It is nearly impossible to believe that the month of February has already passed us by and we are approaching March and the halfway point of the semester. It feels like we both just started and have been working for months at this point…. oh the time we have left.
One of the most recent pieces I have written is without doubt one of the most challenging pieces that I have had to work with thus far. One of my general assignment pieces was to break down and explain the internal affairs report released by the Columbia Police Department for the year of 2017. The report itself was not hard to understand, but rather the break down of the numbers and what exactly they meant for community members and members of the police force.
In particular making accurate comparisons between years was challenging. It was particularly difficult to determine which numbers were actually representative of the data that was being presented. Ultimately we aired on the cautious side of number provisions, and offered as many numbers as seemed doable and not completely overwhelming in the piece. Looking back at the final product, it is extremely number heavy. Making a graphic helped with this a bit, giving a quick visual rather than just numbers and letters! I am hopeful to try out more number heavy pieces in the future, now that I have a bit more experience.
As we continue forward in the semester, I am finally feeling my way through what exactly being a reporter looks like at the Missourian. Finding the balance of managing my time in personal and beat stories with the condensed pressure of general assignment days has been challenging but rewarding. I think that I am finally getting the hang of pursuing my own interests in pieces while still completing the work that I need to be doing.
Hands down my favorite piece of the semester thus far was getting to know Tucker, the three-footed, four-legged and five-year-old Australian Shepherd working in partnership with the MU 3-D printing club to develop a prosthetic foot. Born with only three properly developed feet, Tucker has developed a number of health issues because of his mis-formed hind foot. With hope of improving the remainder of Tucker’s life and limiting future pain/damage from increasing with this prosthetic. The piece was a great way for me to push out of my comfort zone and learn to handle a large number of people quickly and in an organized fashion.
Pushing forward, I am excited to continue finding and working with stories involving groups that I know absolutely nothing about like the 3-D printing club prior to this piece. I love being able to work on pieces and get to know people who are part of groups and organizations that I am completely foreign to and I hope to continue this aspect of reporting and storytelling throughout the remainder of the semester and moving forward.
With almost three weeks already passed (how has it already been three weeks?), my adventures as an Education reporter with the Columbia Missourian are under way. After working both as a general assignment reporter and on education-specific stories, I am finally beginning to navigate my way past the bumps and bruises of starting out and into the challenges of reporting.
I kicked off the semester with a piece on the upcoming controlled burn workshops hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation. While it was a straight forward story, I felt great to make my start with this piece. Being able to talk about a subject that I had previous knowledge of helped me to kick off my position confidently. In this short piece alone, I was able to get to know my own journalistic voice in a way that I haven’t been able to in the past and further learned more about writing concisely and without excess.
My education reporting kicked off with a story on the group of MU students and faculty from the documentary journalism program that traveled to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. This piece propped open my first door to learning and writing about the University of Missouri.
The combination of brief and longer pieces continues with what I am working on currently and I am excited to continue exploring more stories in the weeks to come.