In a newscast, the A block is the first block of the show, and traditionally the most important and pressing news of the day. The D Block is the last block, those stories that make you laugh and hopefully make you feel at some ease after the A, B and C blocks -- you know, the real adult stuff. In the days of the week, Friday is the D Block. Not necessarily the reason you turned on the TV, but it'll make you glad you did once it comes.
But this blog post is not as much about Fridays as it's about last Friday- the day we went back to the UMiami campus to get sound for a Nightly News story. I've gotten sound on UM's campus many times. Once, I did a story about texting and driving and I got sound from students who said: I never text and drive... I try not to. And a reluctant admittance: Yeahhhh, I text and drive.
But today, this sound would not make its way into a story that would live forever on my external hard drive. This sound would go to NY.
That Friday morning, the Pew Research Center released a study on millenials ages 18 to 33 (that's me!) saying that we essentially are unattached to everything except social media:
-Relatively unattached to organized politics and religion
-Linked by social media
-Burdened by debt
-Distrustful of people
-In no rush to marry
-Optimistic about future
So we went to UMiami to ask millenials how they felt in reaction to this research. I first got changed so I looked a little more professional and then I met up with the cameraman, Bruce. Pay attention to Bruce. He's important to this story.
I received instruction from a producer in NY that we should interview 80% ethnic looking people, and diversity is huge. This is because the research from Pew also said that our generation is the most diverse yet. I knew this wouldn't be a challenge at Miami, where on the way to class I often hear conversations in up to 5 different languages.
I found two students sitting at a table, one African American and one Moroccan and we were able to interview both of them. I realized how in my element I felt, working for my internship but on a campus that is kind of a home base to me. The best part is that most of the students we interviewed didn't even know I was a student. To them, I was exactly who I introduced myself to be: "with NBC News."
The day continued like this and we interviewed about 5 students in total. There were people in LA also getting sound, so we really just needed a handful of really good bites, which we got. As I listened to this diverse sampling of students tell us their views on religion, politics, marriage and technology, I felt proud to attend a school with such smart and passionate people. I feel proud to attend a university where students are doing what Hillary Clinton urged us to do when she was here, which is not be a passerby in this world, and to get off of the sidelines and become an active participant. From the sound of what my peers were saying, I think they were doing just that.
At one point during a lull of passerby to choose from, Bruce said we should interview me. In a moment that was very unlike me, I was at first really resistant. I'm the intern- am I stepping on toes? Is it even appropriate? And that diversity thing. Hello white girl from the suburbs. It was honestly the first time in my life I initially said no to being on camera. But I sat down and did it. You know, an intern's gotta do what an intern's gotta do. And okay, I love the camera. You'll hear Bruce's voice in the clip below.
I ended up really loving the chance to explore these questions for myself, and have someone care for 6 whole minutes about what I thought.
We did one more interview after my own, and I really did hope Nightly would choose my bite. I came back to the bureau and logged all of our interviews. I always indicate what I think might be really good bites by putting ** next to them. While logging, I felt really awkward **ing my own bites. I mean, I thought they were good but that's kind of the same as liking your own Facebook photo. Of course you like it, you posted it. As in, of course I liked my bites... I said them.
But that awkward feeling did not stop me from saying to Mark Potter, "Hey Mark, look!!" while pointing to my own photo on our screen.
I finished at work and came home, and promptly invited all of my friends to a Nightly News viewing party in my room. No one came, such short notice and everything ;) but I was really pleased to see our story early in the show. As in, the last story in the A block (theoretically the most important news of the day!). I was expecting it to be D block, which is the fluffy stuff. You know, we spoke to a bunch of 20-year-olds and here's how they feel.
Now, I love the D block. Do not get me wrong. On NewsVision at UMTV, I always joke that I can write the D block like nobody's business. It might be my favorite of all, I admit and then duck my head down to make sure the world hasn't fallen apart around me since I said it. I've written D block stories about the day Time Magazine posted a list of the most influential candy bars, National Pancake Day (closes the show!!), and I've suggested my friends do packages on extremely unnecessary news... like how much students like the milkshakes at the baseball games.
But like I said, our story made the A Block. NBC had also done a bit with Buzzfeed for this spot, which made total sense because Buzzfeed is a company aimed entirely at millenials and their habits, but it meant fewer of our bites would make it into the story, and actually none of mine. But I was okay with that fact because they did use a bite we received at UM that day, over any of the ones gathered in LA, which is just a cool bonus.
It's true with more of our bites, I would've had a chance at instant fame and Brian Williams knowing who I was for a few seconds. But without Buzzfeed we would've been D Block.
And tonight, for the very first time, D Block is not where I wanted to be.
You heard it here first,