I am currently in the middle of “meeting season” where my beat requires me to cover endless public meetings, usually in the evenings when everyone else is at home, in the hope it might produce news for the paper.
Unfortunately, these most recent meetings have been getting boring. At the latest one I was at, my disengagement from the night’s proceedings was surely evident to everyone assembled in the room. It really was one of those nights.
The bottom line is I eventually got home. Out of frustration, I started flipping channels on the TV, and I finally landed on PBS.
It was “Amanpour & Co.,” with Christiane Amanpour doing a serious interview with Victor Cha about the situation in North Korea. (Seen here: their flag.)
And that, my friends, sums up my current frustration. I’m interested in the serious, relevant stories of our times, like what’s happening in North Korea. Or the wildfire situation in California. Or better yet, all this Brexit drama. Lately, my parents have been calling me daily, looking for updates from me on whether Theresa May has been dumped as Prime Minister yet by her own party.
These are exactly the sort of riveting topics I’m interested in — topics like what Amanpour is covering. Unfortunately, it seems like she’s the only TV journalist in all of North America still able to get away with doing serious stuff on a consistent basis, because most other top-flight journos have to endure the current Donald Trump freak show in DC. Quite a few of them seem at their wit’s end. I’ve seen stories about correspondents who want to do international news, but who have quit in frustration because CNN has turned itself into the Trump channel full time.
In fact, I remind myself that this month marks 20 years, the 20th anniversary, of my epic trip to Washington D.C. to do that TV demo reel at the Washington Monument (it was being renovated at the time). That was back when Bill Clinton and all of his nonsense was dominating the news, so it was quite a time to be there. Now, it is even more of a circus atmosphere, with the folks in Washington having all kinds of fun covering that current joker in the White House and getting slapped with stupid rules and regulations to follow in the press gallery.
From just my own standpoint, I’m thinking that in my own part of the world I’m enduring a personal news “recession.” Last year at this same time, I had a really good run of important stories to cover, from political happenings all the way through the Gerald Stanley trial. Important, relevant news coverage that mattered to a lot of people. Ever since that trial ended, I feel like I’ve been crashing down to earth from a big-story standpoint. Lately, the news assignments have been run of the mill stuff – council meetings, criminals in court, etcetera. It really does feel like a slump.
I suppose I need to suck it up and inspire myself in some way to cover the news. Unfortunately, it’s a tough task: next week is, you guessed it, the start of budget meetings at City Hall. Hopefully, I can keep myself awake at those.