Posted by Nancy Francis
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"What a wonderful life I had. I only wish I'd realized it sooner."
-Colette (One of my favorite writers; my youngest daughter is her namesake)
"What a wonderful career I had. I only wish I could remember more of it."
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Probably the biggest regret of my career is that I did not keep a journal or at least a list of all the stories I covered. That would make it a lot easier to answer all the recent questions about what were my favorite or most memorable stories.
The pace of a television reporter's day is usually so dizzying that once it begins, the previous day's story is like a vapor. I'm sure I've covered a lot of stories that would be considered extraordinarily memorable... if my memory didn't fail me.
I do remember my first live shot in Portland was the grand opening of Pioneer Courthouse Square. I also remember when the first MAX train officially pulled into downtown for its first morning commute, Teresa Richardson and I were broadcasting "News 8 at Sunrise" live from the Square.
I remember exciting election nights, the exuberance at the winners' parties and the awkward quiet at the losers' gatherings...and then the fun esprit de corps in the newsroom later as all the reporters returned from their assignments with election night gossip.
I remember so many gracious and kind people who talked to me even though they didn't have to.
REPORTING FROM THE OREGON STATE PENITENTIARY
I remember so many tragic and/or perverse stories I'd just as soon forget, frankly.
I remember crime victims inspiring for their capacity to forgive.
I remember receiving a phone call from a woman I'd interviewed about 15 years earlier. She'd been part of a story I did about women on welfare trying to improve their lives and become more independent. She was calling to tell me she was getting her PhD!
More recently, I remember marvelling at a march and vigil in NE Portland in honor of Portland Police Officer Mark Zylawy, killed in a crash on I-5. I'd never seen anything like that outpouring of support. The people paying tribute to him were not the types you'd expect would march in the icy rain to honor an officer. One mournful young man politely turned down my request for an interview; he told me there were warrants out for his arrest, so he did not want to be on TV. Yet there he was, mourning the loss of an officer so beloved by that neighborhood.
I remember savoring the beauty of our region: the healing landscape at Mt. St Helens, the majesty of Multnomah Falls seen above from Sky 8, snowflakes big as butterflies on Mount Hood.
Speaking of Mount Hood, I remember hands so cold they hurt.
I remember the best news photgraphers in the Northwest.
UNFORTUNATELY, NOT ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL PHOTOGRAPHERS WERE AROUND FOR THIS PHOTO. NO DOUBT THE ABSENT ONES WERE OUT SHOOTING MORE AWARD-WINNING STORIES.
I remember the day some pranksters "kidnapped" an owl from the zoo. It was found that night, safely perched on the toilet seat in a restroom of an AM/PM market in NE Portland. That's what you call good video!
I remember a campaigning George H.W. Bush (the elder) behind the wheel of a big rig for a photo op at Jubitz Truck Stop.
I remember President Clinton coming to town for the Timber Summit.
I remember interviewing a woman who claimed to be psychic and hoping she could not read my mind because, as she spoke to me, I was thinking she was crazy!
I remember standing outside Julianne Phillips' parents' house in Lake Oswego with a throng of reporters. We were waiting for her fiance, Bruce Springsteen, to drive up for their imminent wedding. We got so excited when a limo rounded the corner, but were disappointed it was full of some high school kids on their way to a prom. A pizza delivery guy later brought pizza to all of us. We learned "the Boss" was inside the house the whole time and he was the one who ordered the pizza for us.
I remember interviewing Oprah Winfrey (twice! I'm lucky.) and falling under her spell. Oprah IS impressive!
Oh yes, and this...
For the record: KGW Videojournalist Brian Robertson should get credit for noticing "Turtle Boy" Jonathon Ware and suggesting that I interview him. I only wish Jonathon made some college money from his YouTube fame.
I guess I remember more than I thought.
Now some ancient photos...
These are from an old article in a now-defunct weekly paper in Bend. I was fresh out of college and working my first TV job.
Yes, that is a MANUAL typewriter in the photo above.
Barely out of college and interviewing Senator Mark Hatfield. Look at the camera!
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FAST FORWARD TO YESTERDAY...my last day reporting "in the field"
I was fortunate to work with the legendary multi-award- winning photojournalist, Kurt Austin.
GETTING READY FOR OUR NOON LIVE SHOT
KURT WITH SATELLITE TRUCK WIZARD DAN DUGAN
WHAT THE REPORTER SEES DURING A LIVE SHOT.
(What a reporter MAY be thinking during a live shot: "Why am I standing in the cold pouring rain talking about something that happened INSIDE while Matt Zaffino is in the dry warm studio talking about the pouring rain? :=)
HURRAY! OUR DAY IS DONE.
More later, including..."Anchor Hair:Variations on a Mullet"