ABC 7 has been serving the Suncoast for more than 41 years now and it's a job we take very seriously. Often, we're asked how a newscast comes together and how we pick which stories to cover. So we invite you to spend a day in the life of ABC 7 News. A newsroom never closes. There are no holidays, no weekends off. The news never stops, so neither do we. Even when the clock shows its very early in the day.
"As you can see, its 4 o'clock in the morning, TV is not nearly as glamorous as you think it is, it's not," says reporter Trevor Shirley, and Chief Photographer, Dave Turenne. The two are headed to Tampa to cover a Mitt Romney rally. At 9am, the day shift convenes for a morning editorial meeting. Reporters, producers, anchors and managers gather to pitch story ideas and plan the days coverage. By this time, Trevor and Dave are already in Tampa, interviewing Romney supporters for their story. Reporter Fallon Silcox wraps up final details before covering the Joe Biden rally in Sarasota. ABC 7 will report live from both events at noon.
Meantime, reporter John McQuiston sets up his story for the day. "Hi, my name is John McQuiston from ABC 7, how are you?" He's lucky today, his story comes together quickly and he's off.
Overseeing our coverage, Assignment Manager, Melissa Parker. "The assignment desk to me is like air traffic control, keeping track of reporters, photographers, making calls, listening to scanners."
John McQuiston is back before noon to write and edit his story on a Sarasota bakery that's selling Romney and Obama cookies. He'll present the story at 5 o'clock. The noon news is about to start. From the control room, you can see Trevor Shirley is ready to talk about the just ended Romney rally. "And he joins us live, Trevor... Hayley good afternoon, this Mitt Romney support rally..." A short time later, Chief Photographer Dave Turenne will roll up hundreds of feet of cable and head home. "It's been a good day!"
But the day is far from over. Back in the newsroom, 5 o'clock Producer, Bret Kanapaux, is building the newscast. "I kind of think of what I do as somewhat similar to what a conductor does, you take various pieces, various instruments and try to put them all together and make it make sense on the tv screen."
And inevitable problems that pop up are dealt with quickly because a 5pm deadline is fast approaching. The nightshift arrives at 3pm. With a picture of his favorite anchorman on his desk, reporter Max Winitz is researching story ideas for the 11pm newscast. With less than two hours before air, the activity in the newsroom crescendos. While I anchor several updates in the studio, my co-anchor at 5 and 6, Lauren Dorsett, records a radio update. "Here's some of the stories we're working on for ABC 7 news starting at 5." Then it's back to our computers, to write, re-write and review every script we read on the air.
As 5 o'clock approaches, the writing and the editing is nearly done. In the studio, Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan, makes final updates to his weather maps.
"3 minutes!" yells Kanapaux. The crew is in place, the newscast, in the works since 4 am, is ready for air. From our studios to your living room, we're on the air once again. And then we do it all over again the next day. My hope is that viewers understand the immense team effort that goes into producing a daily newscast and we have an outstanding team here at ABC 7!