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TBT: Meeting Emily Rooney (First ever meeting a local TV reporter) in 2016

Given the news that Beat The Press being canceled by Boston’s Channel 2 a couple weeks ago today, and I miss my own deadline for writing this letter on my site. Not knowing her affiliation with the station, I didn’t want to risk sending an email and have it be bounced by their postmaster in their messaging system (if she had been let go, most local media freeze email and logins solely to the station’s legal folks.) With the cancellation of BTP, and her leaving Greater Boston in 2014, she was quasi-retired, so I assume she’s off their books.

I only met Emily once in my lifetime, but I felt like I have known her for years. I had watched BTP off and on probably since its inception (I think it was really 1999 to this year.) That time I did meet her was in 2016 at the First in the Nation Primary in New Hampshire. I had lived in this market my entire life, and have walked around many of the local media talent in their live shots. I never did hi-mom shot at all, one time a WHDH ENG crew was at my local high school and I had walked the drivers side while I took pictures of the crew, but never met them in person or introduced myself. I’ve been known to take pictures of people shooting video in live shots or things of that nature. ENG field people rarely get appreciated. This was when MySpace was the only popular social media platform of it’s time, Facebook was barely existent to public-figures; and Twitter was really new, and Instagram wasn’t existent yet. I think it was with Instagram with selfies and selfies with local public figures is where I think I felt most comfortable.

Back to ’16: many of the local press converged at the Center of New Hampshire expo center, which at the time was part of the Radison chain. Outside of FITN, the first floor is an open lobby, but it’s all split apart when the primary time comes along. WGBH (FM and TV along with PBS IIRC) was camped out, adjacent to Merrimack Street (I’ll get to that later.) The setup was on camera and producers were sharing tables and the small studio was on the lobby side. The set looked a lot like what was later used at the Boston Public Library. They literally brought studio grade equipment to Manchester and the magic of modern day newsgathering, you can bring a studio via broadband computer network and most of the heavy lifting is done back in Brighton, less than 50 miles south.

I looked like a lowlife guy, because I and my mother had came into the building from a cold day outside about 5 minutes before. I had frequented Manchester and didn’t think differently, and didn’t think I was an outsider. Despite the minifigures, I did manage to do two packages for a reporter that tagged along with me. So I did feel (in my objective opinion) felt I was part of the press.

I know from an acquaintance that TV adds height, Emily is short, just over 5′, in fact in less than a minute, I didn’t need stakeout, because she walked by. I asked if it was her, she confirmed, and asked could I get a selfie. She was reluctant at first, but I was able to get a snap, and despite the reluctance, she was better dressed than your’s truly. I did say I was a fan of her show and watched for many, many years, since again she really was doing BTP  completely at that point. It was interesting why she was there early in the week, when media affairs is a fraction the overall coverage.

I write this because ironically nearly five months after I met her, I would on every Wednesday before the pandemic, I would cross the other side of Merrimack Street, on an alley way, that would be two blocks down from where WGBH was setup on that eve  of the Primary Election in 2016. On those Wednesdays, I would have my own throwback, being nearly a 500′ of line of sight of where I met her back in 2016. In fact without going into my personal life, it came unexpectedly.  There was never a day that went by for a number of years where I couldn’t forget that moment in my life.

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