CBS 5 News Reporter Juliette Goodrich on the Art of Journalism
CBS 5 News reporter Juliette Goodrich has been covering Bay Area news for over 15 years. She’s been recognized with four Emmy awards for her work and recently secured an exclusive interview with One Goh (the accused shooter in the Oikos University tragedy).
A Dublin resident for 12 years (now living in her home town of Pleasanton), Ms. Goodrich is an active volunteer, supporting events including the annual Dublin Partners in Education Art Auction and Special Olympics events, and a mother of three. The Foothill High School and UC Davis graduate is also a published author of three children’s books (with proceeds going to charities).
OneDublin.org recently spoke with Ms. Goodrich about her career in journalism and how she approaches crafting a story.
OneDublin.org: What sparked your interest in journalism?
Juliette Goodrich: “While I was attending Foothill High School my mom won a luncheon auction item to tour Channel 5, so the idea was always in the back of my mind. When I went to UC Davis as a Rhetoric and Communications Major, I interned at television stations up there, and after I graduated from college I interned at Channel 30 in Pleasanton. I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to get into broadcast journalism.”
OneDublin.org: What role has a college education played in your success as a journalist?
Goodrich: “In the field of broadcast journalism it’s trial by fire, being out there every day with a new story, a new topic, a new challenge. College was a life experience – leaving home, getting a general education and most valuable for me, internship opportunities.
“I interned at KCRA in Sacramento which allowed me to walk in the shoes of people in broadcast journalism, watching them day in and day out, and learning if this was a job I wanted to do. While I was interning I’d drive from Davis to Sacramento at 4am because I was on the morning shift of the assignment desk – I got a feel of what news was like. I ended up earning a Kelly Broadcasting Scholarship from KCRA which encouraged me to stay in the business.”
OneDublin.org: What role did community television play?
Goodrich: “It played a really big role. I didn’t know how to shoot or edit coming out of college. When I went back to TV 30 I was the Pleasanton reporter and learned my technical skills there.”
OneDublin.org: How do you approach crafting a story? For example, how did you land your recent exclusive interview with One Goh (the accused in the Oikos University shootings)?
Goodrich: “That was old school journalism, because to secure that exclusive I had to go through the jail system and find out when I could get clearance, go through security, and talk to his lawyer without being sure he was going to show up for the interview. I let my station know the interview may or may not happen. My kids were on spring break and I wasn’t even supposed to be working that week. I just gave it a shot, showed up and he was there for the jailhouse interview in the only time slot when someone could interview him. It was even prior to him even showing up for his court date to enter a plea.
“By that time, the story that had advanced to a point where everyone assumed he wasn’t remorseful. In my experience as a journalist you can show up to the interview and start nailing him from the other side of the glass and say ‘Why did you do what you did?’ and ‘You could face the death penalty.’, or realize that this is another person on the other side of the glass that’s willing to talk and say ‘I just want to hear your side of the story.’
“There are certain reporters that may have approached it differently, but instead I asked Goh ‘People think you aren’t remorseful, are you?’ and that’s when he broke down crying and said he was, and that what could he say to make things better after this horrific act?
“It was one of those moments in TV when I’d gone through all the appropriate channels to get that interview.”
OneDublin.org: How is self-publishing via blogs, websites and YouTube affecting journalism?
Goodrich: “What is the pure art or the old art or the new art of journalism? It’s changing with the times. I’ve had stories where the Internet is a great help – using video from YouTube. I did a story on a deer attack and was able to use video from YouTube of a deer attacking. If you use Internet resources intelligently and check your sources, the Internet can be a valuable tool to advance the story. On the other hand, you can Google ‘headache’ and find websites that say you have cancer, so you have to be very careful with the sources. That’s when a journalist has to take the information and use it correctly.”
OneDublin.org: Describe what happens behind the scenes before a story ends up on the air.
Goodrich: “I always say reporting is like camping. You are camping in a van, you have a bag lunch and half the time you don’t even know where the nearest bathroom is. That’s the smoke and mirrors, making it look like you weren’t camping out in a van for eight hours trying to put together a story with your photographer, editing, researching the facts, on a deadline, stuck in a location where your safety may be at risk – and ultimately presenting something on air neatly, concisely, accurately and, by golly, your hair better look good! [laughs]“
OneDublin.org: You’ve been recognized with four Emmy awards – do you have a favorite story that you’ve covered over the years?
Goodrich: There have been a couple of things. One time I was live on the air and was told to take a phone call. It happened to be someone who was protesting on the Golden Gate Bridge. He was 200 feet up on a cable, on a cell phone, scaling the bridge and unfurling a banner that said ‘Free Tibet’. I was live on the air talking to the protester who was risking his life, while our helicopter shot video, and it was one of those TV moments where everything worked. That earned an Emmy.
“My first year that I was at the station they flew me to track down a murder suspect who had fled to France. I was the only reporter to get an exclusive. And just recently the One Goh interview where it shows that if you put your effort into something, if you dig, it sometimes pays off.”
OneDublin.org: What advice do you have for high school students who are interested in journalism?
Goodrich: “Go to college and learn a little bit about everything. Get an internship. These days you have to learn the technical side. Times have changed: you don’t have the sound guy, the photographer, the lighting. Sometimes a reporter is shooting, writing, editing his or her own stories then putting them on the air. Hone in on your writing skills.
“Out in the field the integrity of the reporter, the ability to interact and empathize with people and how you approach telling the story are important. You won’t gain the respect of the audience if you can’t show compassion.”
OneDublin.org: Finally, what inspired you to become an author of children’s books?
Goodrich: “I’ve written ‘The Little Light Shines Bright‘, ‘The Train of Lights‘ and ‘I am Special Because I Smile‘. The first book was inspired when I went to emcee the 100th birthday celebration of the long-burning light bulb in Livermore. I said to the fire captain ‘You guys need a book’ and he responded ‘Why don’t you write it?’ A couple of years later when my son was born and I was on maternity leave I wrote the book. The light is now 111 years old and still burning. ‘The Train of Lights’ is about the Sunol Train and ‘I am Special Because I Smile’ is about the Special Olympics.
“Writing a book is a labor of love – you aren’t going to get rich. You do it because you want to write. All of my proceeds have gone to charity, to schools.”