Last week I was asked to go to the Fox 59 Studio to shoot a 2-minute debate about whether or not the city should bailout the Pacers. Or rather, I was asked to fill in for the person they really wanted, but had to cancel because of a death in the family. Movin' on up...
The "Faceoff" segment airs tonight at 10 pm. It's a new bit they're trying out where they bring in two local (what's the word here...experts? no...) "interested parties" to debate a current event.
They asked NUVO to fill in at the last minute, and as Indy's most "available" sportswriter, I was happy to oblige. The studio is a big cheesy boxing ring, and there was no moderator or lead-in. It was pleasantly surprising that they thought of NUVO to participate (even if we were there second choice), and that they didn't have any pre-scripted talking points or a particular position they wanted me to take. However the "1-2-3 go!" approach without a moderator or even a chair left me feeling a little uneasy about what to do with my hands, how to start, when to stop, and what question to focus on. Two minutes wasn't nearly enough time to get comfortable and have any sort of off-script back and forth.
The opposition was local blogger Chris Wordon— an accomplished attorney and leftward-leaning political activist with far more education and political awareness than I'll ever have. I met him a couple minutes before we aired, and he showed up dressed to the nines, making me even more nervous than I already was. But much to the disappointment of tonight's audience— we are very like-minded in our political leanings and got along very well. He's ready my stuff and I've read his and the "debate"- if you will— was in reality more of a conversation amongst new buds.
And lucky for me. While I like to think I've developed a knack for defending the most defenseless of positions, I wouldn't stand a chance against Chris; which was all too apparent the second time we did the debate.
They shot the debate twice: which was strange for an off-script conversation. The first time we went six minutes, so they asked us to do it again. I felt like the first time through went a lot better than the second— Chris had a much better ability than me to learn from the first go-round, and the second time we went through he had answers for everything I said. We'll see which segment they use the most of....ideally a little of both to make me look a little less stupid.
By the way, you can read Chris's blog here —it's really great insightful stuff. It's the best regular all-local political analysis this side of Austin Considine. We have very similar ideology and goals for the city; the difference is that he goes about it with thorough research and insightful reporting, while I depend on sarcasm and mildly snooty observations.
I got to the studio about half an hour early, and had to sit in the waiting room watching Maury until Chris got there. No matter how bad I look on TV tonight, it's good to know that it will be nothing compared to those people.