It was a clear, sunny day. I heard everyone at newsroom and outside saying "it’s a beautiful day". Monday also happened to be my first day at Multimedia section of Post-Gazette. After working on stories in feature, local and op-ed sections, my mentor Greg and I decided that it’s time to learn some techniques of New Media. It would also be a primer for me as I’m attending Keystone Multimedia Workshop (July 10-12) in Gettysburg, PA.
When I was scanning through the mails in my desk, Mellisa Tkach and Nate Guidry showed up and asked me to join them. I headed to Multimedia section where I had already done a podcast. They had already lined up a couple of assignments. Nate asked me to shadow him. The first assignment being on a couple who fought on their wedding night. They were speaking to media at local station of NBC. Nate, an amiable guy who has left his wife in Colombia and missing her very much, was very helpful in answering my queries. We drove to a nearby gas station talking about rise in gas price.
Then, we made round of Allegheny Center (my apartment). Nate parked the car and took me to a roadside where I was introduced to Gul Kalaris who sells iceballs. As we sipped ice balls in the hot afternoon, Nate told me that he has covered him on PG video. Gul apparently hasn't watched the video yet. Back it Nepal, our magazine used to run a column called man on the street which talked about ordinary lives. It was nice to know Nate doing the same.
On our way, Gabrielle Banks, a PG reporter joined us. We headed to the North Hills. As we reached the venue, the bride and the groom who have become instant celebrities thanks to the wedding night brawl, turned up accompanied by their attorneys. But, they returned only to come half an hour later. Inside the studio of NBC, a lot of preparation was going on. The coordinator of the program was briefing us (which is rare in Nepal, we are simply thrust into a press meet) about the program. He told us that before beginning the actual program, the couple wanted to get familiar with the reporters (unheard of back home). Then, the cameras were set up, everything ready to go, waiting for the couple to arrive. The groom's eyes were still red from the injury on the night. But the bride looked gorgeous. They shared some of the intimate details of their lives and regretted on the most beautiful (supposed to be) event of their lives turning to a nightmare.
The conference took place in a sophisticated studio at WPXI in Summer Hill.
To me, the incident (despite having some human interest element on it) was not worth a tiny bit of newspaper space, let alone a front page story, video and column on it. But, at Post-Gazette my colleagues have done a number of stories, Tony Norman even wrote a column on it. What was interesting to me was how the reporters ask questions, what do they focus on in such topics and how a press conference is handled (I missed the reception after the meet we are used to back home). But, there were only five reporters. It was odd for me because in Nepal we see several media persons jostling for bites and info.
The groom, Dr. David, a dentist by profession, said that the media coverage was responsible for ruining his career. The bride, Christa, an assistant at his dental clinic, also blamed media for giving too much attention to a wedding party turned into a disaster. It's also an example of how ordinary people (after an incident) find themselves chased by reporters in this media-saturated world. Watch out the video here.