Worth the wait

Wednesday, September 24th 2008, 11:27 pm
By: News 9

It's been a long day and I'm annoyed.   Allow me to explain.

News 9 photographer Mark McBride and I took a road trip to the great city of Ada, Oklahoma today to investigate one student's claims of wrongdoing by the university there.   I can't go into too many details at this time, only because the story will not air until Thursday night.

It was my first time at East Central University and it was my first time ever to have an escort accompany me on a college campus as we tried to piece together a news story.  The lady who tailed us from start to finish was the school's marketing director / public relations guru.

We were trying to find the freshman who made claims and this involved questioning every student who crossed our path.  We finally found the residence hall this young man stayed, but the public relations lady who was still following us said we couldn't go in because all doors were locked and she didn't have a key.   Just to make sure, I stopped a passing student and he said all the doors were UNLOCKED and we should be able to enter with no problem.

Go figure.

We finally made our way into the dorms and we tracked down the friends of the student we were looking for.  They said he had checked himself into a hospital and we could find him there.

Fast forward now to Ada's Valley View Hospital.

I went straight to room number *** and found the young man.

Following a short Q&A session between the two of us, he agreed to go on-camera to explain his side of the story.

That's when my frustration with the hospital kicked in.   The lady at the front desk said we'd have to wait 25 - 30 minutes for the hospital's P.R. lady to arrive and we'd only be able to bring our cameras into the facility AFTER the patient signed the proper paperwork.   This wasn't a good thing to hear at 6:30 p.m., especially when we were trying to get back to Oklahoma City and get our story on the air by 10:00 p.m.

Now, I can't certainly understand the need for a public relations person from the hospital following a news crew around.  There's plenty of privacy laws now in place at medical centers and to be honest --- I'd rather have somebody helping us out.

It just annoyed me that we had to wait for over an hour for a 15-minute interview.   I was also scolded for just walking into the hospital and going straight to the patient's room without first announcing who I was to the front desk.

My bad.

By the end of it all, our producer agreed to let us hold the story for Thursday night's newscast.  This prevented us from having to speed back to the city and throw the story together.

It's a good one.  Be sure to tune in Thursday night at 10:00  and see what all the trouble was for.

Rusty Surette rusty.surette@news9.net