My recent foray into cable news

Moab has recently found itself gaining national attention for reasons outside the typical intrigue with tourism destinations. That has afforded me the opportunity to speak to national and statewide audiences live on television and radio about the Moab City Police Department and the Pack Creek Fire.

The most prominent episode for which Moab gained notoriety is in connection with the death of Gabby Petito and disappearance of her fiancé Brian Laundrie.

For The Times-Independent, a newspaper that by necessity keeps a strict focus on its coverage areas of Grand County and Moab, the subject in the Petito case we have investigated is the Moab City Police Department’s handling of a report of domestic violence involving Petito and Laundrie.

This focus led us to the first body camera footage released by the department in connection with the case, though we were not the first outlet to obtain the footage. As a consolation prize, we were the first to obtain the second body camera footage.

The release of the second body camera footage got me onto Dan Abrams Live1, a show that premiered Sept. 27 and hosted me on Oct. 1 to talk about the incident.2

The most important things here are the stories themselves, which I have covered for The T-I. I am currently in the job seeker market, so I wanted to simply document these accomplishments.

As far as I can remember, this is my first appearance on national television, and it was live. Fortunately, I was cursorily prepared by a live appearance on statewide television3 months before to talk about the Pack Creek Fire.

I think there were noticeable improvements in my presence on Dan Abrams Live compared to my appearance on KUTV, and I think there are considerable improvements left for me to make.

For example, I did a better job making eye contact with the camera in the appearance on Dan Abrams Live, but I still have a long way to go on that front and on using my hands while speaking.

Additionally, I did a suboptimal job addressing Abrams’s question about where the story was headed next, taking a second to ponder some possibilities before finally getting to the important part of the answer: We had many questions that we had asked of the police department and others that needed answers.

For me, the lead-up to live appearances on television has been marked by nervously researching every detail I need to get right and nailing down what handful of things I will have at the front of my mind when the mic goes hot.

I felt the same uneasiness writing my first stories for my student newspaper in college, recording my first podcast episodes for the newspaper, transitioning to my own project after the newspaper, going on live and recorded radio interviews with state and local stations… At every level, I’ve had that uneasiness.

And, from all that unease, I have found my stride — or at least started to — in each of those activities. I’m looking forward to yet more learning as I move to Oregon.

  1. The full episode is available on the NewsNation website and on YouTube. Skip to 16 minutes in to see me. I have also archived the segment here⤴︎

  2. Dan Abrams Live is a show on the NewsNation network, which is owned by the Nexstar Media Group. NewsNation itself is a new name in broadcast; WGN America relaunched on March 1 as NewsNation as part of moving into the national media market from its home base in Chicago⤴︎

  3. I have archived the KUTV clip here⤴︎