We all wonder about that greener grass on the other side of the pasture. Or in my case, on the other side of the reporter’s notebook or tweet.
When you’re a small-market, community journalist, and have been forever, or at least for 33 years toward eternity, you imagine those national reporters and what it’s like to hop a plane bound for … anywhere … to cover … anything … other than the usual.
What I learned Wednesday at the Trump Rally in Indy is that while it’s plenty fun, exciting and entertaining to hang with “big media” for a day, it’s no more glamorous than the routine stuff I do all the time.
In fact, I’m sure it would get old to run with that pack and hear the exact same candidates’ speeches every day for months on end. Heck, I could practically give Donald Trump’s speech for him after hearing it so many times on TV. Let’s see:
Build a wall and Mexico will pay for it. Going to take care of the veterans and build up the military. Get them out of here (hecklers). We’re going to start winning again. The media lies. All of them. Not all. Maybe 80 percent. But we need them.
You thought that was Donald? It was me imitating Donald.
But if I covered Hillary, the clichés would roll too, only the specific lines would differ. That’s how it is. How could it be otherwise? These people have a condensed message to take everywhere they go.
I learned there’s a whole lot of down time in the press “pen” awaiting a billionaire to show up at his own party. Then you wait some more.
I also want to commend the crowd – Trump fans and detractors. I found that people were by far polite, respectful and happy to talk to me. The protesters were hugely outnumbered by pro-Trump or at least pro-curiosity attendees. And the protesters were nice to talk to also.
Remember this: News, by definition, is not the ordinary, but that which is not. So that is why protesters get at times a disproportionate amount of attention.
If you look at my photos carefully you will see smiles among the protesters.
I also learned I’m old for this press pool. When did that happen? Then I had a moment to remember. Indy WTHR TV reporter Rich Van Wyk and one other older Indy reporter were there yesterday covering the day. I flashed back to about 1985 when Van Wyk and I stood side-by-side in a press wagon as we awaited the arrival of then-President Ronald Reagan who landed in Air Force I to give a speech at the Purdue Airport.
That was 31 years ago. And here we both are.
So aside for the three of us (the two older Indy TV reporters and me) the rest of those reporters – the ones who were live tweeting as fast as the news happened or even didn’t happen -- are so young! And the on-air ones are beautiful. No surprise, right?
None of them paid an ounce of attention to me unless you count a TV cameraman who told me not to move around because footsteps bounce the platform. Oops. They probably thought I was covering the day for AARP Magazine. (Don’t I wish, I might add).
I’d like to say the fun day ended on a positive note but the truth is, someone parked too close to me and scraped my car as she pulled out of the parking lot. Bummer.
Yes, a day in the life of covering an international figure …
Maybe I’ll get to cover Hillary too. If not, that’s OK. I got to go home for dinner, sleep in my own bed and file my story for seven Indiana newspapers. Not a bad day in the life of this community journalist.
The following slide show includes some “leftover” photos from the day. Still others not in this package will be in Sunday’s New Castle Courier-Times. And, our quarterly Her magazine for women will be out then too.
And Donald – I’m not a liar.
I love democracy. I love this country.