Who is the man behind the camera at DeWine’s coronavirus press briefings?

Credit: Contributed/DeWine office

Credit: Contributed/DeWine office

When Gov. Mike DeWine steps to the podium for his regular coronavirus briefings to Ohio and the news media, Eric Porter is the videographer and tech guru who makes it all happen.

Porter’s behind-the-scenes work helps bring the latest coronavirus news to thousands of Ohioans who are impacted by the global pandemic and the related economic downturn.

“He is an unsung hero and deserves some recognition for all the hard work he has done,” said Lisa Peterson, DeWine’s communications director. “He’d never consider himself a hero compared to the front line health care workers, but he does help us tell our story.”

Throughout the month of December, the Dayton Daily News is telling the stories of people who have persevered and inspired others during this challenging year.

Porter has been handling the coronavirus camera and tech work since the pandemic began in March. Last spring, the briefings were carried live on broadcast channels as well as webcast on the Ohio Channel and other sites. Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans tuned in daily to get the latest from DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton. Memes of “Snackin’ with Acton” and “Wine with DeWine” popped up and little girls dressed up like Acton.

Porter, 33, began his career more than a decade ago as an intern for the Ohio Channel and joined DeWine’s communications team when DeWine was attorney general.

Porter is in charge of producing the regular press briefings, facilitating the hook ups for DeWine’s interviews with national, state and local news outlets, shooting and editing public service announcements and more.

“He just makes so many things happen. It’s amazing,” Peterson said.

Porter said: “My job is when he walks up to the podium, he doesn’t have to worry about anything but delivering his message.” Porter added that it makes him proud to know that he is helping make sure Ohioans get the information that could save lives.

The setting for DeWine’s press conferences shifted over time to allow for social distancing. Currently, it’s done at DeWine’s farm in Cedarville with guests joining by zoom.

Credit: Contributed/DeWine office

Credit: Contributed/DeWine office

Porter has lights, cameras, microphones and TV monitors set up in the guest house behind the DeWine family home. An hour before the press conference, Porter does a quick rehearsal with guests to make sure their lighting and framing will look good on TV and give them an idea what to expect.

During the press conferences, Porter runs the camera, keeps an eye on three laptops, listens to the Ohio Channel via headphones, gives the governor time cues, watches for text messages he needs to relay to DeWine and takes still photos as well.

“It’s a lot going on,” Porter said. “It’s really funny. If you had told me in January that hey, at the end of the year, we’re going to have to have a press conference broadcast to the entire state, and it’s going to happen from his barn, and it’s only going to be you, I’d have said I’d need three years to learn it all.”

Credit: Contributed/DeWine office

Credit: Contributed/DeWine office

Porter said he already has his dream job. “I can’t imagine anything better than this,” he said. “I get to come in every day and do what I love to do — video and photography.”

Porter, a Wausseon native, got hooked on photography and videography as a high school student. He graduated from Ohio Northern University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in electronic broadcasting and communications.

In his spare time, Porter produces other videos, including a music video of Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers singing “O-Hio” in which Porter weaves scenes from across the state.

Credit: Contributed/Eric Porter

Credit: Contributed/Eric Porter

He also is an amateur body builder. The college cross country athlete transformed himself from 135 pounds to 195 pounds after graduation. In 2018, he won the novice classic physique title at the NPC Mike Francois Classic in suburban Columbus. “I enjoyed it, I did it, I won but we’re going back to normal lifestyle,” he said.

Inspire Dayton

Throughout the month of December, the Dayton Daily News will tell the stories of people who have persevered and inspired others during this challenging year. Tell us who inspired you in 2020 by emailing jordan.laird@coxinc.com.

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