KCRA anchor Edie Lambert with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Published On March 11, 2013 | By Mike Carroll | KCRA-TV, Mike's TV News Stories, TV News Vault

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.

Cameras and lights set up. We got there way early. Thank goodness for iPhones and e-mail.

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 anchor Edie Lambert with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony 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.

Justice Kennedy answering questions beside his just-unveiled sculpture in the law library that also bears his name in the Sacramento Federal Courthouse.

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.

KCRA photographer Mike Orcutt’s photo of the clouds. I could honestly spend my whole 8-hour shift shooting weather footage.

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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