I spent most of the month of June working on oil spill coverage in Florida. Now that I've had a chance to cool off (from the heat) I need to get these thoughts down that have been kicking around in my head.
-On several occasions the coverage from the same place differed widely depending on which network you were watching. At one point we were in Destin, Florida, which had not seen a drop of oil. A man came up to me and asked if we were from another network. He was angry that the other guys were saying the beaches were "oil covered" when in fact there was no oil in sight.
Each morning I'd walk down to the water and look for myself. If there was oil, we reported it. If not, we reported that. Journalism 101.
Meanwhile, the other network's name was mud around that town.
-While oil soaked beaches are sickening, dead animals or sea creatures can make the toughest journalist choke up. One one occasion we had video of people trying to save a baby dolphin. We were all in the sat truck when we heard the poor thing didn't make it, and there were a lot of misty eyes.
-If you touch a tar ball, the stain won't come off your skin for days.
-Gatorade G2 rocks.
-The cleanup crews have to take frequent breaks because of the heat. Why all the cleanup crews don't all work at night is beyond me.
-We discovered that carrying equipment in sand is an incredible workout. Throw in the over-100 heat index, and it beats anything in a gym.
-Neutrogena makes the best sunblock, hands down. They have this stuff called "Age Shield Face SPF 110" which is incredible. After a full day in the sun my skin didn't even feel warm. I think SPF 110 will protect you on the planet Mercury.
-If you wanted to take a vacation along the Gulf Coast, please do so. The people there are really hurting, and there's still plenty to do away from the beaches. By the way, any oil stains only go as far as the high tide line. The rest of the sand is still sugar white in Florida. So if you just want to lay in the sand, you're good to go.