I don't say any of this to brag. I know for a fact that my colleagues both at News 7 and our competing organizations work similar hours with the same eagerness to get out and cover stories in their beats.
I'm writing to give you an idea of what it takes to get even the simplest stories on the air. Factor in the time it takes to drive to a story, conduct interviews, get video, drive back, write, and then edit it all together, and you've probably burned two or three hours. Then consider that some of the stories I cover are in Halifax or Pittsylvania County. It's a 90 minute drive one way just to reach parts of the southside from Lynchburg. Put all of that together and you'll understand why I feel like I need more than one version of myself to get it all done. Of course, if you ask some of my friends or family, they'll probably tell you one Tim Saunders is already more than enough!
All kidding aside, I can say that having so many places to be is teaching me a lot about time management. I'm learning how to get the most out of the resources I already have available. And that's really all you can ask for in any job. A chance to challenge yourself and learn something new about your limits and yourself. I can honestly say this job is teaching me a lot about both.
July 17, 2008
As talk about our state's transportation issues continues, I've noticed more and more discussion of trains. Many on the state and local level have started looking to the rails for a solution to rising gas prices, crowded highways, and road construction. Some believe trains are the answer to getting trucks off the road. Others say passenger rail will offer a cheaper way to travel or commute between cities near and far. However you feel about trains - their purpose or their future use - you can bet it's a topic we'll be hearing more about in the coming months.
This week alone, I spent two days covering train issues. My assignment Wednesday gave me the unique opportunity to ride the Norfolk Southern tracks between Roanoke and Lynchburg. My photographer Andrea Craig and I were invited to ride on the Operation Lifesaver train to observe safety issues on our local railroad. It was a fun trip that allowed me to see a new side of a familiar route. I've traveled the highways between Roanoke and Lynchburg more times than I could ever count, but I've never gone between the two cities by rail. I have traveled the tracks between Bedford and Lynchburg once before, but it was a short excursion and I was only 2 years old. That made Wednesday's journey a whole new experience for me. If you have a chance, look up my story on the trip and check out the video we captured.
In completely unrelated news, I wanted to say how excited I am that Travis Wells is our new sports director. He's a tremendous advocate for our local athletes and I know he'll do a great job continuing News 7's strong coverage of our local teams. I learned about Travis long before I ever knew anyone at News 7 first hand. I was a student at Liberty High School and a manager for the school's basketball team in the mid-90's. During that time, our team won back-to-back state championships. Both years, Travis took News 7 footage he'd shot and put together a tribute video to honor the team. We played those videos over and over on Liberty's closed-circuit TV station in the days after each championship. It was an unselfish act by Travis that helped build pride at my school and it's one of many examples of his dedication to high school athletics. I'm proud to see him carry on the legacy of outstanding sports coverage at my hometown station!
July 9, 2008