So Much…So Little Time

WOW! It’s been a long and busy 48 hours. We arrived here in Moore on Tuesday night just before 10 pm. Using out new LiveU technology we did a LIVE shot at 10. Then put together something for the morning show. At about midnight we checked into our hotel (the last two rooms) and crashed.

A part of me felt guilty taking up a hotel room, thinking there might be some people out there who REALLY don’t have a place to stay because they lost their home. But I knew I was here for a reason and that I’d appreciate the room after a long days work.

I sure did!

Yesterday we started at 9:00 am. Tried to meet up with the Tennessee Task Force but had trouble because of traffic and restrictions. The media wasn’t being allowed into most neighborhoods yesterday. If you got lucky and got passed security guards, you’d likely get kicked off the property shortly after by someone else coming around patrolling. I totally get why. They don’t want looters or people hanging around dangerous places. It makes sense but it made our job difficult.

Then the traffic was and still is a headache. So much devastation closing so many roads as crew work to restore and repair power lines, telephone lines and debris. BUT their efforts are amazing! Absolutely amazing.

Yesterday we turned four stories…almost all with Mid-South ties. Its really a small world. I had the opportunity to meet up with family of a woman who lives in Memphis. Angela (Angie Copeland). I haven’t met her YET but I met her family. Angie grew up in Moore and said it was so hard to the devastation on TV. So I promised her we would check in on her family. Last night at 10 we brought her families story to the mid-south. Who knew there was a connection right here.

I am not sure I’ve really had time to process all this. The devastation is just UNBELIEVABLE! It reminds me so much of Parkersburg and New Hartford. I covered the aftermath of those tornadoes at the beginning of my career at KWWL. Speaking of KWWL, I’ve been helping them out. Last night I did two phone interviews with them. And today I shot two looklives for their shows.

I’m a firm believer that you can’t forget where you came from. And although I didn’t have to help them, I wanted to and tried my best to because they are the reason for so much of my success here. Obviously my priority was Memphis…but I couldn’t forget about my home. And I’m pretty sure that my mother in law loved hearing my voice on KWWL again.

Anyway, I’m writing this in between LIVE shots while my photographer edits. We leave tomorrow. And it’s so sad I want to but I don’t want to. There are so many stories to be told. So many people at work. And so much work ahead.

If you pray, please pray for the people of Moore. They could use all the support they can. I know you’ll pull through. Based on everything I’ve seen this week…the world has only seen the beginning of what Moore can do.

For now…that’s all I got! Stay tuned for more! đŸ™‚

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When Disaster Strikes

Yesterday when I heard about the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma (a suburb of OKC) my first thought was “what can I do to help?” Then I thought about how important of a job journalists have when disaster strikes. No it’s nothing compared to emergency responders BUT it’s very important.

I immediately wanted to go to Moore and show people how they can help and tell stories that call them to action. I literally said those words to my husband last night. And then I put it in the back of my mind, until this morning, when I got a call from my boss. She said she had a crazy idea to send me to Moore with a photographer. We would follow around the people who are helping form the Mid-south and turn stories that show people how they can help.

It was as if someone heard me say that I had a desire to go and acted. Devine intervention if you ask me. No, I was not prepared. And yes, it was the fastest I’ve packed in a long time. I hope I have enough clothes to report. BUT non of that matters.

So as we head into the devastation tonight, I go in it with a clear idea of how important my job is this week. There isn’t much I can do to fix what happened. BUT I can show people what happened and show them how they can help. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly and it’s an immense responsibility.

So I ask for your thoughts and prayers. Please think of us as we head into the area. Pray for the people we will meet and stories we will tell.

This is a time when what we do matters most. And this is a time that puts life in perspective. In a moment you can loose everything.

Stay tuned for updates on Twitter (@laurensquires) and Facebook (Lauren Squires TV). I will also post blog updates and photos from the scene.

Please think of these folks as you go throughout your week. They need our thoughts to get through this.

