Thursday, December 14

I Learned From The Best

From A.man.I
My Urban Report was inspired by a few events that have happpened in my life. I left a stable career in TV news to start a citizen journalism show called UR TV, and through research I learned that blogs are a big part of the citizen journalism movement. As a reporter, it seemed that urban issues are most often covered in the context of crime stories, and we all know that there are other positive things happening that don't get any play. I found some other video podcasts created by brothas (see Black Man in China, and TodayIFeelLike.com) and thought, "I could do that." Since I'm mostly working to aquire citizen journalism video stories, and not reporting everyday, I needed an outlet to inform, and do my thang.

I learned almost everything I know about the news business in Tampa Florida at WTVT-TV, Fox 13 News. I worked there for eight years, and started as a lowly Reporter Trainee in 1998 with no on-air experience. I worked behind the scenes for a little more than a year learning how to shoot, edit, and write. Then one day, I was out with a photographer named Larry Towe. We were covering a captured gator story, and he talked management into letting me report on it.

Even though I was hired as a "Reporter Trainee," the training came from the school of hard knocks. To be honest, I sucked for a good while. I struggled at times to make deadline, which is a big no-no, especially in a big news market like Tampa, and I'm pretty sure I was the laughing stock of the newsroom. I was told I couldn't cut it, that I didn't have what it takes to be a reporter, and I was put on probation. There were a couple of times when I was taken off of stories because the managers didn't have faith in me. I never lost faith in myself however, and in my heart I knew I could do it.

A photographer named Rod Finch knew I could do it too. He came to Fox from one of the competing stations in the market. We hit it off like lost brothers and from the get go he let me know that he wouldn't just watch me struggle. He helped me relax during my live shots. He would count my "ums," and helped me with my delivery. The best thing about it, working with Finch was like hanging out with a homie. No matter what story we were on, we would find a way to make the day pass, and we had fun. Next thing you know, I was covering every story thrown my way. I even filed a reports for CNN, and Fox News Channel.

My shining moment came when the University of Florida Gators beat UCLA for the National Championship. I'm a UF alumnus, and my station sent me to Gainesville to cover the fans. I almost jumped out of my chair when Finch called me saying, "Road trip!!!" Not only did I get to visit my old school, I got to work with my road dog. We worked our asses off, but it was hella fun. I'm sure the video is floating around on YouTube.

Leaving Fox 13 was a hard decision. I went from a scrub to getting a lot of love. I worked hard, and it paid off. Tampa is like a second home for me. I've visited a few times since moving to the "A." During each visit, I've brought my camera with me. Most of my former co-workers know about "My Urban Report," so here's a little tribute to all of my friends on the news grind. Plus I'm sure most of you have never set foot inside a TV station, so check the video below.



click here for YouTube version

2 Comments:

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have finally made it! Years on television have not been nearly as rewarding as ten seconds on the Urban Report!

Keep up the great work, Amani. And remember us when you are rich and famous.

 
At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment above was from cb, Tampa, by the way.

 

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