For local TV stations, news days like Thursday don’t happen very often; days when there are so many important stories going on all at once it’s practically impossible to apply the usual pecking order in deciding which one gets priority when going live or during the newscast.
Here we had two people missing in the icy waters of Falls Park while trying to rescue a child who’d fallen in. A man wanted for questioning in a Chamberlain homicide, is holed up inside a Sioux Falls house surrounded by lawmen trying to talk him out. Two people dead after their car was struck by a semi in front of the Grand Falls Casino. A woman sentenced to prison for being high on meth while a two year old in her care lay dead in the closet.
I wasn’t in the Keloland newsroom Thursday but can pretty much picture the scene; “organized chaos” as veteran assignment editor, Dexter Gronseth stands at his elevated desk with a phone (sometimes two phones) to his ear getting information and dispensing it quickly to those waiting for direction. “Ben, you and Rock head to the standoff..let me know when you’re ready to go live. Sammi, Don’s going to solo anchor. I need you to go with Kevin in the live truck and cover Falls Park..go..go go.”
Of course news directors, producers, photographers, engineers and all reporters are on hand scrambling to make sure we not only get our facts straight but FIRST.
I know these are serious and tragic stories and don’t mean to seem insensitive but for those who’ve chosen journalism as a career, days like Thursday are exhilarating and a true test of whether or not you have the chops for the job. From what I saw, you all passed with flying colors.