The focus behind this blog is to share the inspiration that comes out of the news stories I do. This week, a 9 year old boy from Los Angeles said something to me that showed me how critical it is to cultivate inspiration within children. Thank you, Donny!
The story was the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and sounds like a fun event, but photographer Mark Bost and I knew this was going to be an uphill climb. Because this is the White House, security was tight. The press would be kept in a “pen,” separated by a fence from one particular egg-rolling area, and we were given strict instructions we couldn’t leave the pen to interview the families and children who were participating. To add to that challenge, our station gave us a GoPro camera which they asked us to strap onto one of the children participating. It would provide us with amazing, point of view video from the child’s perspective, but without being able to approach the families, I had no idea how to pull this off.
Time went on. hours passed, and Mark got some video from the pen, zooming in on kids rolling eggs down the lawn, but still no interviews. I asked a White House representative when we could get onto the lawn and interview people. He told me they could take us to another location, around 1 pm (3 hours later) as long as we had a tour guide. This was not going to be easy.
Then, a little while later, the President came out to the balcony, made a speech, and introduced the First Lady. Then, they walked down to the area beside where we were filming, and shook some of the children’s hands, posed for pictures and talked to families. We shot video of it. Still, no interviews.
Mark and I resigned ourselves to the challenges and tried to make the best of it. Every day, we face challenges doing our job whether it be a lack of time to complete our story, officials not being available to talk, or sometimes, our story takes us to a dangerous, crime-ridden area. So, the challenges presented this day were not a big deal to us, but it wasn’t an ideal situation.
After another hour or so, we decided we were going to bite the bullet, lean over the fence and ask families if they’d wear the GoPro. The worst thing that could happen is we’d get yelled at by the White House people or the families would just say no. To our surprise, the first family we asked said yes, and the second family did too! Somehow, no one noticed from the White House team, or if they did, they didn’t seem to care. Not only were these children delighted to be part of this event, but they were excited to be on TV – and their parents were thrilled. We interviewed a teen names Lauren from Massachusetts, and a family from northern Virginia with three children, Lucas, Sophia and Annabelle.They were all having the time of their life, and gave genuine, enthusiastic interviews. Mark and I were thrilled, and ready to head out to go put together our story.
Then, as we were packing up, a woman on the other side of the fence, leaned over and suggested we talk to her son. He had met the President when he came down onto the lawn. Even though we had everything we needed, how could we say no? We interviewed 9-year-old Donny from Los Angeles and he talked about how exciting it was to meet the President, and showed us how the President shook his hand. And then when I asked him what the best part of their meeting was, he said, “Today I realized that anybody could be the president and change the world, make it a really good place.”
It was a pure and simple dose of inspiration. You can do anything you set your mind to. What a gift that was for Donny to meet the President. He’ll remember that for the rest of his life. And now, hopefully, other people will remember his words too, because we included that in our story. And of course, it’s the focus of this blog.
My the three takeaways from this assignment are 1) don’t accept no for an answer, be persistent, 2) you can do anything you set your mind to, and 3) share your light and inspiration with others.
#ReachHigher and pass this blog on! Thank you!!