The CNN Experience

Back to Article
Back to Article

The CNN Experience

CNN Production Assistant

CNN Production Assistant

CNN Production Assistant

Kaitlyn Strada, her family, and CNN Anchor Carol Costello

Kaitlyn Strada, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






At about 8:00 on Wednesday night, my mother, Terry Strada, received a call from a CNN producer; CNN wanted to cover the story of the torture reports and they wanted my mom’s opinion. They scheduled her to appear on the Carol Costello Show at 10:30 the following morning. I, of course, was very intrigued by my mom’s schedule and was lucky enough to attend with her.

On Thursday morning, a CNN driver arrived at our house to drive us into New York City to the CNN offices in the Time Warner Building. The car was stocked with cold beverages and snacks to munch on. Shortly after we arrived, a personal assistant greeted us to be our guide for the day. We were led to the Green Room to wait for our time slot, but first was hair and makeup. The ‘salon’ was adjacent to the Green Room, where make-up artists were waiting for the guests. My mom sat down and right away began getting done up. While they were caking her face with makeup, two hair stylists were tugging at her hair to make her TV ready. We were then led through the prestigious halls of the CNN studios, passing anchors and producers left and right. It was pretty chaotic with the amount of guests that were also in the same position as my mom and I.

The Carol Costello Show runs from 9am to 11am every weekday, where she interviews people from different backgrounds regarding political and social issues. The guest before us, the Princeton Mom, was invited on to speak about the controversy of the definition of rape. My mom and I got the luxury, so to speak, of sitting with her in the Green Room before going on, where she explained her ridiculous beliefs regarding rape. Quickly after she blabbed about inconsiderate reasons on why rape is not rape, my mother and I walked away.

Everything from then on moved very quickly. The producer of the show was scrambling to get the guests in order, since Carol only had a thirty second rest between takes. The mic man hooked my mom up quickly, but she had more time than she thought. The Princeton Mom basically refused to get off the set until Carol heard her out. After a heated debate between the two, Carol ended the segment, however, the Princeton Mom didn’t want to leave. It took the mic man and the cameraman to make her leave. Then, it was Terry’s turn.

Since CNN was not interested in what I had to say about the torture reports, I got to sit on the sidelines and watch the show take place. The cameraman was beyond enthusiastic about having a guest, so he showed me how the cameras work. They used small joysticks to control the cameras when they weren’t already on automatic. The cameras were trained to record when Carol spoke and to do the same for the guest. The cameraman spoke, “in five, four, three,” and then just mouthed the words two and one. In a five-minute interview, a slideshow—which was created at the producers’ station earlier that morning—played behind Carol and my mom. Directly after the interview ended, I was lucky enough to run to the desk they were speaking at and get photographed with the anchor.

The personal assistant came to lead us out, but we had one more thing to do. He gave us a tour of each set in the CNN studio and explained a typical day at CNN. In the offices, there were hundreds of desks with three computers at each and most of them had a large coffee sitting on the desk. Most people had earpieces in to communicate with one another and anchors were running from set to set. One interesting thing I noticed was that on the Carol Costello Show, Carol had a fellow anchor come to discuss a certain issue. They sat directly next to each other, however the cameras made it look like they were in different buildings. The same TVs that were behind my mom playing slide shows were used now to show a different background. The two anchors spoke to each other as if they were in different settings, even though they were right next to each other.

After our tour, the assistant led us back to our CNN car. It was ours for the day. The driver took us to lunch, to get cupcakes, and back home again. During the car ride home, my mom got a phone call from a different producer at CNN. They wanted her again on Saturday the 13th. I was truly lucky enough to go and re-live this experience again two days later.

Strada’s interview with Costello can be viewed here:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/adventuretravel/9-11-widow-reacts-to-torture-report/vp-BBgEw86

Print Friendly, PDF & Email