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.

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.