Goodbye to news October 2002

I wrote this on the eve of my departure from television news…

Goodbye to TV news…hello to education (October 2002)
It is now official. After twenty-eight years on the front lines I’m retreating from daily news to a more reflective role as a high school teacher. The truth? After countless stories of personal tragedy and achievement, gut wrenching disasters, endlessly boring meetings, man bites dog and gets bitten back stories…I find standing in a classroom full of students more challenging and exciting than charging out on yet another story. I can remember my first live shot and how nervous – scared I was that I’d blow it. Flying over forest fires and hitting wind shear and falling. Interviews with the great and the unknown. Climbing up the side of a Liberty Ship at sea. Catching a father’s confession to killing his children. Laughing while shooting a story with a Zen master in of all places suburban Tracy. Trapped, or so we thought, in Armenia due to a shortage of jet fuel. Counting seconds and cutting corners to make deadlines. All involved moments of being on edge…pushing, driving to get the shot…to get the story. To be the first with the most accurate information – but just as important to do it with visuals that compelled the viewer to watch and feel what happened and make them understand events or lives or information with clarity. That feeling of being constantly on edge – constantly challenged has been waning, but I’ve found it again in my new job. Watching nervously the first day of school and wondering if I could actually stand there for and hour and a half daily without making a fool of myself. I’m sure I have several times, but the students seem to like the class anyway. They live with my mistakes (which I call learning experiences) and learn despite it. I have dreams again – not to teach the world’s next great video journalist – but to teach students to think for themselves and along the way to learn to love the craft of shooting and editing and thinking visually. I hope it will become part of their lives as it has mine.

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