Monthly Archives: November 2012

If you give a reporter a cookie…

There were a lot of things that I used to do before grad school. Kickbox, read fiction and take photos- just to name a few. I haven’t found time to make it to a kick boxing class. I read so many PDFs, emails and articles that reading for fun is the last thing I want to do. And, I’m usually stuck in the newsroom until after dark, so my DSLR sees my closet more than the outside world. I’ll admit that being around all of those photo journalists makes me feel like such an amateur. So I welcomed the chance to get reacquainted with a shutter for my multimedia project. I typically favor detail-oriented shots, so it was a fun challenge to shoot more documentary style and figure out how to convey a story through images.

My partner and I deliberated on doing our project on Hot Box Cookies relocation. I was concerned it would be too much of a promotional piece. Although it was worth having this reservation, Cory has an intriguing business story that we focused on instead. We found more to report than just drool-worthy photos of snickerdoodles (although, there are a few of those, too.)

The only problem with doing your multimedia project at a bakery is you will inevitably crave cookies after spending an hour smelling the vanilla, sugar and butter browning in the oven; there are worse things.

I’ll admit I don’t think that I have the patience for multimedia editing in the future, but I’m glad I got the experience and that our piece was published. I hope to pick up my camera more outside of class, too.

Advertisements

I’m thankful for…

This is the time of year when you’re supposed to go around and say what you’re thankful for. I’m just thankful for (barely) surviving the week before Thanksgiving break and the subsequent week off. I plan to read some fiction, sleep, play with my dog and maybe actually catch up on the news (oh, the irony).¬† I’ll admit that I wasn’t looking forward to my G.A. shift the Friday before Thanksgiving break, but I’m grateful for the byline about a new highway interchange opening up. It’s the first time I’ve shared a byline with a fellow reporter and I’m glad I did because Katie helped fill in some the gaps in my own notebook. All in all, a good last story to have under my belt before the break.

Projecting across the country

This week I got a Facebook message from one of my fellow reporters, “hey! I’m sure you know this but I think your ragtag story got picked up by AP?”

I was aghast. I had no idea and promptly responded, “WHAT!?” Then she sent me a link to the San Francisco Gate (the San Francisco Chronicle’s website). My story about one tiny local Columbia theater struggling to transition into the digital age of cinema had gone national and it wasn’t just in California. The article also got picked up by the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois and the Houston Chronicle in Texas.

I guess you know that things are going well when the AP picks you up. This is my proudest moment of reporting so far.

Baa-ram-ewe, to your story be true!

 

It seems like every class at the j-school must include a lecture on framing. However, despite how I felt ready to lead my own lecture on framing, I got a lesson in it on Friday when I went to report the Small Farm Trade Show & Conference. In an ideal world of no deadlines, I would be able to spend all day at the trade show looking for the best story. In reality though, I had only a few hours to report and write this story, so I wanted to come prepared. I decided a workshop on “natural eating” (aka foraging) sounded intriguing and more applicable to our readership than seed rotation.

However, when I set foot in the Boone County Fairgrounds barn, I knew I was wearing the wrong shoes (suede and hay do not go together) and had the wrong story. The lecture was misleading and more about a kids program on planting natural berries than how to do it yourself. (On second thought, that may not have been such a bad thing because the last thing I want is to accidentally  tell readers to eat the wrong fruit.) I left the lecture as quietly as possible and entered in a frenzy trying to interview as many people as I could to find some sort of angle.

I talked to highland cow breeders (pictured above. When I correctly identified them as highland cows someone asked if I was a farm girl. Nope, I just lived in Scotland for two years.), a man who had been attending for 15 years, an organic vegetable farmer, an MU sustainability professor, and the man who started the trade fair. From these half a dozen interviews, I had a rough idea of which direction the story could go in- sustainability or the legacy of the trade show.

Despite how these are almost two entirely different topics, I tried to write both of them into one story. Needless to say, the ACE on duty was less than pleased that the final story she had to edit for the evening was bipolar. It’s called framing for a reason. The story I wrote in the end is decent but could’ve been better if I knew how to frame the story from the minute I entered the barn instead of on my drive back to the newsroom. If I had known the direction I was going in, I could’ve asked better questions to my sources and written a more coherent story.

Event reporting gets me every time.