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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California


Tips to get the most out of taxes.


Well the tax gods blessed me again this morning when I found out that I would get to cover taxes for my second shift in a row. My assignment was to go out and find out how people are dealing with tax day, and find some tips to give those that were struggling. I was told to go to Van Nuys where Congressman Brad Sherman was giving a press conference on how to find out if the government owes you money. Although I found what he had to say was interesting, apparently I was the only one. I was the only media at the press conference so he was essentially just talking to me alone.

He gave me some good sound, but I got even better sound from a man by the name of JD Montgomery, who was on the street just outside the Federal Reserve office, protesting taxes in general. Montgomery informed me that he hasn't paid taxes in 40 years, and doesn't ever plan on paying taxes again. Before he would let me go, he wants to explain how voluntary taxes are. He gave me this message to share with the world, "the government wants you to believe you have to pay your taxes, but that's just not true. Taxes are a voluntary thing that people pay because they think they have to."

While filming my interview with Montgomery, I received six phone calls from ATVN. I thought the interview was important to the story, but I ended up leaving because they had a CPA they wanted to interview. It turns out that leaving was the best call there was. I met with CPA Howard Levine, who gave some great insight on tax day, and how people can be better prepared. As it turns out, he was the majority of the sound in my package.

I wrapped up my story by going to the Post Office to find people that were paying their taxes. I found someone who is self-employed but found a way to pay his taxes three weeks ago.

I decided that I need to get back to ATVN soon so that I could edit and get out to the LAX post office for my live shot. Editing went very well, and I was done with my story by 3:45. I left shortly after to go do my live shot.

The live shot rehearsal was going well until three girls started to promote their company in the background. I didn't know how to tell them to leave nicely, so the security guard for the post office did the dirty work for me. When we went live, winds were picking up, and it was almost to hard to stand. But I made it through the winds, and I thought the live shot went pretty well.

Overall, I was really happy about how my story turned out, but I hope that I am not typecasting myself as the "tax guy".

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