Missourian Weekend Shift

Today is my Missourian weekend shift from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. When I walked in the newsroom, there was one person here: a photographer. I had a moment to freak-out thinking maybe I’m late or I had the wrong day. Half an hour later, ACE Zach walked in and laughed when he saw my face collapse in relief.

There are two things I didn’t realize about weekend shifts. One, I didn’t know there would only be about three people in the newsroom: a GA student, an ACE and a few random people doing work. I expected it to be as busy and buzzing as it is during our weekday GA shifts. The laid back weekend shifts are nice because they aren’t stressful. The football game flickered on a TV in the corner while the police scanner hummed silently, instead of its usual incessant blaring.

I also didn’t realize how slow weekend shifts can be and I ran into the problem I’ve been having lately of not getting a story. I told Zach my worry: I’ve only published one story from four GA shifts (including this shift). He told me he’d try his best to find something for me today, but it would be difficult with the sports game going on. We listened to the scanner, jumping in excitement every time a police officer’s voice ran through. I ended up working on a schedule for the paper next week, but I think for the future I’m going to sign up for breaking news – then I know for sure I’ll be working and publishing stories.

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the upside

I’m a firm believer in looking at the positive side of things, even when I’m.. well.. as I said this morning, haggard. The earlier post was rather depressing — so here’s the upside of today.

1. My first community beat feature on Clear 99 co-host’s marconi nomination was published online! It hasn’t come out in print yet, but still exciting!

2. Katherine Reed, my Missourian lecture professor, pointed the article out in class and said how it was great and that she enjoyed reading it.

3. Apparently (I wasn’t there, unfortunately) the story was also discussed in the budget meeting.

4. Got a shout-out and tweet-reply in the budget meeting from the community outreach director for tweeting at the Missourian about my article.

5. Sources finally contacted me back!

6. Ate lunch – which is usually a rare occurrence. Holla at me, Which Wich!

7. Just realized that Christmas is exactly 3 months away.

Be merry, Columbia.

Haggard

When I looked in the mirror this morning, I didn’t recognize myself. Dark bags circle my eyes, my face is red and blotchy from the make-up I forgot to wash off and my hair is a tangled mop. There’s a paper cut on my stomach from falling asleep last night with my reporting notebook in my lap.

I looked downright haggard.

Now, I’m in the newsroom for my late GA shift and I can barely keep my eyes open and my mouth shut from yawning. I’m truly exhausted; do they have awake pills? I could use a few.

My to-do list for the week fills up an entire notebook page, but I don’t feel overwhelmed. I’m too tired to even comprehend how much I have to do. All I want is to take off this stiff professional jacket and slip into some cozy sweatpants and lay on my couch, listening to the rain pitter-patter on my living room window.

I feel like I don’t have time to take care of myself anymore. Sometimes I work all day just to realize at 10 o’clock at night that I haven’t eaten yet. They said this semester would be hard, but they didn’t say it would be draining. Draining like the water swirling down the sewer outside of Lee Hills Hall.

I’ve decided to take drastic measures. I’m clearing my entire Friday to rest – for the first time in a long time, I’m going to take a “mental health day.” The world, the Missourian, the after-school activities and everyday stress of life can wait. For just one day, I’m doing something for me.

bumps in the road

Julie and I met with our TA today about our multimedia idea on Truman and she loved it. The only dilemma is, our audio source, Susan, will not be available until next week. We are hoping to get all the photography and video done this week, the audio next week (and possibly some photos of Truman at the football game) so the last weekend we can edit, edit, edit. Luckily the video only has to be about two minutes long.

It’ll be intense, but what hasn’t been in the Missourian so far? Between the two of us, I’m sure we can figure it out and produce a quality piece.

multimedia project

This week marks the start of our semester multimedia project! My partner, Julie, and I sat down to brainstorm story ideas and landed a really good one – focusing on a behind-the-scenes look at Truman the Tiger. We both are so curious about how students can apply to be Truman, why it is such a honored position and what Truman means to the community as a whole.

We got ahold of Susan Thompson – who takes care of the cheerleading team and the mascot. We both want to blend video and audio slideshow in the project. Video of Truman running in the stadium at the beginning and running out or dancing at the end. In the middle would be still photos and audio of Susan talking because there are rules against Truman speaking or revealing his (the student’s) identity.

The subject would appeal to both MU and Columbia’s community – hopefully it turns out as well as we envision it to be.

good news

I got a call today from my editor and good news: she really loved my radio host story! After working so hard on it, it feels unbelievably awesome to hear her tell me my hard work paid off. However, I needed one more voice in my story so in an hour I called up three people, raced to the radio station and talked with Teresa Davis, program director at Clear 99. Her quotes were great and I had written them in the story and sent it back to my editor. We’re hoping it’ll be published by tomorrow, but if not it’s on the budget for Sunday’s front page!

Finally getting one published is inspiring – I feel like with one under my belt I have a renewed urge to power forward and keep chugging on. Hopefully my other stories soon to come will be just as solid as this first.

progress

I spent six hours doing work for the Missourian today. I completely re-edited the Scotty Cox story and re-wrote a draft of the Kathryn Fishman-Weaver teacher-sponsor story. I did a second interview over the phone with Fishman-Weaver and got all of my TRAX requests in.

The one thing I’m learning is how to juggle multiple stories while interviewing and working with photographers on the side of writing. Doing this, my time management has gotten increasingly better – I just hope this semester I have some time to relax for myself.

It’s nice to have a weight off my shoulders after today.

mixed feelings

I’m having mixed feelings. My pitch meeting this morning went really well with my ideas from yesterday being a hit. The downside was my editor meeting afterward; after being gone for a week, I feel behind. Apparently, I am behind because we couldn’t even do the student evaluation because I haven’t published anything yet.

Luckily, my editor is really hands-on and to get me back on track, we set up a meeting every day so I would constantly be working, focusing and publishing. Right now, I just want to print my Radio Host story on Scotty Cox because I’ve worked so hard on it.

My first step in that direction was the hour long, incredible interview I had with Angie today about Vault Denim. She had so many quirky stories about her business. I’m starting to feel a bit better after it.

reality returns

This will be a short post because I’m a bit stressed getting back to reality. But, I’m super excited because my pitches for this week are stellar.

I found one MU professor who started a program called PhotoVoice – a photography project for people with HIV/AIDs. The fliers are hanging all around Columbia and the idea is brilliant. Photos demonstrate how people ages 18-20s with HIV/AIDs view the world and spread their voice.

My second idea focuses on a woman who consults for Vault Denim jeans and started the first outlet in Columbia. Currently, she has about 700 pairs of jeans at her house, for women to view or reserve private parties. The business is so good, she can even sell the jeans out of the back of her Mini Cooper at Columbia Mall.

Indy: Day 5

We sat through journalism workshops all day today – which was a great closer to the week. I went to a workshop called Blogging for Bucks with the PlanetD bloggers. They focused on how to make WordPress blogs professional and the key ways to network with social media to get more hits, comments and followers.

They also laid out their business plan to how they got their blog to be such an influence in the travel industry. Now, Deb and Dave sold their home and live through a suitcase and backpack – literally. After the convention they’ll be back on a plain to Spain for a few months. It’s crazy to hear about what I call “intense freelancers” who travel for a living.