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Talking in future tense helps with Fox televisioin segment

Nicole DeCosta and caffeine don't mix.

Like a dishonest priest, I get shaky hands if I drink coffee. I can't operate heavy machinery - or my cell phone - after an energy drink. And too much soda causes me to talk fast. It's actually quite funny.

But I don't need an artificial buzz. I get hyped-up naturally. I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys opportunities and new projects. I don't shy away from new challenges, I tackle them.

So, when the FOX12/PDX49 camera crew asked me to share a day in the life of a newspaper reporter for a news segment, I said 'uh huh.'

I love TV segments. TV is a big part of my life - not watching it, being in it.

But before news of the big day at the office, you must understand a little backstory. And why a TV was set up in pretty much each room of my house growing up - so we could watch home videos anywhere.

Lights, camera, action

I have my dad, John DeCosta, a local Realtor, to thank for the love of capturing memories on film. As I grew up in Lake Oswego, my dad often filmed houses and properties he had for sale - as well as his golf practices and all of my sports games.

Instead of hiding our family video camera - then, the popular shoulder VHS model from the mid-'80s - from my little sister Alicia and I when we were just tiny tots, he embraced the fact that we weren't camera shy. We would write stories and act them out - camping trips to the backyard, music videos, our dancing cat and bike adventures through Lake Oswego.

We'd solicit our friends to participate as extras; we were always the leads of course.

As a teenager I couldn't buy purses unless they were big enough to house the video camera. Sometimes I wondered if we were in our own reality show. As a budding musician, my friends and I would live out rock and roll fantasies playing cover songs in my basement. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to my old neighbors up on Skyland Circle for all my teenage renditions of Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive.'

Hope you all survived too.

As a news anchor for KBVR-TV channel 26 on the Oregon State campus and actor on the live show No Big Whoop, I got to hang out with my best friends and be part of a campus phenomenon - college kids doing silly things live. Yes, that was me dancing to disco music in the furry green Gumby outfit.

Welcome to my

cubicle

Recently, I was especially excited about Paul Strunk - the TV cameraman - coming out to the Lake Oswego Review and West Linn Tidings office. Paul aired a segment on my band, Macadam, a few months back. But this was different, that was my night job. I now shared my day job - both of which I'm extremely passionate about.

After I got my microphone hooked up, I sat at my cubicle and explained my 'typical' day, made phone calls, visited the break room, held up newspapers, typed and chatted with my editor and photographer.

I am used to live televison and lots of post-production. Previously, if I needed to do voice-overs on a segment at school it was into a microphone in a small cave-like studio after all the filming. The funniest part of my FOX12/PDX49 segment was when Paul continued to tell me to talk about the garden center as if I was there.

'Why would I do that? Why don't I just talk about that when I'm there? I'm sitting at my desk,' I said.

He explained that when viewers are watching the segment they will see footage of the garden center but hear my voice.

And so I tried again. And again. Review reporter Cori Bolger popped her head up over the cubicle and started laughing. I don't blame her; it was funny.

Finally my brain connected this idea of speaking in future-tense. And so we moved along.

We visited a local garden center and learned how to plant vegetables for an article I'd be writing for the paper. The weather was warm and sunny. When departing from my downtown Lake Oswego office for this second part of the shoot, Paul told me to turn my microphone off.

And I'm so glad he did.

I would have died of embarrassment if Paul in the huge FOX12 news van followed my Honda over to Dennis' Seven Dees all the while listening to my live car rendition of a Gwen Stefani song. Or, even more embarrassing, would have been a phone call to my sister sounding something like, 'yes, the huge news van is following me right now. I hope I don't say anything stupid during the interview. And man, my leather seats are hot in this car! I'm burning myself driving over here. Seriously. I think my legs are numb.'

At the garden center I asked questions - lots of questions - and scribbled notes. Now printed, the article, 'Growing Goodness,' ran in the May 31 edition of the Review and Tidings. The segment aired Monday night.

My life in print

I love interacting with new people during my interviews. That's the fun part of the job, meeting new people and getting a brief sneak peek into their lives.

I learn so much every day about so many things. Two years ago as a graduating college student with a Liberal Arts degree - 'why did you switch from business school? The whole world is a business' - I would have never guessed I'd be where I am now.

I've attended dozens of meetings on the closure of a manufactured home park, explained a liver transplant procedure, spoken to kids about the importance of reading, noticed the devastation and community-building caused from a house fire, met guide dogs, profiled multi-million dollar lake houses, gotten hundreds of thank you notes and still managed to come up with new ideas for the HOMES section each week.

Whew!

I've become the second DeCosta in Lake Oswego to share beautiful houses with others.

Why wouldn't FOX12 and PDX49 want to share a day in the life of a reporter?

Each day is so interesting. Each time we read great news stories, remember there's also a story within the story. Each reporter must do whatever it takes - knock on doors to get quotes; call the mayor at home in the middle of his chicken dinner, sorry about that Norm; or plow through a pound of city documents in fine print - to get the goods so the community can remain informed.

I was proud to be a part of this process. And I was thrilled - programming my VCR, excited and jumping up and down - to share it through PDX49 earlier this week.

(Eventually to view it online, visit the Fox Web site at www.kdpx.com and click on the ezone section, then click in the entertainment zone).

Nicole DeCosta is a reporter with the Review and Tidings and coordinator of the HOMES section.