The first night was pretty effortless. Cut a file video heavy package and make my way to her home for a live shot at 10 and 11.
Little did I know that my world would shift entirely after those couple hours spent on Mt. Vernon Ave. It's a big story. It's a talker. A major player in a sex scandal was living in our own back yard. Why not sign up indefinitely for it?
"If you're going to watch a soap opera, you might as well have a snack!" she said.
I even scored some pizza that was the product of a poorly planned prank on the Broadwell house while the FBI was conducting a search of their home.
(Editors note: as of publishing this blog, the picture of me holding a pizza box has been viewed 37,336 times on the website Buzzfeed.)
What I didn't expect was the unhealthy obsession I had developed with this story. After all the time I spent covering it, I had to get the money shot. The 20 seconds many photogs know too well. The one shot that makes all the time spent standing in the cold, using a styrofoam cup as your toilet, and aimless hours spent pulling cable and repositioning your lights to make the inevitable bump shot of the house look different than the previous 20, worth it.
"The Broadwells will be home in the next 45 minutes or so. They know you're all here. Just please be respectful..."
My 16 second clip of the Broadwells unloading their car and their children at their home was picked up by ABC World News, CNN Headline News, and a host of other country wide ABC affiliates that desperately wanted a glimpse at the woman who had spent the previous week in seclusion at her brother's home in Washington, DC.
Her return home provided great fodder for any and all who yield a camera to provide for their families.
Myself included. I racked up more overtime sitting outside this woman's house than I did during the Democratic National Convention that was recently held in our fair city.
To sum up the entire experience briefly, and in keeping with my mantra that people always matter more than anything else, that family needs time. Time to heal. Time to sort things out. Time to put their lives back together.
Being a B list celebutante one day, and then being thrust into the international spot light over a personal indiscretion the next, has got be jarring. I'm not downplaying what it is that she's suspected of doing, but I honestly can't imagine what I would do if the tables were turned. And that's a question I ask myself all the time. If something traumatic happened to me and my family that the news gods deemed worthy of providing airtime to, what would I do if a total stranger approached my doorstep and asked me to talk about it?
I legitimately struggled with the amount and type of coverage this story was given. But as my mentor Richard Adkins pointed out to me, most of the time if we show up at someone's house, there is a reason.
This theory is rooted in a quote from the movie "Gross Pointe Blank".
"If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there."
And she did supposedly do something. Supposedly...
The burden of proof now lies on the shoulders of folks who aren't news photographers like myself, and I thank God for that.
I did my job, and I did it well. I got the shot. I spent over 80 hours on the sidewalk outside of her home. I stood next to the spot where "Dad Loves Mom" is scrawled into the pavement by a pressure washer. I've seen her husband drop an entire bag of groceries and consequently lose a bottle of good red wine, all because his hands were shaking so much at the sight of our media scrum waiting just feet away, he couldn't hold onto them. I've seen the sincere shame in her face that is a product of being affiliated with this entire ordeal.
Some folks claim that she is remorseful and attempting to rebuild a foundation for her family and her marriage. Assuming this is true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't... I applaud her. Did she do some things she shouldn't have? Maybe. Only time will tell.
However, if you're an advocate for marriage like myself, you cannot help but want for them to work out. And I hope that once the dust settles, they will.
In the mean time, I'm sure my residency outside the Broadwell home is far from over. I'm sure that anytime something breaks in this story, we'll be out there again, live from her front porch.
Sometimes that's just the grind you ride to keep lights on. But it doesn't stop me from cheering for their marriage on the inside.