Right This Minute anchor/host Beth Troutman telephones the intrepid reporter to discuss her raison d'etre along with her first job in TV behind the scenes on The West Wing, her congressional run, Martin Sheen ,and RTM's secret world with DJ's 5 Questions.
Right This Minute is a syndicated TV program which is targeted to the young adult demographic which is currently airing in 50 urban markets in the continental USA.
While it has yet to penetrate metro New York City or Los Angeles you may bet your brassy baby boots that this shiny little puppy is coming to town and when it does the other big dogs better mind their P&Q's because RTM's bite may be hazardous to their health.
In a recent review The Hollywood Reporter'sAlex Ben Block revealed that ;
"Most impressive is the performance of Right This Minute in San Francisco...frequently pulling a larger audience than better known shows scattered through the day as Ellen , Entertainment Tonight, and Access Hollywood"Judge Judy may wish to pack her travel bags now to spend more time vacationing with chum Barbara Walters because RTM along with it's Internet incarnation RightThisMinute.com is serving up two half hour strips which feature the latest vids before they enter the viral universe, along with pop culture phenomenon, and serious news items before they are broken by both their broadcast counterparts on the big four networks and the 24 hour cable news outlets ...every day.
Oh hi Ellen Degeneres! Hey there 's your pal Taylor Swift, yeah, right that puppy sure is cute! Sure why not let her jump up on your lap, you can pet her but I should warn you her coat is shiny but her jaws are strong as a Florida gator's and her teeth as sharp as a moray eel.
Hey, watch out! She just bit your entire right arm off and she's tearing Taylor Swift' s throat apart and ripping it to pieces! Now America's sweetheart can't sing anymore!
oh Quelle Dommage! Sacre Bleu!
The horror...the horror....The horror...
Oops, you caught me eastwooding again, oh my my Boutros Boutros Golly us old folks to tend to do that...but I shall digress.
RTM has four other main host commentators along with Ms. Troutman who produce segments along with providing color commentary to each vid feature they are:
Christian Vera who has worked at Los Angeles super station KTLA, E News Now and Nuvo TV.
Gayle Bass , who possesses a masters degree in Journalism and was a Phoenix radio reporter who covered the net exclusively for KATR radio and KTVKNick Calderone documentary filmmaker, multimedia journalist and photographer who has worked both behind and in front of the broad and net cast cameras at Pennsylvania NBC and Fox stations in that good city of brotherly love.
Finally last but by no means the least Steven Fabian a New York City native . he was a vital contributor to Channel One News who as an editor, reporter, producer and anchor created content for 8000 schools and over 6 million teens across the USA.
RTM is produced by former TMZ veteran producer Lisa Hudson and Emmy and Peabody award winning producer Dennis O'Neil for Magicdust Television along with it's syndication partners Cox Media Group, Raycom Media, and E. W. Scripps
And finally we come to Beth Troutman who channels a girl next door vibe with a combination of empathy, concern and intelligence that is about to launch her into the honored pantheon and 21st century zeitgeist of vivacious cosmic uberwomen who inhabit the vidscreens of America such as Katie Couric, Kelly Ripa,, Elizabeth Hasselbeck(!), and the gorgeous better half of CBS president Leslie Moonve's new young family chenbot Julie Chen.
Ms Troutman called DJ from the RTM newsroom office which is located in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
DJ: RTM serves up an hour of new television every day which from a production standpoint is a herculean task, could you tell us a bit about the production process?
BT: The process involved is fascinating, and we have a huge team that put the show together every day.
RTM has a huge team of web producers who get up very early in the morning and scour the web well before the on air staff get to the studio.
This team have targeted websites from which they secure the program's content. They don't even tell us where they find these videos before they go viral! They have an uncanny instinct which videos will go viral and 9 times out of ten they are right. We specialize in breaking videos before they enter regular social media platforms. Before the actual daily production begin many of the team have been in the newsroom for 5 or 6 hours securing content. When my co-hosts come in we add to the content as well from some of our favorite sites.
Following that we have a production meeting where our executive producer and other producers decide what that days shows line - up will be. Then my co hosts and myself do research for the stories that we will present.
RTM is unscripted and that element may be what keeps the program fresh and exciting to watch. When we present the videos to the viewer that is the first time we have seen them, and the result is that our actions are genuine, which we expect are similar to the viewers in their home or at the office or anywhere people get together to watch video.We have no idea what is coming up and each co host has no idea of what the other co host will be presenting.
We also do not have any advance information on the presentation or talking points.
My secret is that I keep a piece of paper attached to my computer containing facts associated with the video like geographical location or the names of the people involved. RTM has no writers on the show!
DJ:RTM often investigates new trending fads and internet sensations that may have tragic results. Specifically I'm referring to the recent segment you ran concerning "The Cinnamon Challenge" where the program proved with tested scientific evidence that the human body cannot digest the spice thereby making it a moot point to try this dangerous social game.
BT one of RTM's mission statements is to bring the online world to television.
