The other day, Senior E! News Correspondent Ken Baker came back to town to promote his new book and movie called ‘The Late Bloomer.’ I’ve been watching E! News for years and had no idea he is from Hamburg! I interviewed him live on News 4 at 4 to talk about ‘The Late Bloomer’ and what he thinks of Buffalo’s resurgence.
Check out the interview, it was a lot of fun! His story is incredible. He had a brain tumor until he was 27 and had no idea about it. I won’t spoil the rest of it, but I will say that the movie is hysterical! There was a special screening for the Buffalo premiere at the North Park theatre before it was released on Netflix. The movie is a comedic spin off of his real life story.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my blog. Sometimes life just gets in the way! Between being maid of honor for my best friends wedding, juggling a large work load and day to day responsibilities I’ve been so busy that sometimes posting to my blog just slips my mind!
A lot has changed since my last blog post in December. I was hired as a Multimedia Journalist at the CBS station across town here in Buffalo, WIVB-TV. I officially started working there in March.
Channel 4 is neck and neck in ratings with WGRZ, Channel 2. A new 4 pm show was launched at WIVB this spring, and I am one of two MMJs that contributes daily reports to the show. WIVB-TV is the first station in the market to launch a 4 o’clock show. (I also contribute reports to other newscasts including the 5:30 and 6 pm.)
I report two separate stories on the 4 pm newscast daily, Monday-Friday. A PKG (total run time of about 1:30) and a VO SOT (a shortened piece, with a total run time of about 50 seconds though it does vary). I am still one-man-banding which means I shoot, write, and edit all of my stories under deadline pressure everyday. (This also means carrying a tripod and camera on my own. Somedays it can be tedious but I just chalk it up to a good upper body workout 😉 )
Throughout the day I am also using Twitter to tweet (https://twitter.com/4AngelaC) about my story, and tease ahead to the 4 pm newscast.
I find and pitch story ideas everyday. Stories varies from day to day. It could be news of the day, a medical story or feature story. For the 4 pm show I report many stories that appeal to women and families, because likely 4 pm viewers could be stay-at-home moms.
(Above: Going live on News 4 at Noon in Niagara Falls)
I find that being successful involves a lot of planning ahead and setting up interviews and stories in advance. It’s a fast paced newsroom that pumps out a lot of content for newscasts. I’m always thinking about what could be a good story, and constantly making phone calls to set them up and make it happen. I’ve already grown in my first few months at 4. Looking forward to what the next year will bring!
A former TWC News intern who used to shadow me last summer asked if I could come to SUNY Fredonia in November to speak to journalism students about the TV News Biz. I was flattered and happy to do so, because I was still a student myself just a few years ago (I graduated from Suffolk University in 2012.) I told them about my journey and how I got to where I am now, and what it took. I explained the challenges involved, demands of the job, how tough it can be to pick up and move by yourself to go to a new place. I discussed the ups and downs, explained what my job entails, what it means to pay your dues, and I even had them watch a few of my stories. I showed them my progression, and wanted them to feel encouraged by knowing persistence pays off. They were a great group of students with a lot of questions!
Since September I have been primarily working out of a news bureau in Niagara Falls (some days I fill-in in the main Buffalo newsroom.) I am the only news personnel there, and I’m responsible for my station’s coverage of Niagara County content. It’s my job to make contacts, find stories and pitch them, and stay on top of the pulse of news in Niagara County. I’m also tasked with one-man-band reporting and meeting a daily deadline. Working out of the bureau has been a great learning experience, because it teaches you to really expand your contacts and plan ahead. I cover a variety of stories on a weekly basis, and some of my favorite things I’ve covered there so far include the Niagara Falls Mayoral Election, the outcome of a double murder trial in Niagara County Court, and a feature I did on a professional Kickboxer from Lockport.
I post my stories daily on my Facebook news page www.facebook.com/christoforosangela and I also save some of my favorite stories on my YouTube account https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi3i4l0-Z4U62SA2oEXG-Wg
I wore this gorgeous Badgley Mischka gown to a Labor Day weekend wedding. This was my first Rent the Runway experience, and I was really happy with how it turned out! Two sizes are shipped to you as back up, but the size description on the website was very accurate. Renttherunway.com is great because it allows you to rent a designer gown for only a fraction of the retail price. I love the open back of this gown, and despite all of the sparkle on this dress it really did not feel heavy and was actually pretty comfortable. I wore this dress with open toe gold heels and a gold sparkly clutch. I am petite (only 5’2) so I had to wear heels about 5 inches high to keep the gown from touching the ground! On a scale of 1-10 I give this Badgley Mischka gown and Rent the Runway a perfect 10.
