Meet the Press: Anita Bathe, Reporter, CBC Vancouver

**Update: Anita Bathe is now a Reporter - TV, Radio and Digital at CBC in Vancouver**

 

The classic image of a reporter usually includes a spiral-bound notepad, a pen or two and maybe a beige trench coat. Today News 1130 radio reporter Anita Bathe is also juggling two phones and an audio recording device along with her pen and notebook. When she’s in the field she’s recording audio and video, posting to Twitter and filing stories all at the same time!

Here Anita shares how she does it all, shares her top three tips for PR people and looks back on one of her most memorable stories.

Follow her @anitabathe.

What is it like to be a radio reporter and posting video online as well?

It’s stressful!! When I'm covering a story from the field, I carry two phones, a notepad, a microphone and my recording device.  More often than not, I'm recording audio with one phone (to email back to the station) and recording audio on my other device (for me to use to file from the field).  I use the second phone to record video, take pictures and live tweet the event or news conference.

The first time I videotaped something, it was a crime scene, and I posted it to Twitter.  I got a message from our web desk telling me I wouldn’t be retweeted because my video was vertical.  I also got a lot of tweets from annoyed followers who thought I wasn’t the brightest bulb. I learned pretty quickly after that!

People love to see video on Twitter right after something happens, even if the footage is short and sweet.  Posting video online is something I need to do more of…but I’d love to have two more hands to help out.

How has social media changed the Canadian media landscape?

Social media has increased the sense of urgency within a newsroom.  Everyone wants to be the first to have the story, and you demonstrate that through Twitter. 

When I’m working on a story, I’m constantly tweeting about it, especially if I’m out in the field.  I’m taking pictures of the event or crime scene I’m at and tweeting details about what I’m learning.  Social media has changed everything and because of it, reporters have to be better at multi-tasking and must work at an even speedier pace. There’s now so much to do with so little time.

Social media also enables us to find news.  If something is going on in a community, you better believe someone is talking about it on social media or posting pictures.  We’ll often see that and follow up immediately in order to see if it’s newsworthy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My job is different every day in some ways and it’s very much the same in other ways. I know I’m going to cover at least two stories a day but things are always changing so I could be assigned to multiple news items.

One day I may be out in the field covering a murder, an event, a news conference, court hearings, or really anything else newsworthy.  On those days, I have to be prepared to bear the elements as I may be outside in freezing weather for hours or somewhere without a bathroom, which means I drink nothing!

Another day I could be in the newsroom for my entire shift, on these days I’m on the phone a lot.  I have to put out calls to get reaction to stories already in the run, firm up details on developing stories, and help field traffic calls coming in. 

Whether I’m in the field or in-house, I’m usually live every half hour until the end of my shift.  There are certain times in the day where it can be extremely stressful, with tight deadlines looming.

What's your number one tip for PR people?

I can’t pick one, but I can narrow it down to three.

  1. If you’re going to send out a news release or make a pitch, make sure your spokesperson is actually available to us that day.  There’s no point in sending something out if you don’t have anyone for us to clip.
  2. When you’re making a pitch, don’t get my name wrong, don’t get our organization’s name wrong and know what our needs are.
  3. Tell us in your first or second sentence…WHY OUR AUDIENCE CARES.  Explain how your story impacts our listeners.

Most interesting story you've ever worked on?

I’ve covered so many stories so that’s a tough one.  It would have to be when Ninderjit Singh was captured in California ten years after killing his ex-girlfriend in Vancouver.  He had been in hiding, dramatically changed his appearance, got a new name, and had a wife and kids who knew nothing about his previous life.  When he was finally captured and pled guilty in court, there was a sense of relief for a family who had waited so long to get justice for their loved one.  Although a tragic story, many people had been waiting for so long to hear the details surrounding what had happened.  Those details had never come out before because you typically have to wait for court. It was shocking to see how someone could do such a thing and become a completely different person, while another family continued to wait for answers. The details surrounding Singh’s determination to cover up everything were incredible (not in a good way), to the point where he was going to try and get his fingerprints changed.

I deal with a lot of very sad stories and it never gets easier.

Dream story that you'd love to work on?

When the Vancouver Olympics were happening, I was a reporter in Victoria so I never got the opportunity to cover everything here.  For me, it would be a dream to cover the Olympics in another country.

First website you load in the morning?

Twitter.  Some may not call that a website, it’s a service I guess but it’s what I open while I’m still in bed. I do it to see what people are talking about and what our competition is doing.  I like to go in to work every day with unique story ideas and my inspiration can often come from things being discussed by people online.

Coffee or beer?

Coffee but really I’d choose red wine over everything!

 

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