Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pickton Trial Part 3: The Blessing

My days at the trial usually began with a stop at the gas station. Filling up gas cylinders for the heater. When I would arrive at Begbie Square, a lone security guard would greet me and he would help me unzip the tent.

The first order of business would be to get the heater fired up and take the chill out of the tent. Then I would begin to wire up the camera and position the lights. Each and every morning brought an early hit into CP24 and then a hit into CTV NewsNet. Later as the day wore on, more hits, some ENG work (shooting the "ins" and "outs") and finishing the day with local live hits into the 5 and the 6, ending with a NewsNet live. It was a routine that lasted nearly 3 full weeks. The days went from 7 am till nearly 9 each night. This kind of an assignment could grind you down in a hurry if it were not for the gift that the TV Gods had given me.

That gift came in the form of three very talented journalists. Two , Lisa Rossington and Janet Dirks, I have the privilege of working with everyday at CTV in Vancouver. The other, from the home office in Toronto. Our first meeting was on that first Monday of closing arguments (nearly 4 weeks ago now).

CTV British Columbia reporter Lisa Rossington. She had been on this case since the original raid on the Pickton Farm.

CTV's Janet Dirks, she too has covered this case since the beginning. A kinder person you will not find anywhere.

She arrived that morning finding the CTV tent and asked: "Are you Dave??"
"No", I said "He's up in the office, I'm Murray the Camera Guy, can I help you?"

She introduced herself: "Hi , I'm Sue Sgambati, I believe I have a live hit with you in a few minutes."

Court TV Canada's Sue Sgambati, an instant hit here at the CTV Broadcast Center in
New Westminster, British Columbia

Her assignment was to fill the live requirements for Court TV Canada, CP24 and CTV NewsNet until the end of the trial. A tall order indeed, but one we would both relish.
As the days wore on, our conversations revealed that we had much in common. I discovered that she was very much an "old school" journalist. All about the story, a storyteller. Not like some in our business, about themselves. She was very much a team player, something again highly prized in this business, not to mention this assignment. She had a marvelous sense of humour, something that would help us through some of the mentally fatiguing times that would lie ahead. There was not a day that passed without the two of us sharing in a mind cleansing belly laugh. And through laughter and conversation, we bonded.

Sue preparing to do another live hit for CTV Newsnet

Yes it indeed was a blessing to have been given such a pro to work with. When asked by a producer in Toronto for a 3 minute "breathless" to tape. She would glance at her notepad, give a 3-2-1 and rattle off 3 minutes to the second, on the first take!
Sue fit right in with the team. I found myself wanting to call her bosses in Toronto and asking if we could keep her. Of course we could not, but you can't blame a guy for trying.

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