1/1 & 1/2

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mu-city-approach-starting-line-on-cross-country-course/article_6a6bbe46-0e04-11e9-b0ca-133311369379.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/other_sports/from-player-to-coach-reynolds-still-brings-leadership-to-cougars/article_dff199ba-0ddc-11e9-95c3-df1f2247c7a6.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/prep_sports/local-briefs-rock-bridge-wrestling-falters-in-jeff-city-tri/article_51ec20f4-0eef-11e9-97a9-c791f2feeff1.html

Happy New Year all.

I spent the entirety of New Year’s Day writing up the two larger stories that ended up posting on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I added to each story by accuracy checking everything. The Nic Reynolds feature is my first true focused feature in a while. My football stories can be considered features however, it’s been a while since I wrote a real profile feature.

It was great to get that done and it was cool because Reynolds was the first basketball player I had ever interviewed during my reporting last year. So, to tell his story this year was kinda cool. I also made centerpiece again writing this.

After that, the Gans Creek Cross Country story isĀ  about development plans. One member of the Parks Department was extremely helpful in getting back to me with information on the development plans.

The Missouri Athletics department was not. I waited to get a call back for what felt like eons. All I needed answered was like 3 simple questions and it took hours just to get a callback.

After I did get a callback, I was able to get the information quickly. Then, when I thought all was well I got another call from a different member of the Parks department during my walk home. He thought I was fabricating information. Though the information he said I was fabricating was on a document that the Parks department had sent out.

I called Scott and my article ended up being published so obviously he worked some magic with the guy to figure the whole thing out.

It was pretty frustrating but it was good to get both of these stories out after making multi-day processes out of both.

I also wrote the Local Briefs which was solely made up of Rock Bridge wrestling in a Tri-Dual. This was just easy to do but only because somebody was actively tweeting about this meet. I was able to mine information from the tweets to write it while already at home for the night.

12/31

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/man-arrested-in-connection-to-rape-on-mu-campus/article_fd15ed2a-0c5b-11e9-9c29-4f0c47cdec33.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/comogives-campaign-continues-strong-run-jazz-series-tops-all-recipients/article_eeb60378-0d23-11e9-a2df-9375556b3b78.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_sports/local-briefs-tigers-baseball-exceeds-gpa-mark-for-fall-semester/article_cf81d490-0d1a-11e9-8825-573eacda54f0.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/other_sports/cougars-crush-central-christian-college-in-final-game-of/article_d5085942-0d48-11e9-ad08-db9d60d41a78.html

A very busy Monday morning had me doing the most work of the break so far for me. Not only did I do a local news story about a donation campaign. I also covered the Columbia College basketball game and came up with a feature idea from that game.

I’ve never had more than two stories on my mind at once. But today, I had like 5. It was nuts but I pulled it all together and made it work.

Before the day really got started, Scott updated my crime reports from yesterday with the latest information. He allowed me to peek over his shoulder so I understood how to update an ongoing story like that.

Then, he assigned me to the campaign story. I got great sources and interviews for the CoMoGives story with the help from Scott. Scott also edited my story and helped fill in the holes while I was covering the Columbia College game.

The Columbia College game came into fruition with a few texts between Michael and I. We weren’t originally planning on covering it but it was something for me to do sports-wise, so I did. From that texting exchange though, Michael told me to come up with a feature idea on top of the gamer.

While writing the CoMoGives story and working up my approach for Columbia College, I was simultaneously writing a sports brief about the Mizzou baseball team’s high GPA for the fall semester.

Today was absolutely crazy because I accomplished everything I was told to do and more. It feels really good and it also feels good to have taken all that on the run and still made it all work.

12/30

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_womens_basketball/tigers-roll-past-arkansas-state-with-second-half-defense/article_84269970-0c86-11e9-9a90-93ba78f57dc2.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/man-arrested-in-connection-to-rape-on-mu-campus/article_fd15ed2a-0c5b-11e9-9c29-4f0c47cdec33.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/two-men-found-shot-dead-in-vehicle-in-moberly/article_0b38e58e-0c51-11e9-8d43-3f8a11e43e7e.html

On the 30th, I worked my weekend GA shift. I had already been assigned to work the women’s basketball game later in the day but during my time in the morning, I wrote up a couple of briefs on a double-homicide in Moberly and a rape-arrest in Columbia with the guidance of Sky.

I called both police departments to get word or any further confirmation before writing up the briefs. It was kind of odd to make a shift from arrests and criminal investigations to women’s basketball in one day but I made it work and it was fun.

The women’s basketball game was awesome. It was a blast to cover and there were a bunch of storylines in the game so the story practically wrote itself. I live-tweeted the game and included some of those tweets into the story. I also made centerpiece again for a bit yesterday. Today (the 31st), it’s all football. But it was cool to be the centerpiece again after this game.

