Mikaela's Wake Up Call

Wild Kingdom

Last night I decided to go to Book Club.  Why do you care?  This is when this whole situation with the animals that escaped, became real in my world.  And it also lets you know how this cycle of news works in a 24-7 world.

I was leaving the booth of a restaurant in Grandview and planning on going home and getting to bed late.  6 hours of sleep in my future at the time.  Then a friend of mine from another station, who also happens to be in my book club, stopped me as I was putting my purse on my shoulder and saying my goodbyes.

“Well, I guess this will be your top story tomorrow,” she said.

She passed her Blackberry through the line of girls sitting in a line chatting about having babies, the latest hot book, and the family move they just made.

Wild Animals Escape in Zanesville.

What?

I checked my Blackberry as I got into my car, seeing the same thing coming from NBC 4.

One thing about breaking news, it’s kind of like fresh meat.  I hate to make the analogy given this situation, but it’s true.  Once one outlet gets a whiff of it, everybody does and we’re off and running.

When I woke up this morning, we had a power blip as I was getting ready during that early hour.  3:00 a.m.  I jumped a little bit.  Had animals on my mind, even though I was a good 60 miles away from any of the action.  I know, kind of hokey, but it’s also the truth. 

You can’t write this stuff, really.  It was kind of like stepping out of a Stephen King novel this morning as I came into work.

In this case, when the surreal becomes real, parts of your sensibilities as a reporter tell you to collect the information—but to be totally aware at the same time.  And I kept thinking about that as Rick Reitzel was out there this morning in front of the Command Post doing live reports for NBC 4 Today.  Here he was, needing to collect information… but also needing to protect himself.  Who knew what was just 100 feet away from him, away from the lights of satellite trucks and law enforcement?

The scene was relatively calm this morning (I think the darkness was a real issue for searchers), but that scene at the command post didn’t tell the whole story.

I heard from viewers on Facebook this morning that did not sleep a wink last night because they lived so close to the search.

From Christina:  I was scared most of the night, but I was so happy they cancelled school for the kids. Hope I don’t see any wild animals when I leave.

From Samantha:  It was like a war zone last night. Search lights, swat crews and tons of gun shots!  Didn’t sleep. We have five Dalmatians and I was paralyzed in fear to let them out. My office is only a mile from the scene! Crazy!!

Can you imagine?  I truly can’t.

Jack Hanna showed up in our live shot around 6:15 this morning, with his signature hat on his head… but also looking extremely serious.  I watched his face closely as he took in the information he was getting at the command post.  You knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy day.

NBC 4 will continue to follow this story throughout the day and night; I’m getting ready to end my shift after working the phones and watching coverage throughout the area.  But I can guarantee you; I’ll be checking my Blackberry.  Not just because of my job.  But also out of shear curiosity.

Wild Kingdom, Central Ohio.  You never know what to expect ANY day in a newsroom.

Posted by  on 10/19 at 10:43 AM

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