Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Live from the Rotunda

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- You would have thought I was a star-struck tourist on Capitol Hill today. I didn't even have a run-in with a celebrity or a famous politician either. Go figure, they're always walking the halls up here, but I don't usually get excited over any of those. (I probably couldn't spot a movie star if my life depended on it anyway. In fact, one time I shared an elevator with a famous actress, and my co-worker had to point her out to me.) Instead, I had an encounter with one of the most highly decorated network evening news anchors of the modern era, and I felt like a little kid in a candy store.

Thanks to a dear friend who works for a committee that's always "in the know," I got word that one of my journalism idols, Brian Williams, would be broadcasting the Nightly News live from the Russell Rotunda. He was in town recording a series called "Congress, Behind the Scenes," set to air on Dateline this weekend.  So, after work, I walked briskly through the tunnel that connects the Senate office buildings to the Russell Building so I could catch a glimpse of the broadcast icon. Soon enough, he made his debut.

I didn't just stick around until I got a good look at him. No, just a glimpse didn't satisfy me. I was one of those annoying onlookers who doesn't go away. I'm talking really annoying. I was even annoying myself, but I couldn't make it stop. I even tried telling myself, "Okay, Andrea, you've seem him. Time to go home." But I couldn't stop being interested. I just kept watching, snapping pictures and waiting. I was being completely unprofessional. And I knew it. I should have told onlookers I was just an intern, and maybe the situation would have explained itself away, but I had no shame.  So, when the 30 minute Nightly News broadcast ended and the famous anchor started walking away, I bolted after him. He went into the Kennedy Caucus room to meet a few people, and I just waited outside. Like a stalker. I should have been embarrassed at my behavior, but I was too excited at the chance to meet him.  So, when he popped back out to say hi to some kids (a five and seven-year-old nonetheless), I just squeezed myself into the line. Sorry kids, don't mind me.  I handed one of their parents my camera and they gladly obliged to my unprofessional request as I jumped in to shake his hand before he walked away. Pictured below:

"Hi, my name's Andrea. I'm a dork and love watching the news. In fact, if I had to pick a journalist to marry, it would be you. You just have a way with words!"  

That isn't exactly what I said, but something equally as dorky ensued. "Hi, I'm Andrea. I used to be a reporter, and both you and Andrea Mitchell are my journalism idols. And Ken Strickland." (Ken is a producer for MSNBC, standing in the middle of the picture wondering why I had suddenly gone cuckoo.)  To which he replied, "Andrea Mitchell is much more deserving, but thank you." And that, my friends, is the entire story. After we shook hands, I continued to snap a few pictures for a few others, until his handlers told us to take it easy while Mr. Williams filmed a stand-up. If you happened to miss the Nightly News tonight, and seeing Brian Williams live from the Russell Rotunda, you can watch below. Just know, that I was behind the cameras somewhere with big, googly eyes, snapping pictures and acting more or less like an intern:  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

KNOXVILLE, TN -- The Candrian's sure aren't known for our singing, but little JB knows how to put on a show, when he can keep his focus.