Interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
One thing I love about working in TV news is that almost every day when I come into work I never know what I’m going to be doing. This was the case last Thursday when I was in my editing room and got a text that I would be shooting an interview at the Sacramento Federal Courthouse. Then I was told it would be a one-on-one interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Local TV stations almost never get exclusive one-on-one interviews with Supreme Court judges. Justice Anthony Kennedy was coming to his hometown of Sacramento to unveil a sculpture of himself in the Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Library and Learning Center in the Sacramento Federal Courthouse. KCRA anchor Edie Lambert had been granted a rare 15-minute one-on-one interview with with Justice Kennedy.
KCRA photographer Mike Orcutt was also assigned to shoot the unveiling ceremony of a statue of Justice Kennedy afterword, so we were able press Mike into service on the interview as a B-camera and shoot the interview as a rare 2-camera shoot. Mike also brought along his new Canon 1-DX camera and took these behind-the-scenes photos.
We shot the interview at 4 PM. Edie took back the SD cards that Mike Orcutt and I shot and they were injested into the KCRA editing system. When I got back to the station around 5 PM, Edie was in the midst of logging the interview. The station was going to run some of the interview in the 6 o’clock news hour.
At 5:30, Edie sat down in the editing bay with me and picked out the sound bites. What I though would be a snippet or two of sound teasing a story that would be running in one of the later 10 and 11 o’clock newscasts was something quite different. A few minutes later when Edie left to anchor the Channel 3 Reports at 6 O’Clock we had put together a 5-minute interview with Justice Kennedy.
This was a first. I have never – never – put together a 5-minute interview that ran on the evening news. Considering this is my thirtieth year in TV news, I think that’s quite a statement.
The main reason I wanted to post this interview is that I cannot remember ever putting together an interview segment of any length that did not include any file tape or other footage to visualize the story. Yet, I feel that Justice Stevens is so well-spoken and engaging in a completely unscripted situation that he is compelling viewing just on his own.
I stayed a bit later to watch the segment air on the news. I had thrown the cut-a-ways in very quickly and I was 99% certain that they were going to match, but I did not have enough time to watch the whole 5-minutes to make sure it was going to run clean. I shuttled through and just watched at the edit points. But just how it was going to look in all, I didn’t know.
It aired perfectly. But I thought it also looked quite good and was worthwhile viewing. I came away hoping that we will do more interviews with people and just run the interview. There is something about watching a person telling a story, well-lit and in close-up or with a well-placed zoom, and with matching editing, that makes it powerful television news.
I’ve also included a second piece which Edie wrote and KCRA editor-photographer-satellite truck operator Bill Schmechel put together.
I hope to shoot and see more interview segments like this on KCRA’s news in the future.
If you feel the same as I do, please write to KCRA at http://www.kcra.com/tv/contact and share your thoughts.
Oh, and when we came out of the federal courtroom on the 15th floor where we interviewed the judge there was a spectacular view of the late afternoon clouds over Sacramento to the west and I grabbed some weather shots, which ran immediately after the interview in the 6 o’clock news and gave me on-air photographer credit! I have shamelessly included this in the video segment above.
Thanks to Mike Orcutt for allowing me to post his photographs on this site.