Behind the Scenes: NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit

Sorry for the light posting recently. Having a second kid will rock your world and eat up all blobbing time like Paula Deen inhaling a donut hamburger. (At :42) At least in her pre-Type II diabetes days. And this past week I was in Las Vegas for the Unity journalism convention. A post on that later this week. It's always good to get plugged back in and re-inspired by your peers.

Now to the topic at hand. If you are at all an American, you've watched at least 2 minutes of the Olympic Games. And in that time, you will have seen this promo at least 4 times. And this one another 2 times. Just so you get the message: NBC Bay Area has launched an Investigative Unit. And you know what? #weinvestigate. As I recently said on Facebook, you know the promo spots are penetrating the market when your next door neighbor peeks his head over the fence and teases you by saying, "Hey, do YOU INVESTIGATE?" 

They are amazing. Everyone looks gorgeous, tall, and 'investigative.' Some viewers said the spots look like commercials for a new NBC show. To which I say, why not? We could use something cray cray on the Peacock network and if you knew the personalities inside our unit, you would definitely want to throw us on an island with nothing to eat. 

I have never been part of a campaign like this. Despite what you hear about "The Media," I don't set out everyday to fake the truth or act or put together some warped reality. I go to work to gather information, cut through B.S. and tell a factual, memorable story that will provide something meaningful to someone. Hopefully many someones.

Therefore, taking part in a promo shoot was definitely a foreign experience. Our first location was a conference room in San Jose. The crew was set up with tons of film set equipment, a super expensive fancy camera, a director, and prop notepads, computers, photos, files, folders, and assorted paperwork. Cue the action. I've never pointed at a notebook, passed papers to other reporters, or stood up and down with authority that many times in my life. The cab ride and city hall shoots were a little easier. I can power call and power walk pretty efficiently.

I love how they hired extras to walk and stand behind us; they actually looked like locals, particularly the guy with the backpack and iPod. I finally realized he wasn't waiting for the VTA after 6 trains came and left.

In any case, I know that a commercial saying you investigate doesn't make you an investigative reporter but I think we have the most talented people on our team and I'm looking forward to learning from them and putting out some interesting reports as part of the biggest Investigative Unit in the Bay Area, perhaps in the entire US of A. But I know it's not about the size of our Unit, it's how we use it.

The behind the scenes photos are on Facebook.

But in case you don't have an account or you can't see them, here are some extremely disturbing photos created by one of the Unit photographers. Lest we get too big headed and enamored with our glam promo shoot, we can always look at these and come crashing back to Earth.

Disturbing photo #1:

Disturbing Photo #2:

Disturbing Photo #3:

There you have it. Nightmares. You're welcome.

Photo credit: Felipe Escamilla, Investigative Unit Photographer/Editor/Nightmare creator