Yesterday on GA, Elise and I managed to write a lede that incorporated Jack Sparrow and it was awesome. That fact aside, I’m actually very happy with how the story turned out. It was about how the local winery is launching a craft distillate brand that features a variety of rum, vodka and gin.
Les Bourgeois winery, Jonny Ver Planck distillery launch craft rum – Columbia Missourian
I really enjoyed doing this story because I was able to learn about a process that I knew nothing about and talk to people who are passionate about it. I think this story is closer to the kinds of things I hope to be doing once I graduate. I found it funny that yesterday that everyone else had painfully serious stories to complete and I was sitting in the story learning about how rum is made. It’s the weirdest and also greatest thing about journalism.
Well my Tuesday started off with a man asking me about Michael Sam and how he “got gay”. Not only am I not a morning person but gay rights in an issue that I get particularly defensive about. Not to mention that he completely took me off guard and blind-sided me at 8:15 in the morning.
Regardless, my GA shift only improved from this very weird start. I wrote about weather and although it is not normally my area of interest, it ended up being a pretty good story. It took a lot of edits to not make it sound like a cheesy meterologist but a little tweaks made into a solid story.
Columbia to see warmer, milder weather in coming days
But after my shift, I’m most thankful for the experience I’ve gained in learning to remain calm under deadline. I watched many new reporters today sweat (literally) through their stories that while important, are definitely not the most stressful thing they’ll cover this semester. Although its not always easy to keep your cool under pressure, I think it just makes your life and your editors life way easier. Stress is contagious and no one in the newsroom needs your anxiety if its unnecessary. Its a skill that is definitely learned but I’m glad I’m getting the hang of it.
I was so drained after last week’s GA shift that I completely forgot to blog about it. Which is a huge shame on my part because it was definitely a blog-able experience.
I was assigned a life story on my shift. Some people really don’t like life stories because they care some stigma about being beginner’s journalist busy work. But I think they’re admirable. It’s the last words about someone most likely ever printed. But while admirable, they’re also incredibly intimidating. It is very hard to walk into a story knowing how much rides on you getting it right.
I told the story of Paul Heine on Wednesday. I wish I had the honor of meeting such an amazing man. The story his wife told me was so beautiful that I actually started crying with her. Not a bad thing for a journalist to have emotions however it makes your job quite hard when you can’t speak to your source.
But the real challenge came when I sat down to write the story. How do you really capture the essence of a person’s life in a story. I had 3 pages of notes and zero idea where I even wanted to start. I got help from my ACE which helped me to produce a decent story. But I’m left with this feeling that I could have done better. I really wanted to honor Paul more fully but I’m still happy with what was written.
Today was a slow GA shift. Not just for me but for everyone. Apparently today is not a high-traffic news day, which normally would be fine except when you’re sitting in a newsroom for 8 hours waiting for a story.
I got a life story which turned into an obit after an extensive search for families’s phone numbers that resulted in disconnected lines and unreturned calls. It was simple and straight-forward but a little boring.
But in the real world, days like these happen. Sometimes there isn’t a whole lot to report and some days you feel like you’re drowning in news. It happens. I’m not upset about it but I miss the typical adrenaline rush of GA shifts. Oh well.
Judith Bernhardt enjoyed sewing and gardening
Today was my GA shift and I spent most of my day making phone calls trying to get updated information on a former Columbia councilwoman, Almeta Crayton. She’s currently in the hospital due to heart complications and getting up to date information proved to be a bit of challenge.
UPDATE- Former councilwoman Almeta Crayton hospitalized in serious condition
With this story, I ran into the problem of sources that were completely overwhelmed by media outlets and therefore totally shutting down in terms of response. This is one of the many problems that reporters in Columbia face because it is such an over-saturated news market.
Thankfully, I did get in contact with one of her close friends who payed me a compliment that carried me threw the rest of this long day. He told me (after talking to many reporters that morning) that I was the most notable and he would be sure and call me first if he received any new information. I’m not really sure how I achieved “most notable” but I will definitely take the compliment.
A thought also struck me today that I’ve become increasingly comfortable with cold-calling people for interviews. Whether I’m actually good at the interview or not, I’m not totally sure. But I think back to my multimedia/news/bootcamp days and laugh at how scared I was to find sources. If I would have just gotten up the nerve to pick up the phone and call someone, I may have gotten way better stories and projects out of it.
I’m thankful that this experience has taught me this valuable skill because I know it will be incredibly useful in my future career. Today I really felt like I was living the life of a reporter
Today I wrote a story about TB and the shortage of skin tests nationwide and in Columbia, For me, this was a topic that I a.) knew absolutely nothing about and b.) would probably otherwise never write about unless I was on GA.
But I did learn a whole lot of new things about TB and TB tests, which was actually pretty interesting. Granted it took a lot of digging through CDC mumbo-jumbo to get there but story accomplished!
Shortage causes suspension of TB skin tests at Boone County clinic
And like my grandma used to tell me, learn something new every day and that I have
On a side note, today was the first GA shift I didn’t get a parking ticket. It’s really the little things