Posted on April 28, 2020
By Caitlan Butler
El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce Marketing and Finance Coordinator Kaityln Rigdon (who is also a former News-Times reporter) recently decided to try to brighten Union County residents’ days with Some Good News: Union County edition, a short ‘newscast’ modeled after actor John Krasinski’s videos with the same name.
The first edition of SGN:UC premiered April 24 on the Chamber’s Facebook and YouTube accounts. Rigdon said the video has reached over 4,000 people and has over 2,500 views.
“I think the reaction from the community has been so great,” she said in an email correspondence. “Everyone has been very supportive and positive. I was blown away by how many people the video actually reached.”
Krasinski, star of “The Office” and movies like “A Quiet Place” and “Jack Ryan,” began his SGN newscasts about a month ago. The first edition included interviews with “The Office” co-star Steve Carell and Coco, a 15 year-old cancer survivor whose friends threw her a socially-distanced celebration when she returned home from her final chemotherapy treatment.
Krasinski has gone on to feature good news from all over the world, highlighting the work of essential service providers like health care professionals and service workers and featuring other celebrity guests like the cast of Broadway’s “Hamilton” and NASA astronauts residing on the International Space Station, among others.
“When I saw his first episode of SGN on Facebook, I was completely blown away. I thought, ‘what a simple but brilliant idea to make a video just talking about all the good news going on during this time of worry and uncertainty,’” Rigdon said. “I was working on a positive letter to send out when I realized it was basically the same thing as SGN and thought, ‘why can’t I do what John Krasinski is doing but on a local level?’ And that is when I realized it could be a good way to spread positivity for our own community.”
Rigdon and the rest of the Chamber staff (Bill Luther, president and CEO; Jaron Books, membership and events coordinator; and Brandon Barnette, economic development project manager) have been working from home since March 18; she said when she pitched the SGN video idea to them, they were enthusiastic and encouraged her to make one for Union County.
“We knew we needed to do something positive and all agreed this would be a great way to spread some of the good things going on right now in our own community,” Rigdon said.
Drawing from stories that appeared in the News-Times, as well as posts on the COVID-19 Support for Union County and Surrounding Areas Facebook page, Rigdon set to work writing the script for the newscast.
Script and iPhone in hand, Rigdon proceeded to film the newscast over a period of several days. Rigdon holds a degree in Mass Media from Henderson State University, so news-writing came naturally. Broadcast journalism was included in her studies, and while she ultimately opted to focus on print journalism, she said she took a lot of classes on the broadcast side and enjoyed editing videos.
To make SGN:UC, Ridgdon watched a couple of tutorials and used the iMovie app on her phone. Since she filmed the video over a period of several days, she had to re-do her hair and makeup each time she returned to film to ensure continuity in the video (“just a little fun fact,” she said).
“I made a list of all the local good news stories I could find and wrote a script based off those. I spent about a day getting the information and script together and started filming it on April 21,” Rigdon said. “I wanted to keep the video under 10 minutes, so unfortunately I couldn’t fit every story in the video. There is so much good going on in our community right now, it was hard to narrow it down to just the stories in the video.”
Rigdon managed to fit a lot of good news into a video that is about 12 minutes long. She included news about donations to the El Dorado Fire Department and meal provision and teacher parades from county school districts and referenced several stories highlighting local businesses that appeared in the News-Times last week.
She also included a Zoom interview with Karen Hicks, director of The CALL of Union County, who shared good news of her own. Hicks said she visited the organization’s CALL Mall, where supplies for local foster families are stored, to find that she was almost out of one size of diapers. After putting out a call for donations, she found diapers outside the CALL Mall throughout the rest of the week.
She also announced a socially-distanced parade organized by members of CampFire El Dorado that will be held on May 7 to fundraise and collect supply donations for The CALL.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Union County is not going to let anybody go without,” Hicks said in the video. “Every day, we’re seeing how the community is taking care of each other.”
Rigdon said she would like to make more videos if the community wants to see them. She said Union County residents should reach out to her with good news from their own lives.
“I would just like to say thank you to the community for giving me a lot of amazing content to make this video. I wish I would have had room in the video for all of the great things going on in our community,” Rigdon said. “I would just like to encourage everyone to keep up the great work, stay positive, and if you have a good news story you would like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Rigdon can be reached at her email address or at 870-863-6113, extension 1. All calls will be forwarded to her at home.