Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thanks Andrew

I just googled my name to see what would come up, and I found Andrew McKibbon's blog about a recent story I did for KOMU. It was by far the most emotionally draining story I have EVER completed. I did my best to work with twitter and the station's website to enhance my story, and my producer (Andrew) and Mid-Missouri viewers responded well.

Here's what my producer Andrew had to say:

Ain't No Hollenbeck Girl

I just want to say that what Sarah Hollenbeck did during her Friday reporting shift was phenomenal. Not only did she do a very good job of telling a very difficult story, but she kept in mind and exemplified some of the things we're been talking about in both Jen and Kent's classes recently.

'One day in the near future, there will be no such thing as a lead story, because viewers will already know all about anything worthy of being the lead.'

Sarah was in Holts Summit all day to cover the deadly house fire. I was producing so I didn't have to be at the station until 12:30. But when I woke up at 10, I arbitrarily checked my Twitter and saw that Sarah had tweeted 3 times already about the fire. From there, I went to our website to see information there as well. Kent has said in class that we should have reporters calling the station by 11 a.m. to get preliminary info about their stories on the web. Sarah obviously had been doing this all morning.

Perhaps it's just because our in-class discussions are so fresh in my mind, but this really stood out to me as a great attempt on Sarah's part to practice this new-fangled 'multi-platform' journalism everyone seems to be talking about. And it didn't take away from her story. She did excellent reporting and had an excellent lead story at 5 and 6, but she still took the time to update on the web, too.

At the end of the day, Sarah (presumably) checked her Twitter for the first time in several hours. I heard her say from across the room saying how cool it was to see that people around mid-Missouri had been retweeting her tweets all day. That comment really proved to me the potential worth of Twitter if we use it correctly. I must say that I doubted its effectiveness at first because I didn't really understand what we were supposed to use it for. I thought it was just another way to redirect people to our website. That may be true, too, but I was impressed to see how quickly we could get out the biggest news of the day by far via Twitter.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jen Reeve's Encourages "Google-ability"

My wonderful professor Jen Reeves wrote a great blog post about making her students more "google-able". Check it out here: "assessing the journalists of tomorrow".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Website Up & Running

My website is officially up. Check it out here. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Editing, Anchoring & Geocaching

During my KOMU dot com shift this week I finished the script for my interactive story about growth and development in Columbia. The story focuses on the costs and benefits that can result from new infrastructure in the city. Matt Thompson, the Missouri School of Journalism fellow heading the project, changed my script to have it resemble a story-telling format. He shot me on camera reading the script and advised me to edit it in a quick pace with jump cuts. The style was quite different for me. I'm used to editing in a traditional news style, but Matt thought this type would be more catchy for the web. I stayed at KOMU-TV 8 until 5am Friday night editing the multi-media piece and adding footage to the story. There's a couple snippets of video I'd like to add, but for the most part the video is complete. We plan to have it up on the website this week in time for our town launch meeting. At the meeting Thursday night, we'll have panelists speak about key issues concerning growth and development in the city. I hope members of the public show up!

This week I also shot a story for KOMU news about geocaching. This is a type of "treasure hunting" for adults. Hunters use GPS systems to locate Tupperware containers called "letterboxes". Inside they find a card which they stamp to show they found the box. They then re-hide the letterbox for the next hunter. I found a man who actually drove to Columbia from Saint Louis to take part in the hunt. The man said he's participated in more than 1,800 hunts within the last two years. You can watch that story by clicking here.

Yesterday (Saturday) I anchored the 6pm newscast with Brandon Lewis. This was the first newscast we have done together since MUTV freshman year in college. The newscast went really well, but there was some awkward silence at the end where we should have chatted. I guess we'll have to work on that for next week.

Additionally, I sent out my first three resume tapes this week. I find it tough to have enough time to apply to the stations I am interested in, but perhaps I'll find a bit of time to send out more resumes/DVDs/cover letters this week. Wish me luck, blog followers!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Long Awaited Update

It has been far too long since I have updated my blog. 

Here's what I've been up to:

1. Working on the interactive website "Columbia Tomorrow". We are creating the site as an asset for Columbia, MO residents to learn more about growth and development and what the city will look like in 10-20 years. I personally am working on a multi-media video comparing and contrasting the costs and benefits of new developments in the city. I spoke with a family that recently moved into the Vanderveen Subdivision (a development which required an extension of sewer lines, the expansion of roads and a large amount of new infrastructure) about the fees passed onto them by the developer when they moved into their new home. I also spoke with city council member Barbara Hoppe. Hoppe is a proponent for Smart Growth, and believes in expanding up instead of out. Subdivisions such as Vanderveen, she says require too much new infrastructure and tax payers shouldn't have to bear the extra costs. The story itself will explain this fine line between new infrastructure / residents to the city not having to pay too much of the costs passed on from developers and taxpayers not wanting to be burdened with higher taxes for projects they won't obtain a direct benefit from (as explained by members of Smart Growth). The story is completely shot. I plan to write and edit the script this week.

2. I have continued with my dayside reporting shifts on Fridays. Since my last post, I have reported on two different issues. The first was a great story about local volunteers helping to move an old barn to its new location at the Columbia Fairgrounds. I love the way the story turned out. I shot the entire story, and I had a chance to be creative and really show off my shooting skills. This story is now the top story on my resume tape. Click here to watch it. This past Friday I was able to report on another interesting topic. That morning, I heard on NPR that financial analysts were predicting America would come out of the recession earlier than we had anticipated. Additionally, home costs are holding steady. When I made my way into KOMU, I noticed we had a press release from The Jefferson City Homebuilders Association talking about how there has never been a better time to purchase a home in Mid-Missouri. I shot this story (click here to watch it) and was able to combine the two bits of information.

3. Just this week, I started a new anchoring shift at KOMU-8. I will be anchoring the 6pm on Saturdays until the end of May. Here's a short VO I wrote and anchored. 

4. I am also continuing to work on my resume website. I am very close to being finished. I am encountering some problems with adding SWF files to the site to show off a couple flash graphics I have put together for KOMU-8. I am designing my website with WIX, but I have been very unsatisfied with their customer service and with the site building capabilities (only certain levels of SWF may be uploaded, PDF files are not supported etc.) As soon as my link is up, I will post it here.

5. I have finished the fifth draft of my resume DVD and am now very satisfied with it. I have only sent it out to one news director (David Duitch at The 33 TV in Dallas, TX) but I have provided copies to a couple of my mentors for review (Frank Whittaker, news director WMAQ Chicago, Art Norman, reporter WMAQ Chicago and Patricia Doherty-Wildner, CEDA Vice President.)

6. Tomorrow I plan to print new business cards for my trip to the RTNDA@NAB conference. The new cards will have my website and twitter name. I also changed my title from "reporter" to "multi-media reporter" in attempts to make myself more marketable and to promote my shooting/editing/web production skills. The conference begins April 19 and will continue through the 22nd.

This month, I also realized just how much I love shooting. I used to dread shooting my own stories, but in the past couple months or so I've really found a passion for video journalism. I'm excited to (hopefully) hold a backpack journalist position in the near future. I believe the job will suit me well.