A curious piece of behind-the-scenes footage featuring ABC's Diane Sawyer has started make the rounds today. It shows Sawyer prepping for a live shot while broadcasting from the tornado-ravaged town of Joplin, MO in late May.
The footage was first posted by Harry Shearer on his blog and titled "I have nothing," referring to a quote by Sawyer in the video:
Besides an interesting peek behind the curtain of network news, the video is also being used to criticize Sawyer. Shearer characterized the video as showing how "hard" it is for Sawyer to the deliver the news cast, while Gawker said it shows Sawyer "frantically" attempting to "put together a broadcast." But Mediaite's Mark Joyella takes exception to that:
In TV, telling producers you have nothing is very important information. Sawyer displays no hints of diva-dom. Instead, she asks for clarification on facts of the storm, and says she has no clear idea how the critical top of the newscast is going to flow. All this, of course, in the minutes before that newscast goes live. To a reporter like myself, who’s done a lot of television liveshots in all kinds of conditions, Sawyer seems positively Zen in her calm. But what’s funny about that? Nothing.
Sawyer doesn’t act entitled in the least. She’s hardly focused on herself, telling the crew that if it’s dangerous to stay in their location, they should all leave. She never talks down to anyone, and even as time runs out and she’s not seen a key script involving a camera move and a live interview, she suggests it might be wiser to do the multi-element segment on tape–or at least practice it–rather than have it crash on live TV. Yes, Diane is Diane, and she never loses her cool. She’s not just high-priced talent in this case, she’s highly experienced talent. She’s the kind of person who can calmly work amid the frenzy of photographers, field producers and others all talking to her at once–while producers back in New York are talking into her ear (when the IFB connection is functioning, of course). She’s calm, clear, and authoritative to each and every one of them.