There is so much information available and we are trying to show our audience the news that they are craving to see. Upon cursory investigation we discovered that the cinnamon challenge has been circulating online for over a year. If you go to websites like YouTube you can literally watch thousands of videos of people doing this. When we observe a phenomenon like that
then we take it upon ourselves to investigate and report our findings to the viewers. The cinnamon challenge can cause serious lung damage. We also investigated the"dragon phenomenon" associated with it. We now are living in a culture where in the last five years people are actually trying to create stunts to achieve notoriety. We know that if we do not show the incidents and report about why they are dangerous then it will probably go viral without the information attached. At RTM we feel it is our responsibility to inform the viewers of the risks and dangers associated with some of these stunts.
DJ: Some of RTM's viewers may be surprised to know that your first job in network television was on Aaron Sorkin's hit program The West Wing, could you tell our readers what that experience was like?
BT: Working on The West Wing was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
That was my first job out of college. i was a woman's studies and political science major in North Carolina. My focus was on images of women in the mass media and how those images effect self esteem and how women think of themselves as people. At 22 I was incredibly idealistic and today I still am...to a degree.
I thought that I could change Hollywood where all these images are created. I thought i could go out there and have a huge impact.
When I graduated The West Wing was finishing up its first season. As a political science major I was fascinated by the show, and at that time I was interning for the Speaker Of The House in North Carolina. I was most impressed by the writing which was intriguing, cerebral, and specifically how it challenged preconceptions of the female persona as represented by the performances by skilled actresses like Alison Janney and Stockard Channing.
They portrayed smart women who had ideas while still being passionate and I was moved by that.
When I graduated I told my parents that I was going to move to LA. So I packed up my bags and stuffed them in an old U-haul and drove out there. I did not have a place to live or stay.
It did not occur to me to apply for a job at The West Wing before I left, I just assumed that I would get a job on the series.When I arrived I lived in a hotel for a few weeks and bought a fax machine, I cold called them and sent my resume to the show by fax. As it happened the show was looking for a PA. When I sent my fax the people who were hiring were standing by the machine at exactly the time my fax came through and after an interview, a few days after that I started as a PA.
In my first year I walked into the office of our prepping director as he was readying a script for episode 3 of that season. In the course of my work I had read the script which I thought was particularly well written so I told him,
"You know what? There are millions of people in North Carolina who need to see this episode-and particularly this scene - So do a good job!"
Of course no one had told me that as a lowly PA that I had no right to go into the prepping director's office and tell him anything!
At the end of the season that prepping director ended up being a producer.
So I cold called him and told him that I wanted to learn more about producing.
He was coming on line as a director and later an executive producer, he asked me for my resume and remembered my remark, the result was that I was hired.
That producer did a story arc of 8 or 9 episodes and I was able to absorb more information and techniques from a producer's standpoint as well as observe the writer's room. We went from blocking scenes to actually shooting all the scenes on set or location along with being involved in the editing process. As my boss moved up the ladder so did I.
By the way all the people who worked on that show still keep in touch. The entire experience was like a dream!
DJ: You ran a very impressive campaign for Congresswoman in your home state of North Carolina which you also came very close to winning, it is significant that one of your most generous donors was the political activist and acclaimed actor Martin Sheen what impressions did this experience afford you and what did you take away from that experience?
BT: In my job at The West Wing I became politically inspired and energised after working alongside our political consultants Dee Dee Myers and Gene B. Sperling.
In the moment I felt that many people needed my help, particularly in my home state of North Carolina. So once again I packed up the old U-haul and drove home. I ran against a three time incumbent who was one of the wealthiest members of congress at the time.I was one of the first women to run in my district and also one of the youngest federal candidates in the nation when I ran. I was 27 at the time. I had a kind of "Mr Smith goes to Washington" view, but I believe wholeheartedly that if you are a positive person with a good heart you could prevail in politics.
Those rose colored glasses were ripped off of my face pretty quickly in the campaign process.
One of the things that I was frustrated with as a candidate was campaign financing. At 27 after living in LA I had no money and ran the campaign based on the generous donations of kind supporters including the entire cast and crew of The West Wing
They were incredibly supportive, especially Martin Sheen who took three days out of his incredibly busy schedule to come to North Carolina and stumped the 8 th district with me.
I was very impressed that he thought that my cause was important enough help me with my campaign!
As a political activist and concerned citizen he puts his money where his mouth is. He is a very kind man and a true philanthropist.
On voting day over 100,000 people marked my name on their ballot. The entire experience was very humbling.
People do need to hold on to hope. With that campaign I saw the best in our society but I also saw the worst in our political system. The experience made me realize that we do sorely need real political reform in our country.
DJ:Do you have any advice for others who may be interested in pursuing a career in broad or net casting?
BT: There are two precepts that I live with on a day to day basis and I find that they work for any dream you may have.
The game of life is won or lost in your mind. It really is all about your personal perspective, the belief in your abilities and your personal willingness to work hard.
The other principle is to never have a Plan B, because you will end up using it. I have always faced every life challenge by focusing on the challenge at hand.
Plan B is always an escape route.
If you want to accomplish something never have an escape route.