Talladega, baby!

I’ve lived in Alabama almost two years. In that time, there have been two NASCAR races at Talladega SuperSpeedway. I told myself I wouldn’t leave this state without seeing a race. I even put it on the 101 in 1,001 list!

download_20160501_095235-2All that was to say, I went to ‘Dega, baby!

Some friends from work joined me and it was, honestly, an incredible time. We tailgated a little in the parking lot. There are campgrounds around the racetrack. People spend the entire week camping before the race. It’s sort of crazy.

Of course, we had to dress the part. It is Talladega, after all. Seriously, though, you could wear whatever you want to the race. You’ll see it all there. Rednecks, normal people, preppy guys in khakis and boat shoes. There is one thing that you will want to either buy or bring with you:

EARPLUGS.

IMG_20160501_103755Y’all. It is ridiculously loud. The sound is like I’ve nothing I’ve heard. Just absolutely deafening. You wouldn’t think that sitting as high up as we were, it would be that loud. It was. The race, itself, was pretty damn interesting. Yes, they’re going in a circle. But the jockeying for position is actually fun to watch. That, and the crashes.

The crashes are pretty spectacular.

Everyone who crashed was not severely injured. The crashes looked worse than they actually were. For a place that only hosts two main events a year, the SuperSpeedway looks great. There are a few events during the summer that they host. Concerts and such.

But, the races are the real deal!

Also, we saw a shaved bigfoot!
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Learning to be a better journalist

I can cross another goal off the list!

Attend a workshop to better myself in my career.

ABA2015 CrewSaturday, I went to the 2015 Alabama Broadcasters Association Conference over in Hoover. It was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to hear Al Tompkins from the Poynter Institute speak about all things journalism. There were four sessions that day with topics ranging from social media to mobile journalism.

We had a good showing from the station. Photographer Marlon and I stayed the whole day, while others filtered in and out. I took copious notes. Some of the information, especially on social media, I’ve heard before. It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s perspective on how quickly that medium is evolving.

Al TompkinsAl Tompkins was great! He had a lot of really great information about open records in Alabama, where to find original source information and tons of awesome apps that can help me tell a story. I’m hoping that in the next few weeks I can start to utilize these great tools.

This was the first conference I’ve been to where I walked away with a mission. I need to work hard on delivering content on all platforms; broadcast, web, mobile, social. It can be overwhelming, for sure. Reporters are already asked to do a lot. I shoot all my own stories, write and edit them and post them to the web most days. When you add in tweeting, Facebook posts, Instagram videos, Snapchats, interactive web stuff, I wonder when I’ll have time to sleep!

ABA2015 NotesThe most important lesson I learned from #ABA2015 was to be flexible. From new platforms to new technology, my job changes almost daily. All I have to do to keep up is have an open mind and willingness to learn!

What things have you learned to keep growing in your job? Have you ever attended a work conference? I want to hear about it!

New things in my life

I took a stroll back through the 101 in 1001 list and realized I need to make some updates!

First: I bought a new vehicle!

11295938_10101837153481835_4443959928262182393_nBack in June, I traded in Timmy the Tacoma for Finn the 4 Runner. The dealership back in Bryan, TX, made me a deal that was too good to refuse. So I peddled as fast as I could back to Texas and traded him in.

So, because some of the goals I had were oriented around the truck, I’m going to either remove them or modify them for Finn.

Second: I got a personal trainer!

That I haven’t seen in almost three months! I know. I can hear the scolding looks from all of you. I have had zero motivation to go to the gym. It’s money that is going to waste each month for a membership. It needs to be a priority. So, any tips on making the gym matter would be greatly appreciated!

Third: I built a coffee table!

11750672_10101926992094535_5460802185852454500_nWith a little help from my friend Brad, I have a coffee table made out of pallets. I love it! It didn’t quite turn out the way I expected, but it only cost $13. It definitely has character, which is what I want with the furniture in my loft. I have a couple other pieces of furniture I want to build, too.

So, that’s a quick update on me! What have you been up to recently?

I met Oprah

wpid-20150118_191925.jpgI never really thought I’d say those words, much less be able to say I interviewed Oprah. That’s like meeting the President, only bigger in some aspects. She and some of the stars from the movie “Selma” were in Selma, AL, for a day long celebration of the movie on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend.

It was a really special day for that town. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the March to Montgomery that Dr. King led. The film’s director, producers (of which Oprah is one of) and a few celebrities came back to town. At the red carpet premiere, I had the chance to talk with John Legend, Common, David Oyelowo and Ms. Winfrey.

wpid-20150118_1926130.jpgEveryone has asked what it was like to meet Oprah. Well, it was loud and lasted about five minutes. Red carpets aren’t exactly exclusive. She was warm and gracious (everyone was, actually). She makes you feel very comfortable and relaxed. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. She’s an impeccable dresser (obviously). I always try to repeat in my head that celebrities are just people. It helps bring them down from the pedestal that society puts them on and makes interviewing them easier. At least, for me, it does. Oprah is an incredible person.

wpid-20150118_191311.jpgI only had two questions to ask (her handlers originally said just one), so I wanted them to be good. I asked her about the significance of being in Selma ahead of MLK Day. She said that Dr. King is smiling. She could feel his presence when they marched to the bridge earlier in the day. My second question related to her and the cast speaking to students at Selma High School. I wanted to know what she hoped to get out of the experience and from the film. Oprah’s response was, “That’s a great question. (pokes me in the chest) Great question.”

