When News Breaks, It Changes Everything

It's the second month of more wacky fun "In the Greenroom" at FOX & Friends!

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Thursday, August 2

It's not often that my cell phone rings at 4:15 a.m., but this morning it started ringing as I was getting on the elevator from my office down to the newsroom. "Didn't you get my e-mails?" asked Dave, our executive producer. "No," I confessed. I'd woken up an hour earlier and didn't have time to check my e-mail before heading into work to get ready for our 6 a.m. show. "We're starting at 5 a.m. today. Get your @#% down here."

The usual morning levity was gone in the newsroom. Our producers were all business as they handed me stacks of research on the Minneapolis bridge collapse. The most recent numbers had seven people dead, six critically wounded and at least a dozen still missing. After hearing the news last night, Dave swung into full-on producer mode and never stopped to sleep. Our associate producer Liz pulled an all-nighter too. The show we had spent hours crafting yesterday was thrown out, guests were cancelled and rundowns torn up.

Producers spent the night finding witnesses to the collapse, victim's family members, emergency first responders and transportation experts to give us first-hand accounts on the show. Lauren Green and Gretchen Carlson both grew up in Minneapolis and know that bridge well. Lauren lived just two blocks from the I-35 highway (read her blog for more details).

During breaking news the greenroom is equal parts somber and frenetic. Our guests are glued to the TV, watching raptly as all the action unfolds on the air. Normally, I try to make the guests feel at home. I offer coffee and danishes. We joke around — not this morning. I was too busy to be hospitable. I had to monitor the computer for updates on the number of casualties, plus all new developments.

Gresham, our senior producer, asked me to put together some information on other bridge collapses to put this one in context. I scanned the Internet for stories and asked our team of researchers (called, truly, The Brainroom) for their help. As I hammered out a script in the corner of the greenroom, Peter Johnson Jr., our trusted legal analyst, heard me working the phones for information and offered a valuable legal nugget: the massive West Virginia Silver Bridge collapse of 1967. The West Virginia Silver Bridge collapse killed 46 people and was the impetus for establishing the National Bridge Inventory that was used to determine, 40 years later, that the bridge in Minneapolis was "structurally deficient" and in need of rehabilitation.

I quickly added that to the script. A producer in the newsroom assured me that all our video was ready to go and Gresham said he'd just found a hole in the show where he could squeeze in my segment. I raced out to the studio as the control room told Steve and Gretchen in their ears to toss to me out of Peter's segment. Of course, they toss to me several times a morning, but somehow breaking news makes the situation feel new and my heart was pumping a little faster. If only my report had had that effect on Dave Brown, our e.p. It was around that time that Gresh and Jennifer looked over in the control room and noticed him sleeping. Then they heard him snoring — loudly. Gretchen later reported that she could even hear him snoring through her ear piece as she tried to conduct interviews. Apparently the 30-hour shift had caught up to Dave and sleep overcame him. At least he claimed it wasn't my reporting.

Click here to see my Greenroom Snapshots!

Alisyn Camerota is a host and update anchor of "FOX & Friends First." Catch her weekday mornings at 6 a.m. ET !

Alisyn Camerota, an unrepentant '80s band groupie, is co-host of "America's News HQ," airing at (weekdays 1-2PM/ET on the Fox News Channel). She joined the network in 1998 as a Boston-based correspondent. Previously, Camerota served as co-host of "FOX & Friends Weekend."