Birth pangs: Difficulty or turmoil associated with a development or transition.
What a week! You wouldn't believe the hoops that were jumped through to get us on air. It really is unbelievable what has just happened. We became a brand new face in the local news market, overnight!
It took months of hard work with tons of talented people involved to make the move happen. Last Sunday I walked out of our old station ( a building with so many memories attached to it, it was heartbreaking), and showed up Monday morning to a whole new place, job and show.
Of course there were bugs as was to be expected and it had our newsroom teetering on the edge of insanity. At one climatic moment last week we were cutting and recording stuff that would usually be done hours before, with 8 minutes to go before the show! Folks were running and screaming through the newsroom like madmen. Stressful? Yeah, just a little bit. Fun? Depends on who you ask but I thrive on that stuff. Yeah it was fun save for a few brand new gray hairs.
Overall I gotta say once the kinks are out, we have a lot of promise in our new venture here. We've taken a lot of what we are respected for in this town and thrown in a lot of great new ideas. If we are given the chance to spread our wings the only way we know how to, we're gonna come out of this bigger and better than ever!
So stick with us, we're just getting started.
On September 29th, Tuesday before last. A tsunami hits the islands of Samoa.
Within 24 hours Hawaiian Airlines schedules a relief jump from Oahu to American Samoa. With the help of local companies they carry over 40,000 lbs of donated water, food and bedding supplies to help with the disaster relief. President and CEO Mark Dunkerley invites the Media aboard the special flight. In the photo Dunkerley is briefing the media as to the plans and logistics upon arrival to Pago Pago International Airport. No matter how prepared the staff, crew and veteran journalists were, we still knew nothing of what to expect once we arrived.
The devastation was heartbreaking. Homes had been completely wiped off of their foundations. As a photographer, you find yourself struggling to find shots most of the time. In this case the issue was not the lack of subject matter but the overwhelming amount of damage and tragic stories to shoot. All too much and yet you can't help but want to tell everyone's story. In the end we had to pick and choose and hope our story would encompass what it is we saw and experienced.
As we went along we had run into an issue. We couldn't feed any of our video. The station back in Hawaii was desperately looking for video from us but because we had so many other things going on and had to pack at the last minute, we were screwed.
In the end we used my flip camera to shoot seperate video clips that we could FTP back. I also began snapping off as many photos on my iPhone as I could, which I would email back anytime I found myself within WiFi reach. All of this while shooting my flip Cam video and still composing my Panasonic news camera shots which would eventually be used for our stories back in Hawaii. Shooting for 3 seperate mediums can be taxing on your brain.
We were in American Samoa for a total of 30 hours. In that time we covered as much ground as we could. We met up with so many residents who had experienced loss of family and homes.
When we left we couldn't help but think that places like this are seldom thought of or seen by most. Beautiful places with beautiful people with generous hearts. Places where you think you might have visited had you looked into it prior. But here we were, journalists, again showing up when times are at their worst. And finding over and over, anywhere they send us, people's resiliency and faith keeps them going no matter the challenges.
A special heart-felt thanks goes out to so many people. Mark Dunkerley and his Hawaiian Air staff are an amazing group of people. The volunteers here and on American Samoa were all amazing. And to the folks that took us in while there, thank you all very much. Hopefully we did justice to the events and aftermath with our stories.