More Field Experience at the Station - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

More Field Experience at the Station


The internship is ending soon but that doesn’t mean I’m sitting around doing nothing. This past week was spent out on the field which made it extremely enjoyable.

On Tuesday, I went out with Alexis Wiley for the second time along with Joe Harris (photographer) to cover an emotional story. After five long years, Paula Brumfield, was finally able to get some kind of closure. Paula is the mother of Desmond Brumfield who was shot, beaten and burned to death in 2006. The suspect, James Riddley, who fled to Colorado was taken into custody last week. We went to her home for an interview on how the news affected her. She had a few tears, and kept her composure but I knew a piece of her heart was taken away from her forever. It’s hard enough to have your child brutally murdered but what made it even worse was that the alleged killer, James Riddley, was one of Desmond’s closest friends. As she talked about the relationship with James and how he called her “mom,” you could see the feelings of hurt and betrayal in her eyes. I don’t think the case could have been any more puzzling than that. On a happier note, Alexis conducted a fantastic interview and Paula is ecstatic about his capture and hopes justice will be served. Afterwards, Alexis and I shot our stand ups in the alley where Desmond was found dead. This story was a good one for me to shadow because I was able to see how to handle an interview about a murder case which is difficult because it is such an emotional subject.

The next story covered was a missing child, Charlie, from Redford. We started off with a simple 911 call and a brief description from a police chief but the story continued to expand and eventually, there was too much material to include in the newscast. Fox 2 received a tip that a special needs child was found walking shirtless along the road. The saddest part of the story was that 6 hours had passed and no one claimed him. I don’t have children but I can only imagine if my child was out of my sight for just a second, I would go into panic mode and call police, family, friends and every news station. A couple hours passed and the mother finally came to the station to claim Charlie. We left the station and traveled to his neighborhood to interview a couple neighbors who said Charlie is always wandering off by himself. Needless to say, the mother may be facing some charges. Every time I shadow a reporter, I learn a lot and it makes me very anxious to go out and cover my own stories and on Thursday, that’s just what I did.

The week before, I did a lot of planning to set up a health story. Karen Kean emailed the station about her son, Brett, who came down with a scary combination of Meningitis and Encephalitis in April. That duo can cause brain inflammation and it was very difficult for Brett and his family. The doctors aren’t sure how he contracted it but their suspicion is that he was bitten by an insect in Florida. Tom and Karen Kean were very worried because instead of getting better over time, Brett’s condition worsened. The parents insist that without the support from Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, Brett may not have survived.

I was paired with Greg Tatchio, a photographer at the station. The Keans came equipped with a large posse of his siblings and friends and we all met at the hospital. I came up with a few questions ahead of time but as I was talking to them and seeing their responses, I came up with a few different questions and I am pleased with how the interview turned out. Greg got some great footage of the family spending time together in the lobby and telling stories and then we were off to the park to catch Brett in action, playing his favorite pastime, baseball. It was 100 degrees outside so we did not stay for too long but while we were there, it was great to see how much passion exuberated from Brett as he was playing catch with his father.

Planning my own story and going out on the shoot was a great experience because it taught me how plans can change at the last minute and you have to be able to roll with it. It’s really great that Sean allows her interns to do their own projects. I have continued to expand my knowledge of the business and acquire skills I will need to be successful at my craft.

Thanks for reading.

Question of the week: Do you think Charlie’s mother should be facing charges?

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