My coverage of a second dismembered body found in Niagara Falls in June made it to CNN.com. You can check out the link here-> http://www.cnn.com/…/21/us/niagara-falls-dismembered-bodies/
My family made the 8 hour drive from Massachusetts to come visit me in Buffalo for the fourth of July weekend! It was a great trip, and a much needed reunion (last time I saw my family was in March!) On the fourth we walked all over the State Park on the New York side of the Falls, and ate lunch at Top of the Falls with a great view. We walked across the Rainbow Bridge to see the falls from the Canadian side and so glad we did! We were able to dodge some traffic and see the Falls from a different view. On the U.S. side you are closer to the actual Falls, and on the Canadian side you get the full view of them.
The park was packed for the holiday weekend, so we held off on going on the Maid of the Mist until Sunday morning. We went there first thing in the morning after eating breakfast at the Red Coach Inn, and barely had to wait! (I highly recommend checking out attractions first thing in the morning if you want to avoid waiting in long lines.) It was a very hot day, so the Maid of the Mist ride was perfect. You get a bit wet on this boat tour towards the Falls, so I’d say definitely save this ride for a warm day!
It was our first time walking the whole State Park and going on the Maid of the Mist, and it was so beautiful. The Falls are majestic and quite the sight to see.
Since moving to Buffalo a couple of months ago for my new job, I’ve enjoyed exploring the area. Between the city of Buffalo itself, Niagara Falls, and it’s proximity to Canadian cities like Toronto, there’s a lot to do around here. And A LOT of different restaurants and places to eat. So much so, that Buffalo was even ranked the third best food city worldwide by National Geographic.
Being 100% Greek, of course my first instinct was to check out all the Greek restaurants. I’ve been to quite a few so far: Towne, Panos, Zoe, Mythos, Acropolis, and Vasili’s. I’d say so far my favorite Gyros are a tie between Zoe and Vasili’s. Also, the baklava cheesecake from Towne (pictured above) is TO DIE for. Cheesecake and baklava are two of my favorite desserts. Combining them both together = heaven.
Buffalo is a place known for it’s lake effect snow and brutal winters but lucky for me, I moved here just as spring began. Lately it’s really felt like summer, and one of the places to be when the weather starts getting nice in Buffalo is Canalside. It’s the fairly new waterfront area of Buffalo that hosts festivals, concerts, and just a place to come hang out, grab an ice cream and enjoy the warm temps. I’ve gone a few times, and of course had to steal a pic with “shark girl” that sits by one of the bridges.
And then there’s Niagara Falls. This was my first time actually seeing it in person, and I was just taken away. Amazing that I live so close to a wonder of the world! The picture above was taken on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. There’s so much I want to do. There’s the Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist tour, and there’s a restaurant on the New York side called Top of the Falls.
Buffalo sports teams are a big deal in this city. So far I’ve had the chance to check out a Bisons game, and got to cover the Buffalo Bills Rookie tour.
Something neat about Buffalo is that it’s got both a city vibe and a suburban one. You have just as much access to fun in the city as you do to nature and things to do outdoors. Checking out Botanical Gardens was one of the first things I checked off my Buffalo to-do list. I also love to bike, and was happy to find out there are a lot of places to do that. I’ve been biking a lot along the Niagara River by the Grand Island Bridge.
There’s a lot to report on, and a lot to explore in Buffalo. The people are really friendly and proud of their home, and there’s a lot of resurgence that’s been taking place in the area. I’m looking forward to checking out a lot of the festivals that are taking place throughout the summer!
A Bostonian turned Mainer turned New Yorker. That’s how I refer to myself, now that I’ve made the move to Buffalo! I made the drive to Western New York on my own with my beloved news cat, Fifi. (She wanted nothing to do with the 13 hour drive- she slept the whole time and didn’t want to eat, drink, or use her little box. Poor thing!) It’s funny how you can be in Maine one day, Massachusetts the next, and New York the day after that. Now I’m here to stay in New York for a while!
