Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Zip Tripping in Yarmouth

By: Jaclyn Deshowitz

During my summer internship at FOX 25, I had the chance to experience many different aspects of news production. I enjoyed working at the live desk during the morning show, and seeing how everything was produced and put together to deliver people their daily news. Working "in house" was essential to my learning process over the course of my internship, but I must admit that there were times when I craved to go out in the field and see how things came together on that end. Something that separates FOX 25 from other local networks is the weekly "Zip Trips" that they do every Friday morning during the summer. The concept of the Zip Trip is that they travel to a different town each week and try to discover what makes that location unique. They talk to locals to get the history of the area, interview town reps, find the best restaurants, and they also dig to find the best activities available for children. Zip Trips are open for the public to attend, and they have attracted lots of sponsors, such as Dunkin' Donuts and Plaster Fun Time. The sponsors are much needed, and they certainly help to add to the fun of it for attendees with free coffee and donuts and entertainment for the children. This past Friday, the Zip Trip took place in Yarmouth, MA, and the turn out was phenomenal. When we arrived on set around 5AM, people were already beginning to show up to catch the start of the show (and get dibs on the free munchkins of course!). By the time 6AM rolled around, the tech-guys had set up their mobile command center, scripts were printed, and we were ready to go. The field producer had selected a great location for this particular Zip Trip, Bass River Beach, and the glistening water and rising sun in the background seemed to let a flood of positive energy onto the set.

My personal task for the day was to capture the essence of the Yarmouth Zip Trip on camera. I took pictures of everything I saw, including fans, food, and funny moments. During the show, we did encounter a few un-scripted occurrences. Around 7AM, some employees from the ZooQuarium (A Cape Cod wildlife habitat) showed up with a few of their furry friends. They brought a de-scented skunk and an owl to the set, and once I told the field producer that they were there, he decided that he wanted to bring them onto the show for an impromptu chat. So, within minutes we had them ready to go on set, although some of the anchors were not very pleased about having to touch Leverne the skunk. It made for a great filler piece, and the crowd was excited to have the chance to play with and pet the animals once the segment was done.

A little later on in the show, we did a segment on some local restaurants in the area. We had three restaurants selected for the show, and they all turned out with delectable spreads that had been artfully set up at their stands. Each stand encompassed a different theme, and they all did a phenomenal job highlighting the foods that made their restaurants special. Being that we were on the Cape, seafood was the central item at each stand. From mussels to chowder, these places had it all! Two of the restaurants even had a little competition going on amongst themselves as to who had the best chowder in the area. Since there was no other way to settle the score, each restaurant provided the entire crew as well as all the fans with free samples of their chowders. Reviews were mixed, but my allegiance lies with the restaurant that also gave me a lobster roll and t-shirt before I left the set!

As the show neared its end around 10AM, the producers had decided to bring a local musician to the set to send everyone off with positive vibes and good tunes. Joe Merrick performed for all of the FOX fans, and he was a hit to say the least. His song "Goodnight Cape Cod" left fans cheering and singing along and it ended the show on a jovial note. So often, we turn on the news only to be greeted with depressing stories about the peril of the government, serial killers, rapists, and accidental deaths. Zip Trips provide viewers with a much needed escape from the typical daily news, and though I agree that it is important to remain informed, it certainly doesn't hurt to show the good that still exists in the world. Although some may say that Zip Trips put a veil over reality, they must consider the need for people to hear about good things once in awhile too.

Among the many things that I have learned this summer while working at FOX 25, I have also learned how difficult the business of news production really is. Initially, I viewed the news as being thrilling and glamorous, but the more time I spend with my co-workers, the more I realize how hard they work. The news never sleeps, so neither do the people who produce it. The hours that my co-workers put in to their jobs certainly does not fit into the typical nine to five category that most conventional jobs require, in fact, it is more common then not for somebody to work two or three overnight shifts per week. There is tremendous sacrifice involved, and working such crazy hours can have a huge affect on one’s personal life. Over the course of my internship, many of my co-workers have told me that when you work for the news, you are married to the news. So now I suppose the only question I have left to ask myself is do I, or don’t 1?

(For a complete list of photos from the Yarmouth Zip Trip visit--http://media2.myfoxboston.com/html/galleries/11/zip-trips/yarmouth/indexGallery.htm)

Joe Malone, Kim Carrigan, and Gene Lavanchy

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