All last week, News 9 featured a travel series of Reporter Jacqueline Sit, Photographer John Almendarez and I traveling to some neighboring states. We went hiking, kayaking and diamond digging in Arkansas; then to Dodge City, Kansas for some western culture; Archer City, Texas the hometown of acclaimed novelist Larry McMurtry and finally Missouri where we toured caverns and hiked through the woods.
The shoots were exhausting, but fun nonetheless. Colleagues at News 9 praised the series. But I never would've predicted how well-received the pieces would be by the viewers.
Several News 9 viewers stopped me on the street, sent email and called the station, praising the pieces and thanking me for providing an different alternative for summer vaca-rather "DayCations." The point of those stories was to highlight places a family can go in a day.
One of my mentors told me it was a no-brainer that the public would respond that way. "People are starved for that sort of thing," said Jim Scott, managing editor at WEWS-TV in Cleveland. "Gas prices are through the roof and people don't have many options for summer travel."
Viewers may recall that we did a similar series last May called "Trips on a Tankful." That was designed to show you what you could go in the Sooner State on a tankful of gas. Former colleague Mary Joseph and I traveled to Tahlequah, Woodward County and Krebs, showcasing Native American culture, western culture and italian cuisine.
Not to say that these trips were cheap. John filled up his truck several times. But overall, it was cheaper than say, going to DisneyWorld for a week. Just ask Karla Davis, who brought her group of girl scouts from Tulsa to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.
I would encourage anyone traveling this summer to consider one of the locations featured last week. It'll be a trip you won't forget.