I’ve been to Rome several times, including twice for work. I covered the death of Pope John Paul II and his subsequent funeral in 2005, and an historic conference of cardinals in 2002. One of the many reports I filed in ’02 that now sis in the Channel 3 archives, is this Sunday’s Face the State flashback.
A foreign assignment is exciting to a journalist, and I was pretty pumped to be heading to the old country for such a big story. I traveled to Italy with WFSB photojournalist Eric Budney, a seasoned world traveler who can adapt pretty much anywhere.
In April of 2002, the Pope called the cardinals to Rome for a meeting about the sex abuse scandals involving priests. With Connecticut being one of the most Catholic states in the nation, it made perfect sense for us to go.
Our work started as soon as we landed in Rome. We spotted the embattled Bernard Cardinal Law of Boston and talked with him along with a horde of reporters. After we unpacked at our hotel it was off to the Vatican where the famous Swiss guard allowed us deep inside the Vatican to rarely seen office so we could procure press passes, which would allow us access to the events of the week.
The most difficult thing about reporting overseas is the time difference. We had to work during the day in Rome covering the conference scheduled for normal business hours, and then report live for the evening news back in Hartford. There is a six hour time difference, so “going live” for the 6PM News meant it was midnight Rome time. A hit for the 11PM news meant an all-nighter.
There was absolutely no complaining from Eric or me. Zero. We were in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, where even food on the run seemed gourmet. We looked for backdrops for our stories and interviews, and we looked to interview folks from Connecticut who were vacationing in Rome.
That last part of the job was actually fairly easy. When we visited the famous Trevi Fountain, we met a family from East Haven and near the Pantheon, a woman from Westport. We also interviewed a doctor from Avon at St. Peter’s Square and a college student from Ledyard in front of the Coliseum. They either recognized me or the iconic “3” on our equipment, or showed some sign they were from the home state.
Tune in this Sunday to back in time to Rome and the Vatican. See you Sunday at 11AM on Face the State on WFSB.