INSIDE THE STORM PLAN 2/25/07
How it all ends up on TV
When we're in weather coverage like this we literally make it up as we go along. Normally the vast majority of our news programs are produced down to the very second. Virtually every word is scripted, and the anchors are delivering a thoughtfully prepared program.
As we took to the set this morning... there was a plan, but no real script. We knew we'd be on the air for hours, but our producers are making up the plans as conditions warrant.
Here's how it works... sometimes during a commercial break, other times even while we're talking, our producers will speak to Susan and me through an earpiece that we wear. They tell us what's coming next, and we pitch to it.
For example, in the last break producer Jim Stoll said to Susan and me, "Okay, when we come back from the break, we'll roll the special open. After that we'll look at tape from Waukesha County that shows blowing snow. Then out to the 2 shot (that means Susan and me at the desk). Then you guys talk about the two national stories. We have video of the blizzard in Iowa, and then a tornado from the same storm system in Arkansas. After that, then we'll toss to Craig."
Instead of scripts on the desk, Susan and I keep pads of paper, and just sketch out the plan one segment at a time.
Jim again: "Okay next up... roll the open, then to the tape from Mel (Melanie Stout) of that trucker who was trying to get out on I94 and Ryan Road. Then a 2-shot toss to Craig in the weather center."
Anyway, so Susan and I will scribble out the plan on our paper and follow as best we can. The plan of course can change in the middle of the action if something else happens.