Surviving a live shot disaster

It’s a given. If you’re going live on television, sooner or later something wacky will happen and it will be caught on camera. Back in the old days, you could expect to be teased by your newsroom colleagues and perhaps a few sharp-eyed viewers. But you could feel fairly confident that cousin Carl in Chicago would never know. And once it was over, it was over–unless some wag decided to play it again at the company holiday party.

Not anymore. These days, a blooper can make its way around the world before the newsroom stops giggling. And your colleagues often are the ones making sure that happens. This one showed up in my Twitter stream yesterday, courtesy of a KOMU-TV producer:

It could happen to anyone.  And the reporter, Brandon Lewis, coped about as well as he could, considering he was out there all alone.

But here’s a tip. If something happens in your live shot that viewers can clearly see or hear, don’t try to ignore it. Take a second to explain what’s going on. For example, if there’s random music playing in the background, say where it’s coming from. Otherwise, the audience may be so distracted they’ll get nothing out of what you’re saying.