LUTV Blog Log Four
An Important Day
One of the best days of the LUTV Super Semester occurred this past week. I got the chance to cover a story that was popping up all of the St. Louis area media. There were news outlets picking it up in other parts of the country as well.
We were all covering a couple that was charged with keeping their autistic child in a cage. The story was hard to believe. There were multiple children in the home in December 2010 when the police first found the child. The prosecuting attorney did not press charges at the time.
New evidence surfaced, so the current St. Charles County prosecutor decided it was appropriate to press charges.
Getting The Interview
The story was a VO/SOT. The county district Attorney Tim Lohmar agreed to meet with me at 1:30p.m. There were two hours between when the interview began and when the news went live. That left time in the morning to prepare for the afternoon and plan the other elements of the story.
I spent an hour combing through the stories local and national media had posted in the few days prior. Doing so was very helpful. It gave me a flavor for how others had gone about telling the story.
I also used Google and Google Maps to find the house the alleged crime was committed in. Figuring out where it was resulted in a rush. Not only was it a good exercise in reporting to figure out what home the child was originally discovered in, but knowing its location also gave me the chance to get extra footage for the story.
Going to the house to shoot B-Roll was a really good experience. Critical thinking was a big part of putting shots together. I had to really plan out what I needed. The basement was a part of the story, because the boy was allegedly held there. I could not go in the house, or even step on the property. Instead I got shots of the basement window. There was a child’s chair on the porch so I took B-roll of that. A sign on the door announcing the presence of an autistic child also provided another shot which enriched the visual elements of the story.
No neighbors came out and asked what I was doing. This was surprising. Most people would come outside and inquire if a random man in a suit was standing in the middle of the street with a camera. No one did. Maybe nobody was home. Maybe the local media coming through a few days earlier had removed the need for questions. Either way I was glad I didn’t have to defend my presence there. However, I was prepared to do so. I made sure to stay on the street, because it is public property.
Tim Lohmar was very pleasant. If your subject isn’t kind you still have to do good work, but doing that work is made far easier when the interview runs smoothly.
Lohmar offered good answers that weren’t canned. Overall, I was pleased with the finished product.