12/28 & 12/29

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/liberty-bowl-more-tidbits-from-day-in-memphis/article_5ea83084-0afe-11e9-95ba-0fd3030b08af.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/prep_sports/local-roundup-tolton-boys-basketball-finds-redemption-in-great-tournament/article_d54f21d8-0b09-11e9-a2e2-27b94490da7e.html

Friday night, I did more of the same from Thursday night. I worked GA and I was able to put together a package on the quotes that we received from Liberty Bowl practice again. I also embedded tweets that showed each team visiting St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

The Local Roundup was actually the hardest part of the night because when something’s not covered, it’s very hard to find information about something. I couldn’t find very much with the Hickman girls basketball game and that definitely shows in the roundup. Tolton basketball and Hickman wrestling were more successful finds because people actually covered them and there were viable tweets out there with the information I needed. There’s a reason it’s a roundup and not a full-fledged story but it’s nicer to have at least some sort of box score for a basketball game, even if it’s a slaughter fest.

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_womens_basketball/tigers-preparing-for-arkansas-state-with-dog-mentality/article_18b5ee84-0b8c-11e9-99e6-834391951ae1.html

Saturday, I wrote my first Mizzou women’s basketball story. I got the opportunity to go out to practice on the awfully cold day that was Friday and I interviewed the players and coach.

They knew that I was new covering them but they were all really nice and that helped the situation mightily.

I’m covering the game on Sunday so to be able to write the preview definitely helps how I’ll cover the game.

I thought the “dog mentality” mentioned was a nice tidbit that I was able to go off on and include throughout the story. I also inserted in the Game Information box that’s showing up on web. This also got chosen as an Editor’s Pick.

12/26 & 12/27

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/state_news/minimum-wage-increase-other-new-laws-take-effect/article_278dfd32-0936-11e9-b94b-f76a0cfcb2030.html

After the Christmas holidays and a hectic two-day swing from CoMo to Chicago back to CoMo in about 26 hours, Wednesday’s experience in the newsroom was a pretty fun experience despite being exhausting.

This was my first ever non-sports story. It seemed pretty daunting at first but I got into a flow shortly into my research. Jeanne guided me along as I made calls and emails while also scouring boring government documents to come up with the information in this story.

It was a rewarding feeling when I got done with it. Though it was rewarding and fun at the end of the day, I definitely have more of an appreciation for sports writing now. But, it’s nice to know that I can do more than just do sports writing in my long hiatus from regular news journalism. This was reassurance in that.

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/liberty-bowl-tidbits-from-missouri-s-first-two-days-in/article_e582a0aa-0a34-11e9-8ffd-1f4d38ca2195.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/prep_sports/local-roundup-hickman-girls-basketball-escapes-in-final-minute/article_ab603394-0a37-11e9-9cde-d3088a842181.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/local-briefs-three-missouri-football-commits-earn-first-team-all/article_6f9e6de4-0a41-11e9-be63-bbbea7e7f508.html

I worked GA for the sports desk on Thursday night. I wrote up the Local Briefs and Local Roundup by scouring Twitter and other internet sources to find scores for games that we were unable to cover. That was fun and I prefer the night-side shift on the sports desk over the day-shift in the newsroom.

The Mizzou football story I was able to pull together in a couple short hours. Michael had given me a few quotes from Thursday’s practices and I put them together in a quotes package story alongside some fun tidbits that I had seen on Twitter throughout the day. This was fun to do and I’m glad that I was given that information and pulled it all together in a short amount of time.

I also embedded a bunch of tweets into the football story and I think it’s always good to have a strong web-based presence for my content. So embedding tweets is a good thing to do and know. It also got the editor’s pick tag.

12/24

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_mens_basketball/tigers-tilmon-named-sec-player-of-the-week/article_d733b0dc-079d-11e9-b2d1-df4a4b10e6b7.html

Christmas Eve work came at a slow pace. For a majority of the morning, I was just helping Michael and Eric put together the presentation of the paper for Christmas. I also scheduled tweets, inserted hyperlinks and tweets into stories from the previous night, helped find wire stories as well as write headlines and proof pages.

Then, the SEC had announced its player of the week to be Mizzou’s Jeremiah Tilmon and I wrote up a quick brief on that. Now, it’s post-holiday and we’re back to work.

12/20 & 12/21

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/prep_sports/forfeits-highlight-hickman-wrestling-victory-over-tolton/article_fad64752-04be-11e9-9412-ffef5648a658.html

Thursday night was pretty interesting. I got to cover a wrestling dual and it was an interesting dual at that.

24 hours prior to writing the story, I knew nothing about wrestling. I spent the whole day leading up to the dual learning about the sport because I wanted to get it right.

Then the meet came and a majority of the matches ended in forfeits. The tone of my story was to show the oddness of that because I was a fish out of water there. But it was a lot of fun because it was something out of my knowledge and comfort zone.

