April 8, 2009
Posted: 1835 GMT
Life inside the I-Desk Control Room is usually pretty hectic, because of all the different live reporters, who contribute to the show every day. On average, we have about 10 "live shots," as they're called in the TV biz. With each of those "live shots" come different obstacles, including losing the feed, not having audio, or the reporter not being able to hear Hala. So, as you might imagine, it can get a bit hairy, when certain "live shots" fall through the cracks.
Add breaking news to that madness, and believe me, it's one of the wildest adrenaline-packed rollercoaster rides you've ever witnessed. And, that's exactly what happened today.
Right before I-Desk started, we received wire reports that the kidnapped Americans off the Somali coast had retaken control of their ship. But, CNN had not confirmed those reports. As a result, while you were watching Fionnuala Sweeney update the world on the earthquake aftermath in Italy, we were feverishly monitoring a news conference by the CEO of the hijacked ship's company. We went to that "presser" for a couple of minutes. Then, over at the Pentagon, our Chris Lawrence was making his own phone calls. And in Bahrain, our other Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, was trying to confirm the reports, through her own sources. It was shear madness!
Eventually, Chris confirmed the report. Within seconds, he told CNN's U.S. viewers on our sister network. And, as he was speaking on the other channel, our Executive Producer was listening in, and telling Hala the details in her ear. And, she told YOU!
All the while, we were trying to figure out if Barbara was available to update OUR viewers, while Chris told the American audience. That's where the audio and video issues come in. Barbara was still on the phone. Her satellite feed wasn't extremely clear. Etc. Etc. So, what did we do? We went to our Stan Grant, live in Dubai. He, too, was monitoring the situation all day. And, a little later, we went to Chris live at The Pentagon. Again, it's a virtual rollercoaster ride.
With every one of those last-second decisions, there are massive consequences, which affect how you see the story. Essentially, every time a live shot doesn't make air, or we have to change things around, the "Wall Team" has to adjust. That way, the different images you see on our Wall are accurate. Of course, that takes time.
So, a little bit of a behind-the-scenes I-Desk secret - most times that you see a reporter, a live picture, or video in full screen, there's a good chance the "Wall isn't ready" (that's what the "Wall Team" yells out).
Believe me, they're total professionals, and some might say, perfectionists... So, it might take a few extra seconds; but, what you'll eventually see on the Wall will be perfect!
Alright, that's the latest Behind-the-Scenes Moment... Until the next time, see you at the I-Desk.
International Desk brings viewers into the heart of the largest news gathering operation in the world. Viewers don't come here to watch the news; they come here to be immersed in it. To feel the rush of being the first to know what's happening as stories break, and to leave knowing they've gotten the best and latest information available. The show airs Mon-Fri at 1900 CET.