Friday Mar 12 2010
14-year-old reporter shoots for broadcasting career
By: Michelle Carl The Press Tribune
Buljan student meets heroes at Olympic Games
Daniel Wetter doesn’t care much for the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “I don’t like that question,” the 14-year-old says. “I’m already doing it.” As a teen reporter for Scholastic Kids Press Corps, the Roseville middle school student is filling his resume with interviews from top politicos and coverage of national stories. But the highlight of his burgeoning career has been a trip to cover the Winter Games in Vancouver last month. “I still don’t have a word to describe being there,” he said this week. The experience gave him the opportunity to rub elbows with members of the media he hopes will be his peers someday. Despite having to get up at 3:30 a.m., Daniel went to a taping of the “Today” show and got some face time with broadcasting heroes Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann Curry. “I see them every morning. I wake up to them and have since I was little,” Daniel said. “It was cool to see them in person and be there.” While shooting another story at a local sushi spot, Daniel ran into “Today” chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman. She helped him gain access to the International Broadcast Center, the hub for journalists from around the world during the Vancouver Games. Although he didn’t interview Olympic hot shots Apollo Ono and Shawn White, Daniel did snag a few questions with the Premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell, and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobsen. While he was initially disappointed that he didn’t get to attend any Olympic sporting events, Daniel said there were plenty of other news leads to follow. “There were so many things going on, crazy things were happening on the streets,” he said. “It bugs me that they don’t show most of what’s happening on TV. What’s cool to me is what’s not being reported.” His off-the-beaten-path reporting led him to a story at the Canada House, capturing the fandemonium of the Olympics and a quick chat with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams while on an escalator at the International Broadcast Center. “You gotta do what you gotta do,” he said of the unorthodox interview locale. Although he likes to sleep in until 7:30 a.m. before getting to Buljan Middle School, his days in Vancouver had him rising at 5 a.m. He worked on his stories and videos in the morning, then e-mailed them to a Scholastic Press editor in Texas before embarking on a full day of reporting and shooting video. The only reporter from Scholastic at the Games, Daniel turned 20 stories in five days. He also posted stories to his own site, danielwetterreports.com, which scored 1,000 hits in February. Wetter discovered a love of broadcasting after meeting KCRA photojournalist Jorge Velasquez at the opening of the Fountains in Roseville back in 2008. “We were doing a live shot talking about what was happening there, and I’m looking around, and I see this kid walking around with a video camera, taking notes in a reporter pad. He caught my eye,” Velasquez said. “He was interested in everything we were doing, so I showed him the live truck and invited him to the station, which he quickly did.” Daniel was able to shadow Jorge for a day on the job — with his mom tagging along for every location shot. Velasquez said Daniel is getting priceless experience. “Daniel is doing the process. He’s gathering, shooting, editing, writing, putting his interests out there, uploading — and he’s just starting out,” Velasquez said. “His ambition and his love are contagious.” Buljan Middle School teacher Stefanie Spangler said she has to constantly remind herself that Daniel is only 14. “Daniel has incredible support at home, and he is able to manage his time well between school, a social life, and his ‘career,’” she said. “There are no limits to where he will go in life. In fact, we often joke that I expect to a) be mentioned in his presidential campaign speeches and, b) receive an invitation for dinner at the White House once he becomes president. He is one-of-a-kind.” In fact, Daniel’s most coveted interview is with President Barack Obama, whose office has not responded to repeated requests. “Obviously he has a busy schedule,” Daniel said. Persistence and serious networking skills — the kid hands out business cards — should take Daniel where he wants to go. He’s eyeing UC Berkeley for college and hopes to end up behind the news desk at his favorite network, NBC. “I don’t want to wait for the future,” he said. “I want it now.” But for now, he’ll have to finish up middle school, and be patient. Michelle Carl can be reached at email@example.com. ---------- Daniel Wetter’s stories from the Olympics Read and watch his coverage at www.danielwetterreports.com or scholastic.com/kidspress.