What We Can Learn From The Memphis Grizzlies

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It’s late, which is often the time of day I have the most thoughts. But I don’t often take the time to write them down. So here we go…

Tonight the Memphis Grizzlies won game 4 of their NBA playoff series against OKC. Wednesday they could take the series with a win on the road.

I just moved to Memphis in January, so I’ve only been here long enough to be a bandwagon fan. But I have experience the magic that comes with cheering on the Grizz. And I’m starting to buy into what they stand for.

You see, the way I’ve always seen sporting events and teams is this: They are fun to follow. They all have stories and they are all examples of hope, hard work, diligence and commitment. And I think we can learn a lot from them. Professional athletes are PROS, they work hard to get where they are and they prove that hard work and sacrifice can pay off.

For me, they are a parallel to OUR faith. No I’m not saying we worship sports (though some do) and I’m not saying that everything is all about sports. What I’m saying is there are several things we can learn from following a team. Much like following Christ and our faith, there are ups and downs. But sticking through it all, we learn something. And it’s usually something we can pass on.

We can also learn A LOT from the Memphis motto: Believe. You see if we BELIEVE in the team, we start to hope for success, we start to come together for a common cause and it spreads. City wide…I see it. Everywhere you look people post BELIEVE MEMPHIS. We chant “Don’t Stop Believin'” and we hold hold up our growls towels with pride. It brings everyone together, from all walks of live, from all parts of the city. From all backgrounds. From all beliefs and perspectives. They fill FedEx Forum, they crowd into bars, restaurants, homes, churches and businesses to share their love for the team. They instill pride in all that we do.

I feel that pride and it’s contagious.

But what if that pride, that belief, went beyond supporting a professional basketball team?

What IF we all believed in something BIGGER than the score, the success and the thrill.

What IF we acted on that BELIEF? Volunteered our time? Took time to clean our city? Said thank you to people who make a difference in our city? Helped others experience the good in our city? Worked hard to maintain our neighborhood? Mentored our children? Spent time with the less fortunate? Gave back to the place we love? Worked hard to keep the positive going?

What IF we payed if forward? Spread the LOVE, JOY, PRIDE and BELIFE beyond basketball season?

You see, this is a GREAT CITY! We’ve got so much to be grateful for and when I see everyone come together to support the GRIZZLIES it inspires me to do more for this place. It makes me happy to be here. It gives me reason to act. It inspires me to BELIEVE in something much bigger than basketball.

And I hope it does the same for you.

In fact, I challenge you this week to do something for someone else. No act too small. Pay it forward, give back. Make a difference. Inspire someone else. Believe. Come together. Learn.

As we follow the Grizzlies (hopefully to the NBA Finals) let us remember to say THANK YOU. Be kind to those around us. Take pride in where we live. Do good. And BELIEVE in something more.

Walkin’ In Memphis…Literally

NOTE: I stated writing this blog on Monday April 15th. I was quickly sidetracked by the Boston Marathon bombings. I did not finish it. Or publish it. The days following I was consumed by the coverage. Today I re-read it and finished it. As a sign that live continues to move on after disaster.

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As I sit in our “office” in our apartment in Memphis, I still can’t believe how fast it all happened. My last blog post was in January. I was reflecting on the past year and hoping that 2013 would bring wonderful opportunities and memories.

I’ll be honest when I say I was at a real roadblock in me career. I wasn’t happy and it was effecting all parts of my life. I still had the passion for telling stories but for some reason I didn’t feel like I was completely living out that passion. But I didn’t know what the meant for my life.

I have a pretty common problem of constantly worrying about what’s next and not fully living in the *now*. I’m sure we all have that problem, one way or another.

You see if you asked my where I would be right now, 5 years ago, I would have said “a job in a top 50 market, perferrably Memphis.” However I would have have said “married” in that description. It wasn’t even on my radar. Which I guess is why it happened the way it did. đŸ˜‰

CHANGE: Scott accepted a job at International Paper. He is headed back to the office in a week. ———————– Scott and I have moved to Memphis. He is currently working from home (like he did in Omaha) for John Deere. He manages servers and storage worldwide. So his job takes him all over the world. Since we moved here he has been to Germany, Finland and Moline, Illinois. It has truly worked out well for both of us. He had been able to continue growing in his wonderful career, while I do the same. It’s truly a blessing.

