Today was a crazy day at KCOY. To start the day, as everyone knows…Farrah Fawcett passed away. We made calls to interview her friend and Charlie’s Angels successor, Cheryl Ladd. After going to Ladd’s house in the Santa Ynez Valley, we headed on to Santa Barbara to do a story on California’s raising gas costs. As we got back to the station, we heard news of Michael Jackson going to the hospital. TMZ was the first to leak news of his death, but we had to wait for an actual news source to confirm. CBS News came next, so we rolled with it.
As many of you know, Michael Jackson lived in this area where the Neverland Ranch is. The trial was held right here in Santa Maria in 2005, so this story hit home for many today. Personally, I have a vested interest in the court case, as my uncle led the investigation and raid on the ranch. The entire central coast went into a mini-meltdown today, as well as the newsroom. Normally every Thursday KCOY goes live from a surrounding town for the evening newscasts. Today, the entire event was cancelled, and reporters were called in to do pieces on MJ. The news of his death broke right before the 5 o’clock show, so you could imagine the hysterics. Although it really is a tragic event, it was really exciting to see how real breaking news works in a newsroom.
Soon after everything was assigned, we hit the road again, back out to Santa Inez to interview a few jury members from the trial. After that, I got to interview one of Michael’s defense attorneys that was with him all throughout the trial. He was very sorry for the loss, and when I asked him to describe Michael in three words, he told me “kind, gentle and humble.” He told me lots of stories about Michael and his family. It was a very sad day, and was very surreal to experience my first “breaking news” about such an icon.
I am working on making a package of all of this in the next day or two, and will be shooting a standup at the Neverland ranch.
It has been a sad day for many, but it has been a big learning experience for me.