck expecting hundreds of fans to be out here as the bus pulled away.  It was 5:50 and there was no one.  I half wondered if Hondo had like a bat signal to summon his Spartan Nation that would help us all out.  While I'm waiting, Suton strolls out of the tunnel. 

Me: Hey, G.
Suton: How's it going?
Me: Good. Where you going?
Suton: Oh, I have to run home real quick, I forgot something.
Me: Mmm hmm.  Hey tell your parents to call me back will you?  I need to do a story about you and them and how you guys came here and all that?
Suton:  Oh, my mom works every day this week until midnight and my dad doesn't really speak English, so that might not work out.
Me: Oh.  Well,, good luck this weekend.

Great.  Now the Suton piece has to be re-worked.  But first things first-- I needed some fans to show up and now.  It's 5:59 and about 6 kids are here.  So, I did what any industrious reporter would do-- I planted the kids behind me with their signs to make it look like people were there.  Turns out, by the time I hit at 6:02 about 10 more people had shown up and when they came back to me at 6:23 in sports, there were 100 there plus the band and Sparty. 

This was just supposed to be an update blog post, so let me wrap this up.  The Suton piece became a retrospective of his career here and the fans piece was OK.  We got back to the station at 5:30, an hour and a half until air.  I finished the fan piece at 6:40-ish and quickly got into a tie and read one or two scripts on my way to the studio.  Jeremy was ready to go live from Detroit.  When it was done, it was great.  The final product came together with Jeremy doing the lion's share of the stories and interviews, Jeff writing the show and editing some stories and sound bites and me getting those two stories and hosting with Jeremy.  It was a great team effort that turned out nicely on air.  John Tramontana also chipped in a story and anchored the sports on Friday with Jamie Edmonds doing sports Saturday.  Our photogs Brian Hirten and Steve Coon also deserve some credit, especially since Hirten had the line of the week as we were driving to Detroit Friday afternoon.

"It would be sweet if the Final Four was in Webberville.  You know, not so far to go."

A close second was Staudt's comment on Monday after taping some "In My View" segments for the week ahead.

"I brought in four ties and four sportcoats so it wouldn't look like they were all done at once."

And you have to know Tim to know that he said it with that urgency like this was the biggest contribution anyone would be giving this week.  Classic.

Next week I'm on vacation so I'll post when I can.  Well, I'm on vacation unless-- you know, we'll talk about that on Tuesday.

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  • by A.M. Location: Lansing on Apr 7, 2009 at 06:20 AM
    For anyone feeling down about the Spartan loss last night, read Mitch Albom's article in the Free Press - It's all about the journey. Bravo, MSU, on one heck of a season.
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