Jog Dial Adventures

Monday and Tuesday at Fox were largely variations on a theme. On Monday I sat on the assignment desk for a while but it was a slow news day and I eventually went up to master control upstairs. Unlike previous days I’ve done this, Ms. DeCorte must have missed me because she came up and asked when I would be done. I went back to the newsroom but didn’t have much to do. Perhaps they were swamped earlier. I did take some calls but I was largely unoccupied.At five I went up to the control room to watch the broadcast, always fun. Things went pretty smoothly so I was able to ask some questions of the producer I was sitting next to. Later that evening after I watched Thunderball.On Tuesday I worked in the newsroom again with more hope that I would have a chance to get out of the station for a while. There wasn’t too much to do in the early afternoon. Shortly after four I volunteered to cue some tapes, which gave me a chance to play with the Betacam recorders. The station received a subpoena for media coverage of a French Quarter murder and some tapes were pulled. The ones I got didn’t have much on them and when I finished, Nicole helped me find more. I went through those as the five o’clock news was starting. I was able to find the relevant story without too much trouble although I had a bit of trouble. The copies they make of the newscasts do not seem to have voiceover audio on the take so when B roll is running during VOSOTs, you hear the audio of the footage and not the anchor speaking, which I would imagine is not much help for someone wanting a copy of news segments.After I finished I went back to the assignment desk and got to talking with one of the production assistants I met a couple weeks ago. She’s interesting to talk to as she’s very candid about how things work at the station, so to speak. When the newscast ended at six, she was good enough to show me how to operate the teleprompter. They use Autoscript +WinPlus+ which works with ENPS. Operating the software does not seem difficult although it would take practice to master the scrolling dial and matching the speed of the anchors.The real difficulty is keeping up with the script changes as the broadcast is ongoing. The producer will routinely kill stories and apparently it’s not always clearly marked by the producer for the prompter operator. The operator has to pay close attention to the radio chatter while keeping up with the anchors and everything else going on.

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