When I first started in news, I realized we tend to have a warped perspective of the world. Maybe it’s the odd hours, maybe it’s the fast pace or maybe it’s the being immersed in the bad news. Whatever the reason when I’m in a conversation with a non-newsie and the name of a town or community is brought up, my mind goes to what story I was there to cover. Most of the time it’s bad; a fire, flood or murder. Sometimes there are good stories; political activism, an inspiring sports team or just a quirky person doing something interesting. Either way, I’m certain it’s not how most people view the world. If you’re interested in testing this theory, find a person who works in news and ask them what they know about your hometown.
I wanted to find a way to convey just how interesting and diverse a life in news is, so after doing a story about a guy who created a cool map…I decided to make my own. It’s a Google map that allows me to place markers at the locations I’ve found myself. Each icon has a description of the story I was there to cover and sometimes my thoughts and reactions to the story or the community. Some icons include pictures or video from the scene.
While there are a lot of bad stories I’ve had to cover, each one has taken me to a different part of Oklahoma. I’ve tried to include positive experiences even with the most negative of stories. I have not included every story I’ve covered since arriving in Oklahoma three years ago, but I’ve tried to hit every town I have visited. I will continue to update this map as I travel to new locations and tell new stories.
To view the map use the embedded link below. You can also find a more permanent location on the “Phil’s Map” page, or go to the “Pages” tab at the top of your screen. It is important to note that the thoughts and views expressed in the icons are my own and do not represent the staff or management of any station or employer.
View Phil’s News in a larger map
It was snow day. Already into spring, but there was a winter storm on the horizon. Doomsday predictions, rampant speculation from all sorts of media. We were all in the afternoon news meeting trying to decide what stories to cover for the day. Each reporter trying to pitch a story interesting enough to keep us out of a live shot in the cold weather telling people how cold it is outside. Not that we reporters don’t love live shots, it’s just we’ve all done weather stories and know if you pitch a story that’s good enough someone else will end up being cold for the night. Of course when it’s spring and there’s snow in the forecast, it didn’t matter what any of us came up with…we were all doing a weather story.
The most interesting idea of the day was a discussion we got into when someone pitched the idea of are people buying the forecast? Weather had been a big topic all week and we had seen predictions from anywhere from 12″ to 2″ in the metro…some people even predicting roads would be shut down in the city because of the impending doom. Beware the White Death screamed the billboards. Tie a rope from the barn to the house so you can feed the animals during the blizzard. OK, so maybe that’s a little over the top and a bit exaggerated, but it was a little silly at times. I think we’ve all seen snow forecasts in Oklahoma that were big and scary and then turned out to be nothing. So thus was born the idea that became my assignment.
It was decided that I would be the one to go out and find the snow skeptics. Since I was one of the biggest skeptics, it seemed only fitting. Plus for those who don’t know me…I sometimes smart off about things…and my sarcastic humor lended itself to this story quite nicely.
In the end…the forecasts were partly correct. Parts of NW Oklahoma saw up to two feet of snow, but it dried up just before hitting the metro. Officially, Oklahoma City got an inch of snow…I would call it a trace of snow at my house, but then again, almost all of it had melted by the time I woke up and went to work. The snow picked back up when the storm moved out of OKC and I ended up following the storm east for my Saturday story and actually saw a lot of snow that we were lucky to have avoided in the metro.