Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Row Too Close

When I sat in front row of the One Life to Live control room, I viewed news of the world through the lens of several small monitors that carried the networks. Mostly, I caught them out of the corner of my eye, while I was primarily focusing on the camera monitors for the show we were shooting. Our show monitors were far bigger, and far more salient to me. Those tiny monitors were simply a glimpse of what was happening outside our studio. If it seemed important, we might put it into the large "line monitor," but only on a break. We were there to make dramatic television, not to watch the events of the world. And that was okay with me.

Today, I sat in front of monitors that showed only the news. I witnessed the events of the day from numerous angles, in more detail and volume than I could have imagined. It is nothing so new--for the last several years, the news has been my front row view. When Nelson Mandela died during my time at an Africa-focused network, I was witness to a bit of history. During the year and a half leading up to the election, I listened to speeches and rallies and craziness that made soap plots look perfectly logical. I have always liked being "in the front row." But there have been days recently when a little multi-camera drama diversion would be welcome.

My "front row" experience, it seems, is an evolving one. Once, the pictures of real life were on tiny monitors, and not so present in my life. Now that they are bigger, I can't help but take a closer look. It may still be the front row. But what I see is some days can be a little too close for comfort...

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