PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — November has been an extremely busy month for the station, but for myself as well. As graduation approaches and I continue to look for jobs, I’ve been incredibly grateful to experience what it’s like to work here.

Although I wasn’t in the building on Election Day, I could feel the anticipation from other reporters and newsroom staff before and after the final results were in. On Election Day, I felt like I was watching history unfold in real time. The results were being updated on WAVY.com, so I got to watch the race closely and witness Glenn Youngkin’s victory for myself. Moments like these make me realize how much of a force the station’s digital department is.

So much of how we read, receive, and watch news is through our cell phone or on social media. In my opinion, WAVY delivers news in a succinct and accessible way, which makes the station stand out amongst their peers.

Live shots in the AM

On Nov. 5 I got to accompany Kiahnna Patterson and LV in Hampton to cover a serious car crash on Big Bethel Road at around 12:30 a.m. The woman was taken to the hospital for serious injuries. When I first arrived on the scene around 4 a.m. the road was still blocked off from both directions, and emergency response was finishing up. Yellow tape surrounded the area where the car had hit the tree, and a tow truck was pulling the mangled, white Jeep Cherokee away from the scene. It was pretty unfortunate to see.

Right as I got out of my car, I shot a stand up in front of what was left of the scene. As my eyes teared up from the cold air, I focused on what needed to get done as I didn’t have much time.

Kiahnna and LV helped me with:

  • Using active voice. This is extremely important when it comes to live reporting, but it applies to news on a larger scale as well. Active voice keeps the audience engaged and seemingly gives them a better idea of the scene. While I practiced my stand up, I said, “A serious car crash on Big Bethel Road resulted in a woman being in the hospital this morning.” Kiahnna corrected me and told me to say this instead: “A woman is in the hospital fighting for her life right now after a serious car crash…”. This completely changed my tone and delivery to the audience. On early mornings, it’s typical that many viewers are getting dressed and headed out the door for work, with WAVY in the background. In that window of time, reporters need to speak actively and be accurate to keep viewers informed.
  • Body positioning. When on camera, it’s important to take note of where you’re standing, your gestures, and overall your entire posture. When I practiced my first try, LV suggested to me that turn to my left rather than my right when trying to point out the scene to viewers.
  • Write, write, write. This is sort of similar to using active voice, but different. The importance of writing scripts for newscast and live shots is to nail down all the important details in a concise but engaging way. For example, in one of my final stand ups, I said the word fatal, when I meant to say serious. This could’ve been a huge problem if I was actually live. I could’ve mislead people at home or confused the injured person’s next-of-kin. I would’ve have to make an entire correction. Kiahnna assured me that the more I practice writing, the better I’ll become at it– but it’s definitely not a part of the process to neglect.
Avi Scott on the scene of a serious car accident on Big Bethel Road in Hampton (WAVY/LaVoy Harrell)

Until about 9 a.m., I watched Kiahnna do several different live shots from a nearby church parking lot. Each one had the same basic details, but somehow she made each shot different using her voice and style of reporting. Being able to shadow Kiahnna was one of my biggest goals for my internship, and I’m glad I got the chance to do it. Not only is she extremely great at her job, but she’s down-to-earth and from Hampton Roads like myself. I hope to work with her again before my time here comes to an end.

For more updates on how my internship is going, check out my Twitter @ascottreports.