Investigation On Train Derailment Continues... And Dew Tour

This week was a crazy blur and I’ll be surprised if I remember half of it…

The biggest challenge I’ve found so far is going from one internship to the other doing completely different things. Transferring from writing broadcast to writing for web has been interesting and I find sometimes it might take me a day to slip into a comfortable zone with my writing for each of them. Going from web to broadcast doesn’t seem to difficult, but going from short and to the point broadcast to witty web articles has been.

Sunday I got my real first taste of learning how not to be timid about touchy subjects. After it was announced that one woman was killed in the train derailment we thought it would be nice to talk to her family. Starting in the phone book another reporter and I called a few people with her last name that lived in Rockford. When this turned up no results, the photog and I left to find the houses that had no number connected to them. We drove to four different houses and were able to rule out a couple, but for two of the homes, no one was there. Even though we weren’t able to find any of the relatives of the woman (which no other media outlet seems to be able to either), I did come out of the trip learning a lot about the history of Rockford… thanks to Bill.

On our way back from the homes, we stopped at a performing arts center to get some video of a father’s day music celebration. When I came back I called the spokesman of CN to get a few more details on the assistance program they are setting up to help for the families affected by the derailment.

Next I digitized in the video for the musical performance, wrote the script for it and rewrote a script about a Malaysian kung fu expert broke his own record by piercing four coconuts with his right index finger in just 30 seconds.

Afterwards I did some beat calls, but almost like always found nothing new going on. With that, it was time to get ready for the 10 newcast… I started chatting with the anchor and sports anchor while they got ready and we talked about Oprah and how she had rented the Rockford airport to send out her entire staff to Spain. Our question for Oprah--- does she know she’s really human?

On Tuesday, I came into the station earlier than I normally would have to learn how the web works at WREX, but as soon as I walked in, one of the reporters asked if I could go out on assignment with them. I couldn’t decline, so I asked the guy who’s in control of the web and he was fine with it.

I headed out with the reporter and photog. Our first stop was to check out a street that a viewer had said the tracks had been washed out at. A huge gully had formed and as soon as it gets closer to the tracks, the train is likely to topple over as it goes past…

On our way to the site of the train derailment Bob, the reporter I was shadowing, gave me a bit of history of some streets we passed in Rockford. Did you know the police found some sex slaves upstairs in that club, chained up, only a few hours of heat during the day, no furniture in the rooms? Bob asked me. And another street was famous for homicides… I guess it wasn’t a surprise when we drove past that area later we saw two women getting into a physical fight, one woman hitting the other with a broomstick.

At the site of the train derailment I learned how to work my way past the cops… well that is if the hard cop decides to go on lunch break and another soft one comes back out. I finally got a close look up of the tracks and how they were progressing in their repairs. We got some good shots, talked to a man from the NTPS.

Next it was off to check out another area of tracks near the Kishwakee River that had been washed out as well. This time we ran into a man walking out of his sisters apartment where he has been working for a couple of weeks repainting for her. He said that sometimes, after it rains, it looks like the tracks turn into a river. Finding all these washed out areas, make it a little worrisome that nothing is being done to fix them.

Wednesday was back to Chicago! Not too much to say about this day, mostly just putting together slideshows and writing articles.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday was Dew Tour days. Thursday was the Dew Tour’s opening day. Only media, friends of the media, and bmx/event coordinators were allowed into the park. It was the preliminary’s for the bmxers to see who would continue on in the contest. When I first got to Grant Park I thought we were going to get a tour. Instead Kristin and I got our press passes and were free to walk around where ever we wanted. Talk about understanding exactly why people love press passes so much. I met a ton of the bikers, got some good shots and although it rained, had a lot of fun.

On Friday the contest continued. Took lots of pictures and met plenty of bikers.

The last day of the Dew Tour I went alone. This was probably the most exciting of the three days because I got the chance to meet some big time bmx riders. I also was granted the chance, with the media pass, to be right up close and personal with the riders when they received their awards. Before the awards, I stood in the media and family section of the park next to the ramp to take photos. I appreciated being able to get some good shots of when one of the bmxers fell and had to be taken away, only to come back later and hug one of his best friends who had just finished their run. Right there in the action.


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