I think I gained some great experience doing that and I’m looking forward to doing more.

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/prep_sports/rock-bridge-boys-and-girls-basketball-pick-up-victories/article_b85ea970-05a2-11e9-af8d-c350b857db65.html

Friday night, I got to cover some more high school basketball. I’ve taken a liking to Rock Bridge high school and its teams. It was a lot of fun to be there the entirety of Friday night to cover both girls and boys basketball.

Though it came with a lot of writing. The boys won in a 40-point blowout but they got more space in my article. They’re No. 3 in the state and they’re really talented and deserving of 700 words.

But, the girls game was a lot closer, more competitive and intense. I felt I did them a bit wrong by not giving them the same amount of space as the boys because it was a great game. However, there shouldn’t be 1000+ word stories on one night of high school basketball. They’re just regular gamers so, I had to realize that. It was also getting past 10PM when I finally finished writing last night so I had to make some editorial decisions myself on what to include and what not to include.

That was a great experience of having a full plate though. I’ve never felt more pressured by a deadline but it was a great learning experience and it was a lot of fun.

12/18 & 12/19

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/prep_sports/rock-bridge-cruises-past-battle-in-cross-town-rivalry/article_88840078-033c-11e9-ba35-0b0702c8b2f6.html

On the night of 12/18, I went and covered my first high school basketball game. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun doing it. Something I had noticed about the atmosphere of the game included how the Battle gym played the song “Mo Bamba” thrice.

So, I included that in the story. I mentioned how the kids in the student section filled in the blanks of the clean version of the song with the vulgar lyrics. I then mentioned that the likes of bars and clubs do the exact same thing.

A staff member at the school said that what I wrote was incorrect. But it was correct. He said that it was wrong of me to compare “14-18 year old kids” to the likes of bars and clubs. I didn’t; all I did was say that the song is played in bars and clubs. I stand by my reporting. I didn’t make it up and I didn’t do anything wrong.

This person felt that I had victimized the Battle high school community but that wasn’t my intent at all. I apologized for the confusion it caused him. I didn’t apologize for the article or my reporting. All I did was report the truth and I’m sticking to it.

It was an interesting experience but my first dealing with negative feedback from a reader.

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/missouri-football-signs-to-national-letters-of-intent/article_1ef0e014-03db-11e9-ba30-93adc8cd4eb4.html

On 12/19, I wrote another football feature that ended up being the centerpiece for the sports page again. I’m really happy with the way this turned out.

My phone broke in the middle of interviews so I had to go to the old pen and paper to finish my interviews at the practice.

I also wrote this story on the run because I was originally supposed to interview players after practice about a completely different topic, but players weren’t available after practice at all. I had to come up with a brand new story on the spot and I’m glad I was able to pull this story together with the guidance of Michael.

First Few Days as a Reporter again!

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/former-mu-football-coordinator-finishes-behind-kelly-saban-for-ap/article_d29b62ba-0223-11e9-8799-17511eadd2fa.html

In my first official day in the newsroom for Winter Break, I got to add some information to an AP article about the AP College Football Coach of the Year poll.

Considering Josh Heupel has Missouri football connections, I was able to contribute to the initial report and talk about those connections in the regular story. It’s always good to keep an eye out for things like this on the sports desk because people around here like MU connections in national sporting news.

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_sports/hearnes-center-to-replace-video-board/article_76b65776-0240-11e9-b5d8-6ff02cfecb7b.html

Here, I just saw the original tweet (which I embedded into the text) and I thought that was newsworthy enough to have a small brief written about it.

Even briefs need some density though. So, I researched a bit about recent renovations to both the Hearnes Center and Mizzou Arena and related those back to the addition of the new scoreboard.

I also contacted an assistant AD for Mizzou Athletics and he gave me quick answers to the questions I had about the scoreboard change. He also told me that I should change my Twitter profile picture because I reached out for the info on Twitter at first. I ended up doing this but he went off on me a bit so that didn’t feel good. But, I at least got the information I was looking for and created some content yesterday.

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/jingle-bowls-how-the-tigers-balance-the-holidays-and-bowl/article_45a31c8e-0199-11e9-8a24-9711520bd460.html

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/sports/mizzou_football/notebook-odom-and-missouri-d-line-talk-bowl-prep/article_06ca5862-00c5-11e9-a92a-d7fed2940ea5.html

I also wrote two stories over the weekend and I’m really happy with these. My editor complimented me on them both and the Bowl feature was made the Sports centerpiece for the website on Sunday. It was really cool.

It’s also awesome that I get to cover football. It’s a great honor and it’s my first time doing it. So to have a successful couple of stories after my first weekend was definitely a great feeling.

Though, the access to players and coaches can be very limited, I’ve only gotten good stuff so far. So we’ll see how that plays out moving forward.