I grew up in a county that has several local papers. I have been in all of these for various reasons: making the Principal’s List, accomplishments on the softball diamond, wedding announcements, and on behalf of the two non-profits I’ve headed up. Of these local papers, I even made the cover once. I’ve made it into the statewide paper News & Observer twice – neither time was I on the cover.
I grew up in a county that has a local AM station that is listened to religiously by the 20,000 people that can pick up its signal. At both the Arts Council and at the Ava Gardner Museum, I have gone into the station to do rather lengthy (45 minutes) interviews several times. I have done much briefer interviews (ranging from 30 seconds to 5 minutes) on regional radio stations (WPTF, WQDR and WAVO), all on behalf of my position with the Arts Council and/or Museum.
I have been on television several times in my life. The first was when I was eight and was filmed being a part of a youth camp. My name and age flashed across the screen and I was probably on for a good 15 seconds. At age eight, THAT was exciting. The second time came 20 years later when I was being interviewed about a film festival the Arts Council was hosting. But then I started working for a television station, so the novelty quickly wore off.
None of these have been national media outlets, and certainly not the front page of a national newspaper or the lead story on a national news broadcast. However, I have been in an International news story and I think that’s pretty darn cool.
The Ava Gardner Museum, of which I am the director, enjoys a good number of international visitors and interest. As she was an international star, we get visitors from literally all around the world – Japan, Turkey, Kenya, UK, Spain, Denmark, Brazil, Costa Rica…and those are the ones I can think that visited in the past three months. As Ava lived in Spain for 11 years, and did several movies related to Spain/took place in Spain, she has a rather devoted following in the Spanish speaking world. However, when I was contacted by the Spanish-Speaking bureau of the BBC, BBC Mundo, I was rather excited. We’ve gotten plenty of international press in newspaper articles, but none that I can think that were meant for television/radio.
The crew arrived early on a Friday morning and proceeded to spend the entire day at the Museum, shooting much of the interior and collection, as well as visiting the grave site. They interviewed the town manager about the economic benefit of having a celebrity museum in a small town, interviewed my 88-year old docent Mrs. Eunice who knew Ava and people LOVE to talk to, AND…they interviewed yours truly. Of course, as this is for the Spanish-speaking BBC, my voice is dubbed in Spanish and you can’t really hear me, but I’m in it. Plus, (at least as of Sunday, October 11th), this story was on the home page of BBC Mundo!
So, I still won’t count this as having completed this Thing to Do as making the front page of a national newspaper is still a bigger deal. I mean, for 24-hour news broadcasts like the BBC, they need “filler.” Space is a commodity in newspapers and I would have to do something truly considerable (or heinous) to get front page real estate.
Give me props about the BBC Mundo thing though.