By Alicia Ceccarelli
On Friday, Oct. 31, five executive board members of The Keystone Newspaper had the privilege of touring the CBS-3 studio on a day of breaking news. The man hunt for Eric Frein, accused of slaying a Pennsylvania state trooper and shooting another on the run for 48 days, was finally over. Although all media personnel at CBS were scrambling to cover the arrest in addition to their budgeted work, The Keystone staff was greeted with hospitality and given an inside look at day-to-day operations.
Kristen Johanson, planning editor for CBS-Philly, introduced The Keystone crew to various members of the media staff: writers, technicians and TV personalities. Johanson spoke highly of the seasoned afternoon anchor of CBS 3’s Emmy award-winning news and lifestyle program, Talk Philly, Pat Ciarrocchi. Johanson called Ciarrocchi “the godmother” of the studio, saying the CBS team turns to her for professional and personal wisdom. Before Talk Philly went live, Johanson gave the tourists a lesson on fact checking. She used a recent dilemma CBS about a reported earthquake from callers and though social media in New Jersey. Johanson quizzed their reporting skills by asking: “What is the first thing you do?” Steve Maugeri, sports editor for The Keystone, knew the responsible answer was to verify the suspicions with the National Geological Survey.
On the set of Talk Philly, Co-Anchor Ukee Washington and Ciarrocci, prepared to go live with an energetic chair dance before the teleprompters began to roll. At the high top table, the friendly duo swung their hands together while perusing their notes. “If I wasn’t sitting down he would twirl me too,” said Ciarrocci, of their off-air chemistry. Frein was a main topic for the afternoon show, but other local events, like the possible strike of Septa workers and Halloween were discussed as well. Pop singer Aaron Carter stopped by to perform his new single, “Ooh Wee,” and promote his show at District Nine that evening.
In the main broadcasting room, The Keystone members were encouraged by Ciarrocci to experiment with the green screen and step up to the news casting desk for pictures. Eyewitness News Weather Reporter Kate Bilo, informed the students about the realities of being a meteorologist in a world shaped by social media. She wants her viewers to know that no one is more committed to being accurate about the forecast as the meteorologists. Bilo receives complaints about even the slightest weather inaccuracy. They roll into her email, twitter and other online accounts. She said this happens even when the day turns out to be sunnier than expected. “You have to have a tough skin in this business,” said Bilo and Ciarrocci. Ciarrocci elaborated by saying that there is always going to be nay-sayers in a professional environment, but especially in television and broadcasting. She encouraged the participants to pay them no mind and to focus on their passions to take them to the top.