For this weeks blog I asked our programming intern TJ to write about his work on the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade. I think giving our interns the ability to work on projects and see their hard work end up on the air and online is not only rewarding for them but also gives them something for their resume as they move forward with their careers. Below is TJ’s blog.
After months of planning, it was finally parade day. I arrived at the WGBY station a little after 5:30 AM and left for the parade site shortly after. We made a short stop to pick up donuts. It was still dark when we got there just before 6. I quickly realized that I had not woken up as early as I thought. In fact, I had practically slept in. Dozens of people were already there, already working, already cold. Nobody had time for donuts.
Everyone spent the next few hours doing last minute prep and set up. My title for the day was “Graphics Assistant”. That means that I helped organize all the graphics our viewers saw on screen during the broadcast. I had never worked a live event before. After seeing all the work that went into the parade by everyone involved it was important to me that I did a good job. Naturally, I was nervous. If I messed up nobody would be able to edit it out or fix my mistake. There’s no safety net in live television.
It was almost noon and we were about to go live. I had practiced my job and felt confident I could handle it. As graphic assistant it was crucial that I knew who was coming down the street and into the view of the cameras. This allowed me to watch the parade from every angle. I was able to watch on the multiple monitors showing the parade from different points of view. One monitor showed a wide shot of a band, while another was able to show the crowd’s reaction, or an upcoming float. Staying organized through all of this at first seemed like a challenge. However, after a few minutes I got the hang of it and my nerves went away, for the most part.
It wasn’t until I heard the crowds cheering and the bands playing outside that I was able to fully understand what the parade meant. The parade means so much to people in Holyoke and all surrounding areas. It’s a celebration of history. It’s important to remember where a culture started and where it’s going. The parade has people of all ages walking and watching. The past generations and the future generations come together to celebrate with each other. That’s why people work so hard to provide the best experience possible through planning and organizing. It’s the reason so many people worked for hours through the cold, before, during and after the parade. It’s the motivation to work before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down. While my parade experience was indoors and in a chair, I was able to see everyone else around me work as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. Hard work and dedication was required in order to celebrate an entire culture’s hard work and dedication.