When Oprah tells you that you asked a great question…

A video posted by Michael Oder (@tvsmichaeloder) on Jan 18, 2015 at 11:13pm PST

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When Oprah Winfrey, a woman who has interviewed everyone under the sun, says you asked a great question, there’s no greater feeling. She could have said that to every reporter on that carpet that night. It still doesn’t take away that she said it to me, too.

It helped that I had all day to think of what I would ask, too.

Interview a celebrity.

I actually interviewed four! Didn’t expect to mark that one off the #101in1001 list so quickly!

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Here it is! The List 3.0

Time to kick this into high gear!

I’m putting the list up and starting the clock. The list is active today, January 5, 2015 and will expire on October 2, 2017. Again, 1001 days is just less than three years. My intention is to get 41 of the goals accomplished by the end of the 1001 days. On previous list, I’ve only been about to get about 25 checked off. That changes today!

There is a lot of travel in this list. I’m in a unique part of the country that puts a lot of great sites within “weekend road trip” distance. I want to take advantage of that while I’m here. I’ve cut the financial section down to goals I think I can manage. The ultimate goal is to be debt free (credit cards, bills) and start saving. I’ve also included an “extra” section at the end where I’m going to add goals as I go along. I tried to be as specific as possible with the 101 in the list, but there may be others that pop up and I want to be sure they get logged.

Please, check out the list after the jump and tell me what you goals you are setting this year!

Continue reading “Here it is! The List 3.0”

Whoa…

So, how ya been? Good? Good. I’ll get around to posting here more. I’ve taken a couple neat trips, marked some stuff off the 101 list and worked some cool stories.

Just need to make the time to gather thoughts and write.

So… please stand by.

Why am I doing this?

My friend Amy over at Interpret As You May is starting a series on “how to blog.” She’s celebrating her two year blogiversary.

*clickity* Give her blog some love. 

Her first post asked three questions.

Who are you? What do you like? and How private are you?

She crafts a pretty great mission statement for her blog from it. She’s also had two years to really refine that statement.

Got me thinking about my blog here. I’ve always struggled with trying to find other things besides work to talk about. Then it hit me; I like my job. I love my job, actually. I’ve been worried I would bore everyone. My job lets me do some pretty cool things and go pretty neat places.

So, if I were to answer those three questions, it would look like this:

I’m a television anchor and reporter that loves TV news, sci fi and space who has no trouble sharing my life with anyone who will listen. 

I’ll try not to get to jargon-y or technical. Just hope you’ll enjoy some of the things I love getting to do every day.

Let me know if you have a blog or website! I’d love to read it! (and bookmark it!). Better yet, who do you read online? Drop a link in the comments!

New computer

I had to bite the bullet and buy a new computer. Not my proudest moment. I went from being militantly Mac to buying a PC. My new ASUS laptop was cheap, holds a charge and connects to the internet. Three things my 7-year-old PowerBook G4 was not and could not.

A laptop under $400 isn’t the most powerful, but it’s getting the job done.

This covers another check on my List 2.0. I’ll take it. I’m saving up for a new Mac desktop.

Until then, I’ll be a PC guy.

The Master List

“Collect and organize all my online logins and passwords.”

One of my goals is to collect and record all of my online identities and passwords in one location. I’ve had a few people ask my why I would want all of that information in one place? The answer is a morbid one. I remember reading a few articles about a year ago about what happens to our “online presence” after we die. The article dealt with a few specifics like what family members could do with your Facebook account, etc.

The one thing that stood out was how difficult it was for families to gain access to those accounts. We don’t always share our passwords with anyone, much less our parents or significant others. The process to get control of many online accounts is arduous to say the least. The article recommended making a master list of  your accounts so that, in the event you can no longer access them, some one can take the appropriate action.

It’s not a list that will be laying around on my desk. It’s going with all other important documents in a very special place. That way, no matter what happens, someone can update this blog…

I’m marking this off, even though it will continue to be updated.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

I accomplished these goals before the list went active. So I’m going to check them off now!

Submit something I have worked on for an Emmy.
     I’m lucky enough to work with extremely talented people at KBTX. Every football season, for the last eight or so years, the station airs a Texas A&M Preview show before every home game called Aggie Gameday. I was honored to produce it last year. We made some changes, brought the show into the social media century and produce quality television.
     This year we submitted one show and one segment from the end of the 2010 season to the Lonestar Chapter of the Emmy’s. We should find out this month who is nominated. After that, it’s in the hands of the voters.
     I’m extremely nervous. Every time I think that I’ve forgotten about the nominations coming up, I think about the nominations coming up. It’s a dirty, vicious cycle. I think we stand a good chance to be nominated, but we do have some great competition. So we’ll see!

Become an Emmy member.
     This was a nice by-product of helping out the Lonestar Emmy’s last year. If you help judge entries, they let you be a member. For free. All I had to do was watch about three dozen DVD entries and score them. Piece of cake! Plus, it helped me get some great ideas for Aggie Gameday.
     Sadly, they don’t hand out membership cards or anything, so I can’t say that I’m a card carrying member. Maybe one day they’ll have cards. Who knows. But I’m proud to be a member and hopefully can submit work that others will find just as fascinating as I do.

Two down; 99 to go!