Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

3 1/2 Minutes of Fame

On Friday morning, after getting up extra early to prepare my Day Jobbe's documents for which I'm responsible, I headed into Reno to make my first-ever appearance on live, national television. I had been approached earlier in the week by a producer at CNN, presumably attracted to comments I'd made here and elsewhere on social media about the caucus just as the Washington Post reporter was.

Inasmuch as CNN is a legitimate news organization, unlike Fox News, I was confident that they weren't going to try to "ambush" me and agreed to do the interview. I let my co-workers know about it on Wednesday, and they (including my manager) were cool about it. CNN let me know the general topics they expected to cover, but (again, because they're real news), not the specific questions. That's fine with me.

Kevin on CNN

I did a short (3 1/2 minute) segment on CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow talking about being a precinct chair in the 2020 Nevada Democratic Caucus, especially in light of the difficulties Iowa had using the same application package that Nevada initially had planned to use. After seeing what happened in Iowa, the Nevada Democratic Party quickly changed gears and developed a Google Forms package that acted as a "caucus calculator" to help combine the in-person votes with those who voted in advance using an IRV/RCV preferential ballot.

Having gone through both the early caucus volunteer training and the revised training after the party's approach changed, I expressed my confidence with the new system, which used the technology to help calculate the results but that could have been done without any computer support. Now, as I said in the interview, doing long division by hand is a hassle, so having the calculator helps. Also there were a lot of candidates, including those who had announced that they were dropping out, so having something that kept track of everything helped. However, nothing actually needed the tech. I'll talk more about my actual experience of the caucus later.

Preparing for CNN

This picture was taken a few minutes before we went on the air. A studio called CoverEdge in Reno contracts to do things like this. They have a small two room suite, with a combined green room/office/makeup area and a separate studio with the camera, lights, and generic city backdrop. (Personally, I would have been happy if they had a background that included the Reno Arch.) My scheduled interview was for 7:30 AM PT, although it ended up slipping to around 7:45 due to other news stories. I arrived around 7 AM, and the two person crew there took charge of me. The makeup artist applied enough makeup to take some of the shine off of my face and reduce my redness. She apologized for any cold in the stuff; I told her it was just fine. I'm really not self-concious about makeup like some Manly Manly Men Who Are Manly are. The camera operator wired me up and did a camera test, then confirmed that Atlanta could see me. I talked with someone over the headphone long enough for Atlanta to get a sound check on me and confirmed we would be good to go. They also checked on me when they went into the commerical break just before coming to me.

Preparing for CNN

Lisa was later excited to see that the camera they're using is a later model of the large one she uses to record WSFS Business Meetings in places where we can transport it, part of the Panasonic P2 series. You'll notice that I had a note pad in front of me. I'd taken a few notes to remind me of key points I'd hoped to make, but I tried to not look down at them. I am happy that I remembered to make it clear that my views were my own, not the party's, and to reiterate the party's stated commitment to hold an open, accessible, inclusive caucus.

I do wish I'd remembered to take a picture from my point of view in the Hot Seat. All I could see was a big black rectangular filter covering the camera lens. I never saw Poppy Harlow during our discussion. I could hear her through the earphone I had in my right ear. This was challenging because I couldn't pick up on any non-verbal clues, and I think there must have been a half-second delay on the communication link between Reno and Atlanta, which is why there were a couple of places where I (unintentionally, I assure you) talked over Poppy.

If you'd like to see how I performed, one of the producers at CNN with whom I was working provided me with a clip of the interview segment. The copyright is obviously CNN's, so I can't just upload the clip to YouTube, and that's why I can't embed it.

After the segment, the makeup artist washed me up. (I probably should have left it on as if I'd left immediately I could have made the start of our Friday staff meeting at the Day Jobbe instead of coming in late, and they all could have seen what I looked up made up for television.) I headed for home. That's counter-commute, so I made good time. I passed a traffic accident including a school bus coming the other way on I-80, so I was very lucky that I came through much earlier.

I'm pretty pleased with how this went. I've done television before, albeit never on politics, and every previous appearance was taped, including the time I was on KPIX 5 in the Bay Area talking about coaxing extra mileage out of my minivan, an interview I did with KTXL 40 in Sacramento at the final Eclecticon talking about the convention, and (going way back) being one of the four kids on the "Captain Delta Show" on KOVR 13 Sacramento on what would have been the first day of the second grade. I've also done a little bit of radio, talking about Caltrain with Mike Colgan for news stories on KCBS 740, and appearing on KFJC 89.7 live discussing ConJose back in 2002. Over time, I apparently have picked up some of the ability to speak in relatively short phrases and make my point, even about relatively esoteric things like Instant Runoff Voting. This was was the very biggest "stage" on which I've ever appeared, and I'm happy that I seem to have done it right.

Again, this was not an official appearance on behalf of the Nevada Democratic Party, nor was it done with the Party's knowledge. I was not compensated for my time. I want to thank the folks at CoverEdge who were highly professional and helpful, and my co-workers, manager, and our customer contact who were cooperative with my having to take more than two hours out of my morning during what is the busiest part of our work day.
Tags: caucus, cnn, politics, television
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