Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I earned money today!

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Good money: eighty bucks.

I got to the station by about five thirty. Boy, was Tom Trowbridge surprised! He usually has the joint to himself that early.

I started taking notes on today's story sound bites, so I could write my script.

I went out in the hall for some reason. A tiny woman, with lots of electronic gadgets and a lap top, stood there. She said, "I've been pressing the button for ten minutes, but nobody heard me." It wasn't an alarm button; it was a door opener button for people with the security code. The door is security locked overnight, to prevent theft of expensive sound and computer equipment.

I explained. I used my code and let her in. She was looking for Tristan, who usually shows up around eight or nine. He'd given her permission to use the production assistants' room. I told her about Linda, who had the key, and she got in.

I went about my day and forgot all about her.

About ten am, I went down to the patio for a smoke. There was the tiny woman, smoking. I sat with her and we chatted.

My polka dot, silk dress must have thrown her off; she asked me if I was the news director.

I explained who I was. I said, only crazy people want to be news directors or President of the USA.

I asked who she was.

"I'm a news director."

ut, oh.

She's here from Los Angeles for the public broadcasters' convention. She works for Free Speech Radio Network, a satellite-fed broadcast.

Somehow, I ended up telling her about my five day story, my first time out of the gate. I also told her about the sound I collected on homeless women at the city council meeting, and my plans for it.

She said she'd love to have a two-minute piece of them for her broadcast tomorrow night. Sunday's the big March For Women's Lives in Washington, DC. They're doing a broadcast on it, and the issues involved, tomorrow.

She thought it would be nice to go out of the broadcast with the voices of formerly homeless women and their advocates.

I said, "sure! I'll do it!" Sucker.

She wanted it finished by two thirty, when she thought she'd be leaving.

Well, I got back to work on tomorrow night's story. Nothing is ever as smooth or as fast as I think it'll be.

At one pm, I finished the last of my stories. I was beat and I just wanted to go home. Besides, I've never recorded digital audio off a minidisc before, and had no idea what I was doing.

I went into her office and tried to beg off.

She said, "we'll pay you eighty dollars."

I said, "sure, I'll do it!" oh, crap!

I used the newsbooth computer. I figured out how to operate the minidisc player. I opened the digital audio program. I went ahead and recorded all eighteen minutes of testimonials, as I'll need them for my stories, later. I saved this "raw" sound as homelesswomen.wav, in my audio folder.

I cut my sound bites. I assembled the whole thing. I got her to come hear it. With one, minor adjustment, it was finished.

I saved the file as homelesswomen.wav. It asked me if I wanted to overwrite the old file with the same name. I clicked "yes."

....and distroyed both my 2nd and first audio files! Sounded like hiccups.

By now, it's getting close to five pm. I've been there twelve hours; the news will be starting soon, and they'll need the newsbooth for the broadcast. I've got about twenty seven minutes, before everybody panics and throws me out.

I started all over, recorded from the minidisc, cut my sound files, assembled....and called them something else.

Tah dah!

I reported to her. She gave me a blank CD to burn. CD? Burn? Huh?

I went into the newsroom. I called up the file from the kunm network. I opened the CD burner icon on the screen. I tried to record the file.

I took it in to her and asked her to preview it, to make sure I got it right. It was blank.

Now, in the middle of all this, there is trauma in the control room: Democracy NOW! didn't broadcast at 4pm; something was wrong with the CD on which it was recorded; they'd have to go to a live feed off the satellite. Lots of arm flapping, phone calling and button pushing ensued.

Somehow, in the midst of this chaos, I boldly asked Tristan why I couldn't record my CD.

He explained I'd have to use the newsbooth computer, after five thirty.


Well, I sat down at the newsroom computer and thought a minute.

I'm just now relearning Windows Operating Systems. I'm on a WEBTV; we don't use such things. We don't even have mouses. Last time I used Windows, it was the ninety five version: a dinosaur.

BUt I know I can drag and drop a file from one computer folder to another computer folder.

So, I copied my newsbooth file to the newsroom computer. I put in the CD. I found the CD burner icon and opened it. I dragged and dropped my copy into the CD burner and...boom!

I did it.

I figured it out all by myself, without anybody's help!

I wrote my name and email address on the "dead" side of the CD, with the title of the track. I made 2 identical tracks, just in case.

I gave it to the tiny woman. She slipped it into her very kewl lap top. It played.

She emailed my Yahoomail account with the info I need to return to them. If I send an invoice by tomorrow, they'll cut a check on Monday.

They're doing a lot of coverage of No Child Left Behind.

I explained how New Mexico is at the top of all the "bad" statistics lists for the fifty states, and at the bottom of all the "good" lists.

Like literacy, teen pregnancy, substance abuse.........

I also explained that this state's politics are dominated by the Democratic party, which is run like a mafia here. So, one can't accuse me of partisan politics in my analysis and reporting of the situation here. I also explained there are dedicated elementary school educators, RIGHT IN THE SAME BUILDING with KUNM, whom I can interview.

She wants me to cover it: local story, with national implications.

I can pay off that damn, predatory debt! I can afford an inner tube, slime and a vacuum cleaner drive belt!

I may even get me some cheap Chinese food, for a treat.

I am not only earning money, I'm doig what I love, what I'm good at, and what I believe in with all my heart...and tried to do, all my life, for free.


PS: and, no, in all the hub bub, I do NOT remember the tiny woman's name!

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