My last general assignment shift at the Missourian truly was a day of reporting. I was a little worried going in that there wouldn’t be much to do, since it’s finals week and spending the whole block in the newsroom without a story to work on could bog down the shift. However, this is probably the fastest a GA day has ever gone by for me, as I got to work on two full-length stories.
The first was a piece on the Columbia School Board elections that will happen in April. Filing for candidacy opened in the morning, and the president of the board said he wouldn’t run for re-election. I looked up a lot of info for this story, like the filing instructions and qualifications, which were in Monday’s board meeting minutes. Clip work was a big part of the background research, too, because it’s how I got the term information for the two members whose seats are up for election. I also called a few people, and I ended up getting to talk to both of the candidates who filed to run today, which I’m really happy about. My favorite anecdote to come out of the reporting was that the newcomer candidate said he grew in up a family of 12, was fortunate to go to college and that his education pulled him out of poverty, so he wanted to help others have similar opportunities in education as he did. Since I spoke with him over the phone, I was able to ask him for a headshot or photo of him for the article, and he submitted the family photo below. Overall, this story was great reporting experience because it involved all kinds of skills I’ve developed over the semester — researching, clip work, interviewing, writing, getting a photo from a source and accuracy checking.
The second story I worked on is for a university announcement event tomorrow morning. Under an embargo, I received a press release for the announcement, so I was able to interview the vice chancellor for advancement ahead of time. This story also involved some background research and clip work. I have a lot of prewriting done, so I think my piece tomorrow should go up fairly quickly after the event. This is the most I’ve ever prewritten, and I have the Missourian to thank for all my prewriting experiences. It’s a great reporting skill to practice.
Update: Here is the endowment announcement story!
And here are my tweets: