On The Road with
I interviewed for a reporter position at WTVT when I was just out of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. My resume included a tour of duty with American Forces Radio and TV in Sicily as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve.
I worked with Jule McGee and Ray Blush in 1975-76 as a reporter/photographer on
Project 13. I learned a great deal from
Jule, who was tough as nails but had a heart of gold.
He is to this day one of the most dedicated 'photogs' I ever worked with.
I can remember a Project 13 shoot on how hydrilla, considered the most problematic aquatic plant
in the United States, was clogging the rivers of Florida.
Jule waited on a bridge for almost an hour at sunset to film an airboat coming down the
Hillsborough River spraying the chemicals to eradicate the underwater weed. It was a beautiful shot with perfect
light...the perfect closing shot for the half-hour program. When we
got back to WTVT the following day and developed the hundreds of feet of film, it was all great...except for that beautiful
closing shot. A problem in the processing of the film left 'comets' (developer) on the celluloid... making it unusable. The story was to air in two days, so
while I began the editing Jule saddled up and drove almost two hours to get back
that bridge before sunset. The same airboat came down the river at dusk and Jule
re-shot it...then drove back to the station and stayed late into the night to develop
it. Two days later it was the closing shot for the story.
You can talk to someone forever about dedication and excellence, but seeing it makes an impression. As for Ray Blush, you won't find anyone any smoother...in style or delivery. I learned a great deal from Jule and Ray and I used it as a building block to a successful career at CBS News where I was a White House Correspondent and then a principle correspondent on the West 57th newsmagazine. I left CBS in 1989 for family reasons and have since been an anchor and investigative reporter for KMGH in Denver.
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