“Bourbon and ginger beer:” A day in the life of Nick Valencia

Valencia prepares for his 1:30 p.m. shot. The cameraman adjusts the lighting,  since the Sun came out. Photo by Farhin Lilywala.
Valencia prepares for his 1:30 p.m. shot. The cameraman adjusts the lighting, since the sun came out. Photo by Farhin Lilywala.

By: Farhin Lilywala

In my wildest dreams, I did not imagine that I would have the opportunity to hear a live CNN reporter say, “Nick Valencia, CNN Atlanta.”

Nick Valencia says this phrase every time he ends a segment.

I saw him say it about six to seven times on Sat. Oct. 26. Each time, it was surreal to think the man talking in front of me is on live cable TV.

I thought if I was standing behind him at the time, then I would be in the shot too. Of course, I wouldn’t and didn’t do that. But alas, it was an incredible sight to witness.

Valencia had to be on air at 6:50 a.m., so we were at the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta headquarters bright and early at 6 a.m. with a cameraman and a producer.

Although we didn’t actually go inside the facility and just shot the footage from in front of the sign, we went through a full set of security measures due to the sensitive nature of the facility.

Valencia and the producer apologized for the holdup, but honestly, I didn’t mind. In fact, for the first time, I felt how it would feel covering a real broadcast story in the field.

I have little experience in broadcast, which only excited me more to learn about it from a professional.

Valencia was at the CDC site to report an Ebola update. According to the producer and Valencia himself, they spent the previous two days confirming sources and retrieving as much information as they could.

In fact, Valencia wanted to report the story from a different angle, but sources could not be confirmed in time; therefore, the team quickly shifted gears and gathered information for the new story.

At about 6:40 a.m., Valencia and his two-man crew began final preparations for the shot.

The cameraman ensured the lighting was proper, Valencia put his makeup on, and the producer called into the control room to make sure the audio and video were clear.

At 6:48 a.m., Valencia went live to do a brief teaser for the story to come after the little more than three-minute break. (A longer break than usual, said the producer.)

After his first clip, Valencia went live once again at 10 a.m. and then again at 1:30 p.m.

Generally, between these live shots, the team would bustle around, gathering the newest information available.

In this specific scenario, however, there was no new information to be reported. So, there was somewhat of a lull in between the shots.

Nonetheless, Valencia takes this time to catch up on other stories going on around the world, as well as writing quick packages.

Valencia said, “Part of my strength is writing quickly and not just that but writing well.”

Although I had heard about the significance of writing well before, this was one of the few times I saw it in action.

Shadowing Valencia for the better part of the day allowed me a glimpse of what a journalist, specifically a broadcast journalist, goes through on a daily basis.

I sit in my newsroom, as “Ms. Editor-in Chief.” In reality, I can’t wait to be a journalist for the rest of  my life, doing research and falling in love all over again with my first love: writing.

Fall 2014 The Collegian

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