Eye of the Storm

by - April 28, 2011

Our entire newsroom came to a stop yesterday when this massive tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa.

We were all grouped around the television watching this monster destroy everything in its path.

Meanwhile downstairs, the 5:00 show was showing it live via our SkyCam network. To my knowledge we have never shown a tornado live on air before.

When I went downstairs for the 6:00 show, my meteorologist told me there could be another touch-down in Birmingham. Just before the show started, our SkyCam network picked up this monster.

We blew out our preshow, even our show's opening title card and went directly into weather.

Being able to show such devastation as it's happening is rare... two tornadoes live in one day nearly unheard of. And yet, here we were watching another of Mother Nature's monsters destroying lives.

It was a truly awe-inspiring and terrifying experience.

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  1. 100% pure adrenaline, Ashton! You were just telling us how lucky you felt to be in the TV news game and a huge day like that reminds you (and us) why you are in a unique position. A day filled with breaking stories is a good test of your nerves and your ability to think fast under pressure. You might have experienced a once in a lifetime event by being able to punch up live real time images of a twister wreaking havoc. I think it's great that you bypassed the show opening format and tossed right to weather. Too many times producers cling to the mentality that they MUST run the silly prerecorded show opener before getting to the news (or they might get in trouble with the man). Screw the news director! Screw the general manager! Your decision to punch right to a cold open was the right one. It helped convey the importance of what was unfolding.

  2. I'm lucky to work with some pretty amazing talent who can go with the flow and help me keep things together.