How News 4 is preparing for the solar eclipse - WSMV News 4

How News 4 is preparing for the solar eclipse

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Travelers have been busy booking hotels. Locals have planned viewing parties. Sun-watcher have searched for eye-protecting glasses.

The total solar eclipse is less than 10 days away.

Here at News 4, we’ve been busy too.

While everyone is looking at the sun, we’ll be looking at you as you take in this once-in-a-lifetime event.

So how do you suitably cover this solar Super Bowl when you realize it may be the only story we ever report on in this area that touches the entire planet?

“It is absolutely a giant event. It is something that is 500 years in the making, so you can’t say you didn’t have time to plan for it,” said news director Denise Eck.

Eck knows you only get one shot covering this total eclipse of the sun. Mother Nature will work quickly that day, so news crews better be ready.

For five months, News 4 has been preparing for this moment behind the scenes.

Special events require special coverage, so a space age event warrants space age technology. That’s the job of the graphics team. For weeks, they’ve been tinkering with concepts designed to present a non-traditional newscast. An extra digital screen gives flexibility to that idea.

But we know you don’t judge a book by its cover. What ultimately matter is how we handle the sun.

“The money shot they want to see is the eclipse, and our goal is to show it from all of these places locally,” Eck said.

That means news crews spread out along the solar path from western Kentucky through Middle Tennessee.

As it moves at 1,600 mph from one town to the next, we need to be in place for hello and goodbye eclipse coverage.

Seeing the sun required special lens covers. They arrived a month ago. Now, at least on TV, we can stare up there.

For the moon, earth and sun, this is a no-pressure natural event. Not so much for us.

“You don’t want to screw up those two minutes. You’ve got a lot of explaining to do if you can’t get those two minutes right,” Eck said.

Our News 4 teams will be live in eight different locations on Aug. 21. News 4’s special eclipse broadcast will begin at noon that day and we’ll continue coverage until 4 p.m.

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