Welcome to the first installment of Live From Studio 1A - the morning component to allDAY. My name is Liz Neumann, and I'm half of the team that will be blogging live every morning during the show. My partner in crime is Peter Giordano, and later in the week we'll post a little more about ourselves.
This morning in the first half hour of the show we did a story on the aftermath of the recent tornadoes, and on one family struck by the recent tornado in Enterprise, Alabama. The Tompkins family lost Mikey, a senior at Enterprise high school, while his father Bill was serving in Iraq. Bill spoke about the loss his family is now dealing with and the shock of having a horrible event happen at home while living in a war zone overseas. WATCH VIDEO
As I sat in the control room I could feel the mood among the production staff become somber. Normally there is a fair amount of banter early in the morning between the director, producers and associate producers, but this morning the room was silent as everyone listened closely to the taped spot. When there were about thirty seconds left in the spot Jim Bell, executive producer, told Joe Michaels, our director, to give the anchors some time to react instead of throwing directly to the newsdesk with Ann Curry. Meredith Vieira and Lester Holt (in for Matt Lauer today) took a few moments to talk about the tragedy. It is always very telling when the control room is taken with a story and the well-oiled machine of the show slows for a minute to acknowledge its impact. It is in these unscripted moments that the compassion of our anchors really comes out, and hopefully our viewers can feel the same connection I feel over here. I am also struck by the flexibility of our production team as they adjust the rest of the show - while I'm typing producers are calculating adjustments to make up for the extra time taken with Meredith and Lester.
My thoughts are with the Tompkins family and the entire community of Enterprise, AL this morning.