The past month I’ve been working on a story about why parents keeping forgetting their children in hot cars. It’s a preventable tragedy that happens far too often, and Texas leads nation in such cases. You can read the full investigation here.

The plan was to publish this story on a Friday. I got a call from my producer on the Wednesday before that WE HAVE TO PUBLISH THE STORY STAT! Oh, God, what?

A mother in Houston left her 4-year-old daughter in the back of her car with only the window cracked while she ran inside Walmart and was charged with child endangerment by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Rather than being two days late with our investigation, we agreed it was best to publish that day while the news was still fresh.

Then the producers dropped a bombshell on me as I drove into work: You’re going to be on live TV.

Wait, what? I’m a print/digital reporter––I don’t do TV.

I admit I was nervous, but everyone was super supportive and told me to think of it like you’re just talking to a camera (great advice, by the way!) and to the anchor, Rekha Muddaraj, whom I’ve worked with the past two years.

Even so, that didn’t prevent my awkwardness: What the hell do I do with my hands?! And OH GOD WHY DO I KEEP BOBBING MY HEAD LIKE A CHICKEN?!?! And OH GOD HOW DO I SMILE?!?!?!?!

chicken head bob

Ugh! So embarrassing.