Watching Cement Dry

The business desk drives me crazy because it is staffed by young girls who think it is their job to retype press releases sent in by local companies and present them as news. They have trouble seeing these releases as the starting point for the development of a real story.

When we got a press release about the huge increase in the amount of imported cement, we hit the road to interview the state trading officials. We learned that cement imports are up 126 percent because of the building boom in Male and because of all the tsunami relief and development projects for roads, hospitals, harbors and resorts on the islands. Maldives depends on India to set a quota for the supplies.
Unfortunately, we spent all afternoon riding around in a news van looking at stacks of cement bags. I had to point out that the cement bags pretty much looked the same everywhere and we needed action shots of construction workers mixing cement, etc. It was almost dark by the time we shot the standups. Not only did the piece miss its slot, it had to be put off until the next day. But I hope everyone involved was able to learn how to develop a press release into a story and will meet their deadline next time.