Today I was fortunate enough to get to see Des Moines- well the
stretch of road between the Best Western and WOI-TV, the ABC affiliate
here.  Our station manager is friends with the Vice President of
News for Citadel Communications, Al Sandubrae.  He was generous
enough for to lend us space at the station.  So I sat in Studio B
with our Creative Services Director Casey Quinn and worked for a few
hours.  Working at the station was great.  Both the
Assignment Desk Manager and News Director went out of their way to
help me.  Nate Shambaugh at the assignment desk printed all the
press releases I didn’t have. I was able to check in with him
throughout the day and trade information.  The News Director,
Scott Fredricks truly made my day.  Scott let me pick his brain
all day long.  He helped my reporters find a story out in
Winterset, and helped me set up an interview with a caucus
expert.  I feel like Scott and I clicked automatically (although
that’s just my personal opinion).  We’re both caffeine junkies
and competed to see who could drink the most caffeine in a few short
hours (in case you’re wondering it was a draw). Scott and his
production staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and
see that we had everything we needed.  Because of their help I
was able to focus more on making schedules for our reporter teams,
than on calling candidates and waiting for their press offices to
respond. 

The only downside to working at the station
was being away from the food stock I have in my room (there’s a
vending machine there but a person can only eat so many snickers in
one day).  It’s slightly ironic that I tell the crews where to go
and when but am at their mercy if I want to go anywhere.  I don’t
have a car so, I’m literally stuck wherever I’m dropped off.  

Around 5pm, I was picked up at the station and brought back to
“command central” at the hotel.  We put together the schedule for
Tuesday, the next day, and started to block out what will become our
special show when we get back to Boston.  After the schedule was
set and dinner was ordered (it took longer for five people to pick
food than it did to organize five crews at multiple events), I got
ready to head out into the field.  The plus side of making the
schedule is that I can send myself wherever I want to go.  So, I
decided I wanted to spend my New Year’s Eve with Senator Hillary
Clinton.  I’d never covered her before and the event description
sounded very interesting from the press release.  How press
releases lie!!  Capitol Square was filled with supporters who
didn’t seem to mind that Clinton spoke only for about 2 minutes. 
She was joined by former Iowa Governor Tom Villsack, her husband,
Bill, and daughter, Chelsea.  The whole program took no more than
15 minutes. 

I think the press (ourselves included)
was more disappointed with the event than the supporters were. 
There were two risers for media, but only one had an audio mult box.
Plus, there were trees in front of the risers that blocked our
shot.  The only clear shot we were able to get was the back of
Senator Clinton’s head.  The combination of the poor set up and
brevity of the event made it a challenge to cover.  It’s
complicated events like this that make me want to be a producer even
more.  Tomorrow I’m out in the field once again seeing more of
Des Moines (hopefully by then my GPS can figure out where I am). 
Tomorrow’s high temperature is a tropic 4 degrees so it should be an
interesting day for all of us at WEBN.

-Cynthia