The Night of the Journalist

I was given the opportunity with Pacific Takes to follow around a Pac-12 Networks production crew for last Wednesday’s UCLA-Cal meeting. UCLA rolled and I could barely tell you how they did it because I was buried in voices and screens and the insanity of a production truck.


That night I missed all of the Pac-12 action but didn’t. I absorbed it all from a totally different angle. Suddenly reading tweets about a guy’s head obstructing views of Camera 1 inside the Huntsman center wasn’t a laughable tweet so much as a producer’s nightmare.

But the experience was doubly unique in that I learned about both television production and being a real reporter. I had credentials and was asked not to report certain anecdotes and I even think some voices shied away from me. Interestingly enough, others gravitated towards me. The lanyard with my name and the notebook in my hand holds odd power. Or otherwise.

I wasn’t completely comfortable in the role, to be honest, because, to be further honest, I want to be the expert. I like people asking me the questions, inquiring about how awesome I am. After all, I started a blog, my little house of narcissism.

But if I’m to further explore those feelings, the desire to be the expert, how can I hold expertise on any matter without understanding others? How can I say I know X without ever inquiring about Y? I’m no seasoned reporter, but we’re all inquisitive minds. Questions feed that.

I was anxious about this. It was a different role for me but as I sat there and absorbed, questioned and learned, I realized I didn’t need to report anything. I was there for the experience, to hone my own craft (whatever that may be) by understanding the passions of another. I’d say it’s pretty clear that my passion resides somewhere within the pages of PacHoops – be it the world of college basketball or the universe of storytelling – but I’d taken this opportunity with Pacific Takes to further explore my passion.

So I anxiously sat in that truck, wanting to do the best I could at whatever I was trying to do.

About 5 minutes before things were shifting to live,  the game’s director and I got to talking. “What’s your article about?” Scott Barke asked. I didn’t have a great answer but I was nearly three hours into the experience at this point and beginning to understand what I was seeing.

“I’m mostly writing about the experience. But I’m now seeing how your craft so closely parallels the game. Communication, quick decisions, mistakes, recovery. You’re playing right along with these guys.”I replied.

And then you should’ve seen the way Scott lit up when I asked him, “So I know all about how the players are getting ready in anticipation for their performance right now. How are you feeling?”

“Anxious,” he said.

And then we watched a basketball game.

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