Alabama Makes National News- Covering Officer Charged With Murder

It’s been a month of national news in Montgomery. I want to start this post by saying my sympathies go out to both families involved in this case. And this post is clearly written from a perspective of a journalist covering an officer-involved shooting. It’s my goal to share both sides of the story. I’ve been able to report on this case from the beginning. That’s included breaking the news of a possible attack on the Montgomery police department and being the only reporter to thoroughly look into the background of the victim. Here’s a look at my coverage from start to now:

MPD Officer Charged With Murder from Sarah Cantey on Vimeo.

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2 YEARS IN

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! This also happens to be my 2 year anniversary of moving to Alabama. I remember stepping off the plane in Montgomery and being taken aback when the woman said “mam” when I bought trail mix…and then my first drive thru order getting all messed up because I guess I sounded too Yankee. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been all sunshine and roses but, a few (maybe occasionally more than that) tears have been worth all the memories, friends, and experiences. So thank you Alabama!

Something in my work has seemed to ‘click’ recently, probably from my fascination with watching the videos on the Storytellers Facebook Group. I’ve been having a lot of fun piecing together multiple part stand ups. They are incredibly awkward to shoot and I get funny looks, but the result is well worth it. I did the story below yesterday (Feb. 13, 2015), and for what could have been a “snoozer,” turned out much better than I could have imagined!

BECOMING A PART OF THE COMMUNITY

“Bureau life” has it’s struggles. I would be sugarcoating it if I didn’t say that some days it can be overwhelming being your own assignment editor, producer, reporter, writer and editor. But, being more than 50 miles from the main station and living in the community I cover, one of the most rewarding aspects is the connections and roots you build. 

YEAR ONE OF REPORTING

As the title of this post gives away, it’s been almost one year since I jumped from behind the scenes to on camera. Summing up 2013 as a year of “firsts”, it is remarkable how much I have learned and how many people I’ve met. After close to five months with WTVY out of Dothan, I made the decision to accept a position with WAKA out of Montgomery. A fifty-market jump that proved to be an extremely positive move. Surrounding myself with people who’ve been in this business WAY longer than me has pushed me to fine tune my writing, on air presence, and quality of story ideas. My advice to anyone starting out in this business- take a leap no matter how scary it may be, it may turn out to be a bumpy road but worth it in the end!

Here are a few of my most recent stories. Written, shot, and edited by myself- https://vimeo.com/85058253

The Tale of the Ozark Fire Chief- Following a Story From Beginning to End

This story starts with a four-wheeler accidents and is followed up with weeks of follow up stories and a WHOLE LOT of learning in the process.

Here was my original report when this story first happened:

Ozark Fire Chief from Sarah Cantey on Vimeo.

In a small, Southern town I quickly learned that your sources (that you interact with on a day to day basis as a bureau reporter) are (for obvious reasons) very forthcoming with positive information, but not so much with the negative. I learned the importance of walking a fine line of being assertive in getting the facts (no easy task when things are “under investigation”) while not being too pushy. Also, building positive relationships with sources was key in moving forward with the story.
And then came the follow-ups…including getting my hands on (in a legal way) the dispatch radio traffic.

Ozark Fire Chief 2 from Sarah Cantey on Vimeo.

And after sitting through a total of 7 hours and 40 minutes over the span of three separate executive sessions….finally a decision was made in regards to what to do with the chief.

Ozark Fire Chief 3 from Sarah Cantey on Vimeo.

This story was the most viewed on the WTVY website. But, besides the popularity of the story, it was quite the learning experience and such a thrill to follow from beginning to end. Even though I am pretty sure this one isn’t quite over yet.

Start of a new chapter

After a year at KOLD/KMSB, the time has come to start what is hopefully a long career as a reporter. In the coming weeks, I am picking up and moving from Tucson to Alabama to work as the Dale County reporter for WTVY, the CBS affiliate. Words cannot express how much I have learned and my immense gratitude to all the mentors and friends I have gained this past year at Tucson News Now. As I will continue to say, it is not goodbye but see you later!