Local Goes National

Before I start blogging away, I just wanted to say “thanks” to everyone who sent vacation ideas. I was absolutely overwhelmed. I got 30 suggestions from all of you — everywhere from the Outer Banks to Aruba. I have decided to forward all these suggestions to Sharon. After all, she is the one making the final decision. Also, it guarantees she won’t say “I can’t come up with a place to go.” Thanks again — you ladies (and it was all ladies who sent ideas) are tremendous.

Now for today’s entry. It’s always interesting when you see a story that you have done get national attention. Such was the case for my story about Justine Ezarik – a 20-something blogger and graphic artist based in Pittsburgh – who did something few of us rarely do. Take something that bothers us and turn it into something positive.

If you haven’t seen the story – and it’s on our website right now – Justine got her first Apple iPhone bill. It was 275 bucks, but the part that really got her attention was the fact it was 300 PAGES and sent in a BOX that had $10 in POSTAGE. What a waste! Justine decided to videoblog, showing the massive size of this document, and then ending her piece with this message: e-bill and save a forest.

She posted it on various video-sharing web sites. From there, it was seen by over 200,000 people and turned into a story in Monday’s “USA Today.” That’s where I saw it and I thought I would try and track her down — and I did. During our interview, I found her both engaging and sincere — and we ran my story on Channel 4 Action News at 5. Bringing a local angle to a story that had touched people nationwide.

Later that night, I flipped on MSNBC and saw Keith Olbermann’s show doing the same story — only they chose to show the video and nothing else. They did not even mention her name. I found that odd, but it was nothing compared with coming in here this morning and seeing my story played on ABC during their national overnight news program. I found out later that my story was sent to the network — which sent it out to all the ABC affiliates nationwide. I’m guessing more than a few played it during their newscast.

I guess it’s a source of pride when you put together a story and the subject matter is compelling enough that other TV stations want to run it. That is why we are in this business – to tell stories that people from all walks of life will want to see. Hey, I’m off tomorrow and probably won’t be blogging again until Monday. Have a great weekend and please be patient. I will reply to all your e-mails as soon as I can.
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