MSNBC, Root Café, Thank You For The Great Time

Thursday night, the MSNBC tricks set up for the weekend.

A huge thank you to MSNBC and their road crew for stopping by Lakewood and setting up in what can best be referred to as the heart and soul of Lakewood, the Root Café! Likewise, thank you to Julie and Bobby for inviting them, in what ended up to be a great PR move for the entire city of Lakewood. The first day alone there were more than 25 mentions of the City of Lakewood on air, even “City of Lakewood, a Great Place To Call Home”. The entire 3-day ordeal went off without a hitch.

No matter how any of us feel at any given time about how the city is being run, and/or being upset with the latest decisions, the easiest and fastest way to evaluate the health of a city is through home sales and home prices. In an ever-shrinking county, we lose about 4.5 people a day last I checked, and with Downtown Cleveland being the fastest growing area in the ever-shrinking county, Lakewood has not only held their own, but has done surprisingly well against many other notable communities. The average time for a competitively priced home to sell in Lakewood is 3 days, and many are selling for over the asking price in those three days. This is an amazing sign. Having the entire MSNBC crew at the Root only made that stronger. Another reason to thank MSNBC and Julie and Bobby.

I’ve spent most of my life interacting with the media one way or another. From hotdog carts, to motor sports, to BP America to the Observer, interacting with media always seems to be a part of the job. So I have seen a lot of them, and have seen a lot of media rooms and location spots. I have to tell you, this MSNBC crew was the nicest and friendliest I have ever been around, and it was the little things that totally blew me away. Example, a young boy and his mother had been standing outside waiting to get in at the opening. There was no line, but they wanted to make sure they got good seats. So they looked around and picked one. A cameraman with the crew, who said that he grew up in Mentor, placed someone in the anchor’s chair, checked the camera, walked back to the mother and said, “If we move this table left a foot, your son will be on TV all morning.” When I commented on how nice he was he said, “Hell I have kids, I get it.” I had never seen this before.

They set up a makeshift make-up area between the men’s and women’s bathrooms, and for hours people would watch pundits getting the glow knocked off their faces, and make-up being applied. In between work, the young women would look over and ask one of the kids, “You ready for make-up?” even getting them into the chair, and performing the ritual on them, as they giggled and their friends would squeal, “I’m next!” and often they were.

I am not saying most crews are pricks, far from it. But MSNBC and this crew really seemed to get it right. They enjoy people, and they enjoy interacting with fans and people, as long as it is a peaceful and friendly environment. I was there for a total of 6 hours over the two days. I must have seen Cleveland’s own Chris Jansing and Tamron Hall pose for 300 selfies. No exaggeration. As long as the person was respectful and polite, they always got one. When they are not working, they have no problem posing with kids, dogs, families, friends, staff whoever. BUT, we all need to remember they are working, it is their office, and they are trying to get through it, just like you and I when we are at work. Also, because they are celebrities and have not only opinions but good looks, they have stalkers. Here in Lakewood, they were keeping an eye out for a person of interest who was following them from state to state, yelling at anchors while they were broadcasting about being unfair to Bernie. Another person of interest tweeted, “I am going to try to get close to Tamron Hall” on Sunday. Just creepy stuff, so respect their office, and respect their space, always.

Since they are coming back, along with more media, and we have movies filming and other celebrities here all the time, maybe a short list of do’s and don’ts would be in order.

1) Celebrities don’t owe you anything, treat them as people, and equals.
2) If you ask for a selfie with them, offer them your phone to do it. First, they do it hundreds of times a day, and never get nervous. Second they love to know they are in control of their images.
2) No flash photos.
3) Always ask, if you are approaching their space, to take a photo.
4) On a news or movie set, seek out security and or the production manager, and ask what is good. They will often tell you exactly where to stand for a good photo and or to talk or get autographs.
5) NEVER interrupt them while they are eating or in a meeting.
6) Be nonchalant and open with a smile, expecting to hear “not right now.”
7) Allow them to invite you into their space, as opposed to freaking out and jumping in.
8) Remember 1, and everyone has bad days, and bad times. Enjoy the experience.
9) Media crashing just remember, you are reflecting on all of us.

Jim O'Bryan

Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 4:44 PM, 03.29.2016