Today in lecture, four current and past reporters from the Missourian spoke about their internship experiences. Peter Baugh, a close friend of mine from Mark Twain residence hall, spoke about his experience working at Politico in Brussels over the summer. Though he normally writes as a sports reporter, he was assigned a technology beat that was outside of his typical jurisdiction. He seemed to get a lot out of the experience, as did Ron Davis in his experience with writing for Albuquerque Business First. Much like Peter, Ron it did not seem like Ron had experience writing in this style but he had to write two stories a day (!) which is great experience for anybody. I’m glad the panel happened and I hope that I can get one soon!
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Recently I have decided to take up data journalism as my interest area in the journalism school, an important step in my future as a journalist! One of the guiding reasons that I chose this is due to the lecture from David Herzog in lecture recently. His passion for how data can translate to stories and how useful it can be to visualize data sets. This, combined with Mark Horvit’s lecture on investigative journalism, helped me finalize my decision.
Ron Stodghill spoke to our spoke with our reporting class again and explained the importance of creating timelines before writing long pieces. Ron gave examples of the timelines that he had created when he wrote one of his books. This was a very good learning experience and I am glad he spoke to our class again!
This was a long week for me in the newsroom!
On Sunday I worked my weekend shift at the Missourian. At this, I was assigned my very first life story. It was a daunting task to call a family that was grieving for a recently deceased family member, but was rewarding. This experience showed me the importance of local journalism and how it can affect a community. I also wrote a small brief about a car crash which was short, but was a good experience as I deciphered the odd language of police officer reports. Lastly, I wrote an introductory piece on a visiting scholar who will be speaking on campus soon! It was a busy week, but I learned a lot and am glad to have experienced it!
Today, MU faculty and NICAR specialist David Herzog spoke with our class today about reporting with data and NICAR. Before the presentation, I was unaware of the sheer amount of databases that are available, much less housed in Columbia. Professor Herzog’s presentation introduced me to the possibilities of incorporating data and infographics into my reporting, something I had not previously considered doing. Hopefully I will take CAR next semester and learn more about the process and become a better journalsit!
It has been a busy week and it’s only Tuesday! Today Leonard Pitts was supposed to speak to my reporting class, but was unable to. Instead Ron Stodghill spoke to us. Stodghill is a Missouri alum and has written for Time and the New York Times. Our class did an interview exercise with him, asking increasingly deeper questions to him. Not only does he have a very impressive life story, but he was a very good sport in answering all of our questions. He mentioned that he makes his students create a timeline of significant events in life, but he said that most of his students have not experienced anything too groundbreaking or life changing. When he said that, I kept thinking about my home in Houston and the massive amount of damage it took. Looking to the future, I wonder what sort of vantage point or perspective I will be able to give about my experiences and how my journalism will be affected by it as I move past it.
Today in lecture, Scott gave a presentation on framing. I know what framing is, I’ve known about it for a while. That said, it is not something that I have been actively thinking about when writing articles and stories.
The pieces presented to us in class today had to do with fracking. One article, “Do y’all smell that?” is about the joys of fracking and the unbelievable wealth it has brought to Texas oil men. “Fracking Boom Spews Toxic Air Emissions,” however, presents a much different viewpoint. Both dealing with fracking, it is clear that the two are written with different frames. “Do y’all smell that” focuses on the oil barons and land owners in Texas. Their lavish lifestyles are well documented and it is clear that they have no qualms with the industry. In the other article, however, the people interviewed are people who have been negatively effected by fracking. Scientists and doctors fill the interviews in this article. Both articles would be improved by crossing more fault lines. It would provide a clearer image of the fracking issue: one side disproportionately hurt by fracking while the other profits immensely. Photography-wise, the “Do y’all smell that?” article deals in very simple photos that highlight the interview subjects. In “Fracking Boom Spews Toxic Air Emissions,” the photos pull the reader in by using emotion and infographics to understand how much fracking is hurting the environment and nearby residents.
Somebody should have informed me that junior year of college was this hectic! Not only do the classes get more interesting, but they also have so much more work!
Ignoring that, the past few weeks at the Missourian have been extremely fun and gratifying. I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t stress inducing or difficult, but the work is important and the news needs to be reported. That’s advice that my friend Ed said early on that resonated with me: treat the Missourian like a job. As long as I treat the work at the Missourian with respect and get things turned in on time, I should be successful. The news needs to be reported by somebody and I am lucky enough that it gets to be me.
Looking back, last week went very well! I surprisingly had a really great time on my general assignment shift which quelled my nerves for the course. I didn’t have a goal in mind for number of articles to write in a week, but I’m extremely proud of myself for having three published bylines in my first week. I don’t think it’s possible to replicate that every week, but it was definitely a milestone. I have an idea for a story, and I’m hoping that Scott likes it and will find it to be a worthwhile story to cover.
My pieces from last week:
After surviving 2150, it’s finally time to begin working and writing for a true publication. This week began my work with the Columbia Missourian for my news reporting class (4450). It’s funny to think that even last year, I was afraid of writing. Whether it was for an English course or for a journalism course, the thought of writing for a living never appealed to me. Ultimately, I believe that this was just an insecurity of mine. I was never confident in my writing abilities. After taking news writing and other writing intensive courses, I have slowly gained the confidence that was necessary to pursue news writing as a potential career. I have only worked for one day at the Missourian, but my time working the general assignment shift has filled me with the confidence I needed to continue this work in the future. I cannot wait to see where this path leads me!
After weeks of hard work and a semester of training, the final project has been completed! Please give it a look!