I have accepted a job at WMC-TV in Memphis. I’ve been here about 2.5 months now and WOW have I been blessed with opportunities.

IMG_0199A month in and I was traveling to Auburn Hills, Michigan with my good friend Carrie Anderson. We covered the NCAA tournament with the Memphis Tigers. I got to cover the fan angles while she focused on the games, teams and sport part of the trip. It was fantastic. But it was A LOT of work. 12+ hour days every day. Turning 4 stories a day, 6 total from both of us. But it rocked and we had a great time!

 

Then, just two weeks after got back from the trip, I was given another AMAZING opportunity. This time I’d travel to Washington DC with our main anchor for the Memphis Soul Concert at the WHITE HOUSE.

IMG_0383 IMG_0401 IMG_0408 IMG_0419 IMG_0489 IMG_0486Joe and I spent three days in DC. We arrived on a MOnday and left on a Wednesday. The first night we shot stand-ups in front of the White House. YOu can see from this photo is was absolutely beautiful.

 

 

 

On Tuesday we covered a Memphis Soul workshop inside the dining room at the White House. This photo gives you an idea what the set up with was like. The students filed in the chairs in front of us. Two of them some Memphis Stax Academy. What an amazing opportunity for them and for US.

 

It was truly an amazing experience. Michelle Obama greeted the group of students and for the next hour and a half students got the chance to hear from the experts. Sam Moore, Mavis Staples, Justin Timberlake, Charlie Musslewhite and Ben Harper. It was awesome. And for the record, it wasn’t awesome because I have a political bia, it was awesome because not matter who is president, it’s an amazing opportunity to cover an event inside the White House (sorry I had to say that for the record because I know someone is reading this thinking I am a bias reporter or something).

The entire event was surreal. Covering the White House at this point in my career wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Joe Birch, our main anchor has been here for 35 years and he has NEVER been inside the White House. It was one of those experiences that you couldn’t help but be excited and awestruck by.

I also gained a new found respect for Memphis Soul Music. It’s truly unbelievable music and talent that came from Memphis, TN. And to hear to hear it honored in a performance at the White House was even more amazing. These people have the REAL and RAW talent that most artists dont’ have these days.

We ended our trip with LIVE shot at the NBC Washington Bureau. That was also very cool. I struggled containing my excitment. If you notice in these shots we were standing in the same spot you see reporters stand for NBC’s Today show and Nightly News. It. Was. Cool.

Everyone in the press room at the White House was also very nice. They welcomed us, showed us around and even let us use some of their lights to shoot some amazing stand-ups.

The trip reminded me that hard work pays off. I shot video for Joe and then turned a story on my own. When I took this job I was a little worried about my title and how I’d be treated in the newsroom. I am technically a Video Journalist/Backpack Journalist/Multimedia Journalist. Those are all fancy names for “shoot your own video” but it really should be a fancy name for “jack of all trades” or “versatility”. Since I can shoot my own video…it proves to be helpful in multiple ways. I get to work with a photographer more often than not but when I need to, I can and do shoot.

Don’t tell my boss but I enjoy shooting video as much as working with someone. They both provide opportunities to be creative. And they both have challenges.

Anyway, I feel so blessed to be here. Every week something happens that affirms the choice to move here. While we miss our friends and family back in the Midwest dearly…and Iowa will always be my home…this experience has landed us right where God wants us. And he is opening so many doors.

Aside from career opportunities Memphis has strengthened our faith. You see down here Catholics are the minority. As a result we find ourselves taking more ownership in our faith. Because we have to. We are becoming more intentional and more consistent. It’s something that now takes knowledge and depth to practice. Commitment is also important.

We have met some wonderful young adults too. I can’t wait to see those relationships grow n

Again all the while remembering our roots. Where me came from truly shapes who we are today.

So I hope y’all come visit soon. We miss you.

God bless.