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Twitter Exchange Highlights Dedication Of KSL Staff During Winter Storm

(Image courtesy KSL reporter Alex Cabrero's Twitter page.)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A series of Twitter exchanges between reporters, staff and managers during a fast-moving snow storm illustrated the dedicated hard work behind the scenes of KSL’s team of professional, fun-loving journalists.

The storm came through the Beehive quickly and moved out just as fast, causing quite the mess on the roads during the Friday morning commute.

Meteorologist Grant Weyman said the storm brought several inches of snow to valley floors. The Sugar House area recorded five inches and South Salt Lake reported three inches, while the mountain areas recorded even more. Heber had seven inches of snow.

Not every area was hit as hard, with Farmington recording just one inch.

The entire news team worked tirelessly to provide the public the most accurate, up-to-date information about hard-hit areas they could.

It was definitely a good day to stay indoors and delay your morning commute. There were several crashes and vehicles spinning out. Officials from the Utah Highway Patrol said they responded to 75 crashes statewide.

The canyons and upper elevations were the biggest trouble spots, with commercial traffic being restricted in Little Cottonwood Canyon after two semis got stuck.

Several law enforcement agencies advised drivers to stay off the roads. The Roy City Police Department told drivers, in a tweet, that if they need to take a sick day to stay inside, that may be better than taking their chances on slick, snow-covered roads.

“Roads are slick, call in sick,” they tweeted.

Reporter Alex Cabrero was out on the streets in the KSL Mobile 5 broadcast vehicle with photojournalist Sean Moody during the storm. They were reporting on road conditions across the Wasatch Front live during the morning newscasts when Cabrero saw the tweet.

Cabrero responded to the Roy police post, joking to KSL vice president and general manager Tanya Vea that he should have called in sick, as well.

“Hey, if police say to do something, I’m going to comply,” he said. “My @KSL5TV managers expect me to be a good citizen.”

Vea replied her appreciation of Cabrero and the rest of the KSL team for their traffic and weather coverage, but said Cabrero should continue to provide updates on road conditions. KSL owes it to the community to provide information that helps keep them safe.

“Everyone should stay home and watch @KSL5TV (except those ON @KSL5TV).” she tweeted. “Sorry (Alex).”

Photojournalist Steven Breinholt noticed that, in Vea’s tweet, she said those “on” KSL rather than those working “at” should still report to work, and tweeted back to asked for some clarification.

“When you say ON (TV) is that just (on-air) talent?” he joked. “Because I can stay home (and) watch.”

Vea responded, saying the broadcast needs dedicated people, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, to keep the public informed.

“Reporters are only as good as the photographers, producers, editors, directors, (and) assignment desk,” she tweeted. “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Assignment desk manager Cody Neilson then suggested Cabrero should bring breakfast back for some of the KSL team still at the station, since he was out anyway.

“If you have to work you can at lease bring us all breakfast,” he tweeted.

Cabrero, who normally reports during the early evening and 10 p.m. newscasts, was up early to cover Friday’s storms. He joked with reporter Felicia Martinez about the early hours required to be on the news from 5 to 6 a.m.

Morning producers, reporters and anchors often get to the station or on assignment anytime from 11 p.m. the day before to 3 or 4 a.m. Not every reporter is used to working those hours.

Martinez has been reporting during the morning newscast since she first came to KSL.

“I have no idea how you do morning shifts every day,” Cabrero tweeted with a picture pretending to be asleep while Moody drove. “(Sean Moody) keeps telling me stories I won’t remember.

“If you do it long enough, it just becomes embedded in you,” she responded.

Cabrero also joked about his need for nourishment in the form of breakfast at the Golden Arches to stay energized during the morning shift. After the news broadcast, he tweeted a photo of a Wasatch Front McDonald’s location with snow covering the pavement, and cars in the parking lot.

“One of these is true,” he tweeted. “1. It’s snowing in Salt Lake City. 2. I stayed on my diet working the morning shift.”

Fortunately, there were no reports of major injuries during the snowstorm. Sometime between 9 and 10 a.m., the snow stopped falling and the sun came out within a couple hours.

Officials from the Utah Department of Transportation reminded drivers that heavier-than-normal traffic was expected Friday evening because of the three-day holiday weekend and an increase of people headed to Southern Utah.

Those drivers might experience some delays in Utah County on southbound Interstate 15 around the Point of the Mountain and Lehi.

For the hard-working KSL team, breakfast was provided to thank them for their efforts during the storm, and pizza was brought in for lunch.

After all the driving around and early-morning hours, Cabrero and Moody were still able to find a unique story angle from the storm for the noon newscast.

While many residents stayed home or delayed their commute to avoid the winter weather, they found two sisters from Florida – Darby Tudor and Ashley Leon – who were quite excited about all the snow.

Friday was their first day in Utah, and their first time in the snow. The KSL team found the women outside at Liberty Park, playing in the snow.

“This must be what it feels like to have a true Christmas – like, a ‘white’ Christmas,” said Leon.

As many people who come to Utah soon learn, if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes. Just a couple hours after the rough commute, the sun was once again shining in the Beehive State.