BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- "It's been several weeks since the Bowling Green Police Department first started investigating a double homicide." This is how you first heard about the story Darby Beane did last Thursday December 3rd, as she followed up a double murder in Bowling Green.
But it began that day in the daily morning news meeting where the news staff and management decide which stories to do. "I have her daughter set up," Darby told the meeting, "and I'm also going to talk to the police department and get an update on the investigation."
Darby set up interviews with the son and daughter of Karen Burks, one of the women murdered in December. The children were running a little late, causing some concern because the deadline for the newscast must be met regardless. "My deadline does not change," Darby told me. "If I have things set up early in the morning, my deadline is still 5 o'clock and 6 o'clock. If things don't work out until one or two in the afternoon, my deadline is still 5 and 6 so I have to get it done."
Once they arrived at the station, Darby interviewed Karen Burks' children about how they're coping with this tragic situation. Then it's off to Bowling Green Police Headquarters to interview Public Information Officer Ronnie Ward on the status of the double murder investigation. Our reporters shoot their stories themselves. In fact, they do everything themselves.
"That's one thing a lot of people don't realize," Darby told me. "We come up with our own story ideas. Then we have to call everybody and get the interviews set up. We have to conduct the interviews. We have to drive to wherever we need to be to go get them. And then we have to get the video while we're there also. And then once we get back, we're in charge of editing the video, creating a story for the website, and all of that's done by the one person."
After interviewing Officer Ward, we headed to the apartment where the double murder took place, where Darby did what's called a Stand Up, showing her at the location of the story. It's tricky to do on your own. "There's a lot of trial and error testing it out,," said Darby . "How far back you need to be from the camera, and then going to adjust it and then going back and making sure you're still in focus. So we'll work on it and see how many takes we have to go through."
Darby records her Stand Up: "'Reporting in Bowling Green, Darby Bean, 13 News." Good. If that was in focus, could be a one-take."
Then it's back to the WBKO newsroom to select the Sound Bites -- the pieces of the conversations Darby wants to put in her story. She writes the script she will narrate, and records it in the sound booth. Then she uses her computer to lay down her soundtrack, the sound bites she will use, and the footage she shot for the story. "So all of the video I just shot is on this card," Darby explained. "We have to plug it in and download everything to the computer."
Darby must also time the length of her story to the second! Because our newscasts must end exactly on time to join ABC network programming.
Then it's time to finish putting the story on our website. That involves some rewriting of the script, adding a picture, and putting the story on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, it's time to go to the studio to put the story on the air. "So we put this in our ear," said Darby, "clip this box on your pants, on the back of your dress. And that's how you hear what's going on. And then of course, I'll need a microphone."
Darby checks communication with the director.
Darby: "Can you confirm for me that I'm looking at cam 1?"
Director: "Yes you are."
Darby: "Okay thanks."
The producer cues the talent.... and IT'S SHOWTIME!
Sean: "Darby Beane joins us in studio tonight to let us know the latest in the investigation, as well as what victims' family members are saying."
Darby: "Sean and Lauren, the last time I spoke with Karen Burks' family, her children said she didn't have insurance, and they couldn't afford to give her a funeral like they felt like she deserved."
What you don't get to see in the stories that we air, is how often it's difficult to do what we do, not just the travel, the manual labor, and challenges of technology we deal with every day, but how hard it is to cope with emotional issues that Karen Burks children are dealing with.
"That is something that is really hard to talk about," explains Darby. "But they did a very good job of letting the public know where they are at on this. They're comfortable talking to me about it because I have talked to them off camera and tried to make them feel comfortable. And you have to let people know that you're not here to get the juicy story. You're here to tell their story and you're not gonna twist what they say, and they have to trust you. They're not gonna talk to you again if they don't trust you."
As you could see, Darby wrote, produced, and edited her story for our newscast, as well as writing another version for our website, wbko.com. And all of our reporters do the same thing for every story they do, every day. I just thought you should know.
You can see the full story Darby did by clicking here.