I apologize for the hiatus. I was very busy one week, and took a breather last week. Now to bring you up to speed:
My last GA shift, I wrote two stories. The first was a life story over Martha Honiker. I was told prior to writing this to make it as accurate as possible because this was the last story that would ever be written about her. I also didn’t want to come off insensitive to the family and was nervous no one would speak to me. I spoke to her son-in-law, who was very open and spoke to his family in the background while we were on the phone. It was a very good experience and I was honored to write a final tribute.
My second story was over local Americorp organizations that were to be recognized. I had seldom heard about Americorp but they are very present in the community. Americorps members have two different classifications: direct volunteering and capacity-building. I interviewed a one from each on deadline, but I would have loved to go more into depth with it. Basically, these volunteers live at poverty level and aim to serve others in a rather underserved community. So from Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, there are a few Americorp members who help run it, and they offer programs such as how to start and tend your own garden. At Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers get to work with clients and place them with their own big brother/sister.
For my beat, I had been working on a story about the Oakland Senior Center and the Senior Activity Center merging together this summer. For a story that was supposed to be easy breezy, it was everything but. First, the superiors had a lack of interest of speaking to me because she was so convinced I was just another journalism student, so I had to find other voices. When I went to visit the center, I was led into an office and had to speak to the director until lunch was over and all the seniors had left. I initially went there to speak to a senior to find out what they thought about the move. It wasn’t until the photographer was sent there to take pictures till I found out what they really thought.
The majority of seniors were unhappy about the move because they thought the new center was from a richer crowd and they would feel unwanted there. Also, this wasn’t the first time they had heard about the idea. Last year, when the end of the lease was approaching, people from the Senior Activity Center had said they didn’t want the Oakland people to move in there.
When the story was published online (Saturday), I was contacted that morning via email by an Oakland senior and a couple others who wanted to speak to me about the real story. I’m still working out a time to meet with them but I’m very interested in what they have to say.
Quick Parks and Rec reference: when one of the ACE’s looked over my story, I told her how difficult it was to speak to the executives and she said people get touchy about mergers. I remember in Parks and Recreation when Pawnee and Eagleton were merging and how upset everyone was about it. Maybe they need a Unity Concert.
On top of all this, I also had my Missourian Minute due that Friday. My partner and I chose Jacques Laboile from Bonne Femme Honey Farm to highlight since the outdoor Farmer’s Market was debuting that weekend. It was very fun to go to the farm and see his operation. I got a lot of good b-roll and found out some very interesting things about him. I had some difficulties with my tripod, like always, but this time it was because I was filming outdoors so the ground wasn’t leveled, my subject was constantly moving, his new puppy was running around me and knocking over my tripod, the wind, just so many things you don’t think about until you actually get there.
I had all these things go on in one week and it was very overwhelming. I slept very little, could barely pay attention in my classes because I was thinking about what I was going to do right after, who I had to talk to. In the midst of that, my phone stopped charging so I didn’t have a phone for two days and had to wait for a new one. Going to work felt like a chore because there were so many other things I wanted to do but I also needed to pay my bills.
At the beginning of this semester, I was concerned about how I was going to find that perfect balance and I was somehow able to survive it that week. I’ve learned so much at this newsroom in a short amount of time that I will take to future publications but I’m also ready for this semester to be over. I’m going to Italy in less than a month and I’ll get to write magazine stories instead of news stories.
So there’s my life in a nutshell. Thanks for reading!