You’d think that picking up and moving would get easier, especially since I’ve already done it once before. Moving away from home is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It was hard when I did it the first time to move to Northern Maine, but I quickly realized this time around it’s even harder. Harder because I have a second home and more people I love to miss. That’s the hardest part about being in the TV news business. You get so connected to the community, make so many friends, see your colleagues as family, and then you leave it all behind to start all over again. I feel lucky to have so many great people to miss, but have an empty pit feeling in my stomach whenever I think about it. No matter what way you slice it, change is hard. But it’s exciting too.
I am stoked about being here in Buffalo. It’s only been a few weeks, but it didn’t take me too long to realize that my new news team is made up of smart, experienced journalists. The pace is fast, there’s a lot of news to cover, and a lot to learn. But I am excited and eager to dive right in, and to eventually get to a point of knowing this area like the back of my hand. All in due time!
As I sit here typing this blog post, I am filled with emotion. Yesterday (Friday 3/20/15) was my last day at WAGM-TV. The video above, was created by my good friend and commercial production talent Jessica Bradley. This video aired before my on-air goodbye, and I had absolutely NO IDEA about it. It was put into the show as a commercial, so it wouldn’t show up in my ENPS rundown. My heart was in my throat the moment I got out of bed that morning. But when I saw that on air- it was so surreal. It was hundreds of memories from the past 2 years hitting me all at once, culminating to this moment. Funny behind the scenes moments, singing Christmas songs at the Light Parade, being goofy with my dream team partner in crime Katie Zarilli, Greek Goddess and Super Woman on set for Halloween, Morning Edition promo shoots with my other half April Loveland, saying good morning in Greek, Thursday Night Football fun, my first standup EVER, and so many photos with my work family members. It was over 2 minutes long, and by the time I came up on camera with April for my on air goodbye, of course I was already in tears!
I tried my best to maintain my composure, to say what I wanted to say about “the County” in the couple minutes time I had. But a couple of minutes won’t do a place like this justice. “It is good people who make good places.” This quote speaks volumes about Aroostook County, Northern Maine. There are so many special individuals that are admirable- people like Dixie Shaw, who is so dedicated to hunger relief services. Heather Miller, who runs the Houlton Humane Society, who rescues and nurses animals back to health. April Flagg, who is passionate about the Aspirations Initiative, helping County students achieve a higher education. Maeghan Swanson and Lisa Brewer, founders of the Aroostook Autism Support group who have done so much for Autism awareness in a place that was in dire need of more. The list goes on and on. And more so, it is not just the individuals. It is the County as a collective whole. The people there just care. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been stopped in a public place like Walmart by someone who says, “You do a great job on the morning show, I watch you everyday!”
“Your autism awareness series was so heartfelt. You gave me hope for my autistic family member.”
“I tune in everyday to see what you’re wearing, you have great style!”
“You have an awesome personality. I love your energy. I watch you everyday.”
To some people, it might not seem like much, saying a few kind words. But you know what? It means e v e r y t h i n g. Imagine this happening to you several times a week, even several times a day- in person, via social media, by old fashioned snail mail. It is an unexplainable feeling to have so many good vibes sent your way from so many different people. Some that have never even met you. My heart could burst from all of the gratitude I feel.
They say that TV news is all about giving a voice to the voiceless, making a difference. I’m so happy that people in the County were so touched by my Autism Series. There were so many highlights at WAGM, but that series takes the cake. The response I received was tremendous. Hundreds of phone calls, Facebook comments/messages, emails. I’ve been told it was the moment I really made my difference, my contribution. But what people don’t know, is the difference it made in my life. How meeting with the families for my series touched my heart and impacted my outlook. Being recognized by the Maine Association of Broadcasters for it too, was just the icing on the cake. Not just a recognition for myself, but a reflection of the caliber of County families.
This goes for not just the local community, but also the news community within the station. People like Ted Shapiro, our chief meteorologist. He met with me for nearly a year for voicing sessions. He knew it was something I wanted to improve, he put in the time to help me. I can say something about each and every single one of my co-workers. That’s just how the WAGM work family is. People there care, and want to see you succeed.
There’s something to be said for small town living. I grew up in a suburb in Massachusetts, went to school in the city, and then suddenly at age 22 I found myself in a rural place when I started my career at WAGM. Remote, and of course WAY different from anything I had ever experienced before. It was a tough transition at first, but now 2 years later my heart is so full as I look back on the experience. The simplicity. The long bike rides. The scenery. Life in “the County.” There is something so special about such a place. It teaches you to slow down, to smell the coffee, to enjoy the journey. And as I take the next step of my journey in Buffalo NY, I can’t stop smiling about the foot prints left in my heart from the last. ❤