KCRA—The Last Bookstore in Truckee
I love books! And I love bookstores!!
Just yesterday I was up in Yuba City chasing rain for KCRA. (I have written before about our extensive weather coverage.)
It was time for lunch and since I was in the area I decided to check out a used bookstore. I Googled “used bookstores Yuba City” and got four listings and they were all bunched within a few miles of each other. I drove around, checking out each location and, very sadly, they were all closed. Not one single bookstore still existed.
Increasingly, this has become the sad lament of the 21st Century: the decline and disappearance of bookstores, particularly used bookstores. More and more people turn to getting their books digitally—through e-books on their iPhones, iPads, kindles and other e-readers. Bookstores that stash bookstores, particularly used bookstores, are becoming fewer and harder to find.
I’m always sad to see a bookstore close up, and I’ve been to quite a few last-day-closing sales. So when an newspaper article was handed to me about the last bookstore in Truckee that was looking for a buyer before it closed the doors for good, I wanted to get up there and do a story on it.
is owned and operated by Debbie Lane, who has had as many as three different Bookshelf book shops open at one time, opening the first one in 1992. Over the past few years Debbie has had to downsize her Bookshelf bookshops to just one last-standing location.
Debbie’s husband has been retired for a number of years and now Debbie would like to retire so they can spend more time traveling and with their family.
The Bookshelf has been listed for sale since last year, but so far nothing has worked out. The shop is now on a month-to-month lease and she is giving it until April to try to figure out a way to keep it going.
The story aired on KCRA’s Gommon Ground on Saturday, January 23, 2016. I will let that piece tell the story about the bookshelf.
The shoot at the Bookshelf in Truckee could not have gone better. Everyone I met was wonderful and were more than eager to talk to me about the book shop.
However, when I came around to putting the piece together—I had a problem!
KCRA’s Sony HD XDCAM news cameras record onto class 10 SD cards—the same cards that you can pick up at Best Buy or any electronics store for just $10 or $15.
I started shooting at the Bookshelf on a card that already had several long clips on it, so midway through the shoot I had to change to a second SD card. In all I shot nearly an hour of footage. I then loaded both cards into my laptop.
Or—I thought I had.
The next day I started out on another shoot and did my normal morning procedure of bulky erasing each card and starting the counters off at zero.
A few days later I settled in to log and write the story on the Bookshelf—and I only had half of my footage. I only had the second half, from the second SD card.
I only had 25-minutes out of the nearly 60-minutes of footage that I’d shot. I wasn’t sure what I’d do, but I had to salvage something out of this. Even if it was only a two-minute story, instead of the three-minute that I wanted to make.
My only saving grace is that as I am shooting a story I am constantly trying to gather as many on-camera interviews as I can. Fortunately, I had done a short follow-up interview with Debbie Lane at the end before I left, which wound up being the only on-camera interview that I had with her. Luckily, she touched on most of the bases that I had asked her about the first time.
After logging the 25-minutes of remaining footage I felt confident that I could still pull a three-minute story out of this!
I started arranging the bites and writing out the reporter track to fill in the gaps—and in only an hour or so I had a script written, running three-minutes—and managed to touch on all the bases that I wanted to cover!!!
Morale of losing half my footage—better on my story than somebody else’s
Every since switching to cameras that shoot onto SD cards I’ve been afraid of deleting the footage of a story that I was working on with a reporter. In the couple of years that I’ve been recording onto these cards and erasing them daily, I have never deleted a story before.
This was the first time!
I’m only grateful that I did it on a story where I was both the reporter and the photographer so that I didn’t have to dump my mistake onto the shoulders of an unsuspecting reporter.
In the end, I am also proud to state that the Bookshelf story that aired was every bit as good as the story that I wanted to tell from the outset.