12 Things I Learned While Covering Nik Wallenda’s Walk Over Niagara Falls

June 17th, 2012 at 7:52 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook



12. As this country struggles to interest young people in science and engineering -- what better lesson could there be than watching the planning and execution of this one-time event? Use it as a case study in schools. Engineers and scientists had to get their calculations right on digging, rigging, stringing, weighting, and balancing this wire -- with no chance to 'do it over.' Science and engineering (and practice and courage!) made Wallenda the "King of the High Wire."


11. Border communities CAN work together for common good. Just as Wallenda's cable across the gorge united the two cities for a brief period of time, there is a way to stand united in attracting business and tourism on an ongoing basis.    Photo: Jim Diavastes


10. 120-thousand people CAN share the same space without general mayhem, mischief, violence, or trouble. It was stunning to turn away from Wallenda on the wire and see tens of thousands of people stretched all the way to the Rainbow Bridge gripped by anticipation, hopefulness and joy.    Photo: Dan Holland


9. NYS government CAN find a way to do get things done in a hurry. Somehow the politicians who normally talk things to death, got the mountain of paperwork approved and signed to get this unusual, one-time event off the ground. Literally.    Photo: Jim Diavastes


8. There IS a way to capitalize on the millions of tourists who just pass through Niagara Falls each year. I've never seen Old Falls Street teeming with life as it was Friday night -- nor have the vendors!    Photo: Scott Swenson


7. It helps to cheer on a 'daredevil' when he seems like one of us -- down to earth, approachable, a working family man with faith in a higher power.    Photo: Jim Diavastes


6. Politicians need to find a better way to match the parting gifts with the occasion. Before the Mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, presented Nik Wallenda with the key to the city at the post-walk news conference -- he gave him a clever T-shirt. But I kept thinking that Wallenda MUST be thinking --" I just crossed Niagara Falls on a high wire and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!"

5. Niagara Falls is just an incredible, breathtaking spectacle that we take for granted in WNY. We need to go there more often! Photo: Anthony Congi


4.There IS a way to staff and open up those bridges for smooth and quick passage across the border. We had equipment to pack up after the broadcast -- but by two hours after Wallenda stepped off the wire, we sailed through a nearly empty Rainbow Bridge! That's amazing that the huge crowd cleared out that quickly.


3. We need to get TV ratings books in the hands of people across the border, who, by the way, spend money in the USA. The ratings service doesn't let us include them, but I was stunned by the number of Canadians who wanted to pose for photos because they watch Ch.4 all the time.    Photo: Jim Diavastes


2. Nik Wallenda was right....completing this stunt will change his life forever. As one small example, this is the line for a 'meet and greet' at Fashion Outlets on Sunday morning after the Friday night triumph. How many people would have been in this line before the stunt? Big risk = big reward. From now on, he can name his price.    Photo: Josh Roy


1. It's pretty darned cool to say: "I was there. I watched one of the greatest stunts of our time, at one of the natural wonders of the world." Congratulations, Nik Wallenda!    Photo: Jim Diavastes

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