I never thought I’d be on national TV, but for one brief weekend in July, it seemed our little ladybug story was everywhere!
Jonathan had been wanting a digital SLR camera for quite a while, and at the end of June, he finally decided on a model and purchased it. The day that it arrived, he immediately went hiking up to the top of our mountain to try it out – he wanted to see how well it would do with some landscape shots of the views from up there. Well, when he got there, he started seeing more and more ladybugs. So he took some pictures of them, too. When I got home from work and saw the pictures, I immediately said, “You should send those in to 9 News – I bet they’d show them at the end of their newscast one evening.” He didn’t think they were that special, but when he was at work the next day and emailed them to a couple of coworkers, they immediately went viral in his office. His coworkers agreed that he should send them to 9 News, so finally he did – and got an email back that very same day from a director of photography at 9 News saying that he’d like to come out the next day and shoot some video!
That evening, Jonathan and I went driving around the neighborhood to see who actually owned the property, and to get permission to lug a camera from a closer location to the top of the mountain (from our house, it’s a pretty long hike). We found the house and knocked on the door at close to 9pm that evening, and ended up having a very pleasant conversation with the man who lives there. The three of us talked for almost an hour about everything from astronomy and quantum mechanics to ladybugs and Golden Retrievers! He agreed to allow us to do the video as long as he was home, which wouldn’t be until Friday, and as long as the location was not disclosed, since he was very wary of attracting trespassers.
The next Friday, Jonathan and I were planning to leave for Crested Butte for the Wildflower Festival, which was why Jonathan had purchased the camera when he did – he was scheduled to attend some photography classes there on Saturday. We figured we could spend a few hours around noon with the camera crew and still have enough time to drive to Crested Butte and set up camp that evening. We met up with Eric Kehe and Chris Vanderveen around 11am and shot some video at the property owner’s house, then Jonathan guided all of us up to the top where the absolutely amazing tree was.
Afterwards, Jonathan and I pretty much high-tailed it up to Crested Butte. We didn’t even know for certain when the story would air. Eric said it would probably be on that night’s 10:00pm broadcast, barring any catastrophe edging it out. The first clue we had was when Jonathan attended his photography class on Saturday morning, and two women in the class were discussing the news that they’d watched Friday night. He asked if there had been a ladybug story, and they said yes, and then looked at him a bit closer and said, “You kind of look like him!” That afternoon, we went to the public library in Crested Butte and we were able to watch the video online. Pretty cool!
Sunday, when we got home, there was a message on our home phone from the property owner: “By the way, CNN has picked up the story.” We stared at each other. Seriously? We’d actually joked with Eric and Chris about it being picked up nationally, but didn’t really think anything of it. We started Googling… it was everywhere! Reuters had picked it up, it was on local news in Australia, Cyprus… It was on the NBC Today Show site, it was on CNN, it was even on NPR! We were hearing from all sorts of friends – it was on the front page of their Yahoo homepage. My mother was hearing from some of her friends in other states – “We saw your daughter on TV! And oh, my, her husband is handsome!” (I totally agree!) It was a featured video on MSN.com, with over 170,000 views. A couple of people posted the video on YouTube, with a combined total of over 150,000 views. We had over a quarter of a million views, just with the ones we were able to track. We were a bit stunned!
9 News got so much feedback on the story that on Monday night, they actually had to air a follow up story. Here is the original story, and the follow up story: