Thursday, March 17th, 2011
When I was young, I watched Rosie the robot clean the Jetsons’ futuristic crib – and I wondered when the influx of robots would take place.
Well, it’s happened.
This week, 9 News moved from using living, breathing, joking, caring camera operators to robotic cameras, controlled by computers and cables and codes.
And that sounds great. Technological advances are what news is all about right now. I mean, at one point, we had to wait for an afternoon paper to find out what had happened since the early morning. These days, we have instant access: On our computers, our laptops, our phones.
One of the bigwigs in our company explained why we’re losing our co-workers and using robots instead. And admittedly it makes a lot of sense – a lot of business sense. But in my opinion, it doesn’t make people sense.
Because you see, robots don’t make me laugh. They don’t calm me down when I get nutty about something silly. They don’t congratulate me on the births of my kids or tell me I’ve got the remnants of a donut on my mouth.
They don’t fill my coffee cup, talk about the Reds, shoot paper wads into a giant garbage can during commercials, and they don’t remind me that what we do on television isn’t brain surgery.
Robots don’t do any of those things. And those are the things that make Good Morning Tri-State what it is.
For the last 14 years, I’ve spent more time with my co-workers than I do with my own family. Many of you know how that is. And when you wake up in the middle of the night and come to work before the newspaper is delivered, wearing slippers and no makeup, you tend to bond with the people who are there, too. They become a temporary replacement to that soundly-sleeping family you left behind.
And now a huge part of that family is gone.
But not forgotten. You haven’t had the chance to meet them, so let me introduce you.
Jim: He’s been here longer than I have. He met his wife here. He had three kids here. Actually, not here exactly – that would be gross. And technically, his wife had the kids, but you get the point. Deadpan funny. I totally stole a bunch of his one-liners and claimed them as my own.
Randi: An always-smiling face, even at 4am. I’m not really sure she’s ever been mad. Or in a bad mood. Always helpful and kind. This is a rarity these days. She’ll make some other company a very good employee.
Vince: For some reason, Billy Joel’s “Angry Young Man” comes to mind. In a good way. Always opinionated and passionate, usually about something ridiculously inane. And that’s fantastic. Especially at 4am. At that time of the day, there’s only so much death and destruction you can take.
Erin: Is the kind of person who talks about her mom and ends her Facebook posts with exclamation points and happy face emoticons. That’s her personality. Exuberant, jubilant, altogether pleasant.
Andy: Baker of all things delicious. He’s made us cheesecakes, pies, banana bread - and his cookies are legendary. If the way to our hearts is through our stomachs, he’s found a way to set up shop there. West Side born and raised – and a fan of pretty much any sports featuring a Cincinnati team. Except Xavier. Which brings us to …
Chris: I’ve never seen him when he’s not a) wearing a hat or b) wearing something featuring the following teams: Xavier, Penn State, Cubs or Cowboys. Random allegiances? Absolutely. But this kinda fits a shift where you arrive at work – and often leave work – before the sun comes up. He can Google the answer to a random question I have, talk smack about UC and run a camera – simultaneously.
Cody: You know when some people wear an outfit that’s just slightly mismatched, you’re not sure if it was intentional or if they really think it goes together? That’s Cody’s sense of humor. He’s funny in a think-about it, non laugh-tracky, Parks and Recreation kind of way. This plays better after the first couple of cups of coffee.
Victoria: Recent hire. Took the job here knowing it would be obsolete in just a couple of months. That’s dedication. Or somewhat crazy. Either way, these are brilliant attributes for life in (or for that matter, out of ) television.
Dylan: His family’s in the media business, and yet he still decided to descend into a life of crazy shifts, early wake up calls and working holidays. And he’s done all of those things in his few short months here. Balances out the Xavier contingent with his plethora of UC wear. I’m pretty sure he could not do wash for a month and still have clean Bearcat gear.
And then there's Mark: The heart and soul of the production department. We call him Shakey. Probably not the best name for a camera operator, but it stuck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a smile on his face. A 22 year employee of Channel 9, through two buildings and hundreds of people who can’t do what he does so well. Worked almost every day of Good Morning Tri-State, not to mention dozens of thankless jobs around here that most of us didn’t even know about. This show