Profile Assignment (#4)


The Fascinating Story of Al Joens

Al Joens Morning Anchor at KTIV.  Joens has been at KTIV for 25 years.  He has an interesting story over the years.

Starting In The Business

Joens first hook in journalism was writing for a high school newspaper.  He thought it would be an interesting job being a news reporter since he read the Des Moines Register regularly. His plan in college was to go into newspaper reporting.  He worked a semester at the college paper at Buena Vista University. He found out that he was not as interested as before. Instead Joens got involved with the college radio station since he had done a weekly radio report in Harlin. The Harlin radio station invited Joens to be a DJ for an evening while in high school.  Afterwards TV production came into play. Joens did a month long internship at a tv station in Omaha.  He mostly followed newsreporters around.  This is where he decided to go into television reporting.

“It kinda transformed from an interest in newspaper to broadcasting over the course of my college years,” said Al Joens.

Spring of senior year at college, a friend of his was going to a career fair at Briar Cliff University and Joens decided to go too.  Joens met the news director of Channel 9 and also the news director of Channel 4.  When it came near graduation, Joens decided to create a tape of the work he did in college; even though he did not do a lot of video production.  However, he did do about 3 TV news reports that he had on tape that he could show.

The news director at Channel 9 invited him to come over to show him a tape of what he had done.  When he came to Sioux City to show the news director at Channel 9, Joens thought he might at well call the news director at Channel 4 as well.

Within a few days of graduating, Joens got a call from Channel 4 since Channel 4 was looking for a weekend reporter.  The news director remembered Joens since he stopped by and showed the news director his tape and remembered that Joens could put something together.  So Joens did an interview with the news director and got hired there too as part-time.  This was all within 2 weeks from graduation.

In about 10 months, Joens became full-time and moved to Sioux City in June of 1985.  He started small then started expanding to being a weekend anchor, then to mornings and noons, then to evenings, and then back to mornings.

Technology Improvements

When Joens first started in 1985, KTIV had typewriters.  Two of them were electric and the rest were the regular style ones.  Those typewriters typed in large letters and this was the scripts for all since it was typed on 7 ply paper, meaning that the paper could peal apart into 7 pieces. Those pieces would go to the anchor, producer, audio person, director, and also the teleprompter.

Another tech improvement was the Associated Press (AP) copies.  It used to come over a print that had large paper rolls and it would print news from Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, while also national news, sports, weather.  When it would come over the printer, someone would have to tear it off and put it on a nail on a board.

In 1991, KTIV got its first computers which was a big transformation from the typewriters to the computers.
For the video technology, Joens said when started in 1985, 3 1/4 in. video tape was being used.  Later they went to Super VHS which was regular size VHS but in higher quality.  Neither Joens or I know the difference between Super VHS and regular VHS.  After that DVC-Pro was used and still somewhat is used, but now KTIV has started using P2 Cards.  Editing was in linear editing form which was tape to tape, but since 2004 it is all on the computer and uses nonlinear editing.

Memorable Events

Joens’ most memorable event was the crash of Flight 232 in Sioux City in July of 1989.  He had not seen so many satellite trucks in one place.  He mentions that there was about 40 news reporters from all around the world.  “Now this was back in the days before even there was as much 24 hour news presence there is today. If something like that happened today, you’d probably see more,” says Joens.  He also mentions that this story made it to the front page of the London Times.  The part that probably made it such a good story was that part of being so many survivors. There was so much media coverage months after the crash.  Joens mentions, “It was big here in Sioux City for several days. It happened on a Wednesday, I remember, since next week was RAGBRAI. I was gone the next week, but I followed it on a little portable tv that I brought on RAGBRAI.  When I got back to Sioux City, most of the media were gone.”

A lot can happen ofver years,  it has been interesting to learn about how one of the faces of the media came to where he is today, and to see how technology has changed since he has been at KTIV NewsChannel 4.

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