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Spring Break: Columbia, MO

I’m hanging out in a coffee place in South Columbia right now because my internet stopped working at home. The router is on the other side of the duplex, and it’s locked, so I’m SOL for now. I’ve had a fun few days of PA announcing for Mizzou Baseball and various shifts at KOMU. Mizzou Baseball won a big series against Texas A&M over the weekend and had a chance to complete the sweep on Sunday but fell short. They lost last night to Illinois-Chicago (very bad loss) and have a chance to redeem themselves this afternoon against the Flames. Should be very interesting. Meanwhile, I’ve been SLOWLY recovering from a terrible sinus infection – more on that later.

As for my KOMU shifts, I started the week on Monday with a VO Patrol. I had a few story ideas, but upon getting to KOMU I realized they had already been covered. After the story meeting, I found a story about the Missouri River Regional Library receiving a grant to update its website. I arranged an interview with the library’s manager, and it seemed fairly straightforward. After I got off the phone, Randy Reeves came up to me with a press release about a “DECA” conference in Lake Ozark – basically, a big gathering of high school students with an interest in marketing and business. It sounded good to me – I didn’t have anything else to do that day, and I was 100% up for a drive to the Lake. Randy also mentioned that the newscasts would be very light, so the more I can get, the better. I figured it would be an interesting story to at least talk to students and see how they feel about their efforts as the economy sags. I figured it would be a better story than the library grant, so I called the manager back and apologized, saying that something had come up and we had to try for another day. So, I gathered the gear and hit the road. As with most trips to the Lake, it was a nice drive but I was bummed that I lost reception on 1580 (ESPN Radio)!

The trip took me down US-54 into the Lake region. I drove across the Bagnell Dam, which I’ve never seen before, so it was pretty cool. The whole drive was pretty spectacular as well with elevation changes, curves, plenty of foliage, etc. I’d never really been into the heart of the Lake’s tourist areas, so this was a good opportunity to check it out. The main drag on Business loop 54 through Lake Ozark reminded me a lot of a combination of the Jersey Shore and Laconia, New Hampshire. Plenty of kitsch and riff-raff but most likely a lot of fun for everyone. I’ll have to get down there this summer to experience it in its full glory. But I digress.

I arrived at the Lodge at Four Seasons, and found my way inside. The media contact, Chris Young, was a recent Mizzou grad and he showed me around – overall he was very helpful. Here’s what was going on: students would be given a scenario and X amount of time to come up with a proposal or presentation on what they would do, then present it to various professionals from the business world. Their proposals would be judged, with the best groups or individual presentations earning a trip to the National conference in California. Entering the hotel, I was shocked at how many high schoolers were there. Kids from every corner of the state were dressed up in “professional” attire. Chris Young took me to a room where students would be presenting, so I set up in there and shot some video of different groups presenting their proposals. I thought my video was pretty good – it could have used some extra light, but I really liked my cutaways and sequences. It wasn’t the most visually-appealing story to tell, but I was able to get plenty of people in it – not BOPSA, but close ups and angles that I thought were good for showing the kids’ enthusiasm and efforts.

I interviewed several students from all over the viewing area. I met two young men from Hickman who had some interesting stuff to say – my one problem was that the lighting was not good. Their faces have a bit of shadow on them. I also didn’t frame one of them very well – part of his head got cut off on the aired story. It looked OK in Avid and on the camera, I’ll just have to remember to be more careful next time with the framing bars so that people with non-HD TVs can see it. I interviewed a few other students, and only used one more – a young woman from Tipton High, and she actually had a good bite. Two students from the KC Area had some filler comments, but I figured they wouldn’t be as good since they were not from the viewing area. Altogether I was pleased with this story. Holly Edgell said she liked how I mixed up my shots and sequences. My writing was decent but Kent Collins suggested making my lead more interesting for one version. It was something to the effect of “Your intro line just says ‘conference’ and boring stuff. Make it more interesting.” I definitely agree with him – in retrospect I would have changed that. I also learned that “Lake of the Ozarks” is not a town or city, so my locator at the beginning was wrong for the 5 and 6. Stacey Woelfel and I changed it to “Lake Ozark” instead for the 10. To be fair, the Tiger Chairs did not catch it for the 5 and 6, so I feel like it’s an innocent mistake, but I should have known better. So, I felt good about that shift and hope I can enjoy future shifts as much as I did on Monday. I was basically at KOMU from 7:45am to at least 7:00pm – no problem at all, I enjoyed it. Here’s the link.

Tuesday’s VO patrol was a completely different story.

As I mentioned above, I have been suffering from a TERRIBLE sinus infection that leaves me severely congested, coughing, and in general very tired. I’ve been suffering from it for over two weeks, just trying to soldier through it, and it had improved somewhat, but not nearly to the point where I can be 100% active. I finally got so fed up with it on Tuesday morning that I made a doctor’s appointment for the afternoon, so I didn’t have much time to put in at KOMU like I did on Monday.

So, I went out to shoot some video for the red light camera contract approval in Columbia. What I didn’t know was that those cool little cameras on top of various intersections in Columbia don’t actually record red light runners – they just “monitor” traffic. So, essentially I had barely any good video to use for the VO because most of my video was of traffic cameras in Columbia. I managed to overcome that with some crappy sign shots – Providence, Business Loop 70, Rangeline, etc. and several generic shots of traffic lights. No sources called me back for this story, and in the limited time I had before my doctor’s appointment, I couldn’t wait around for someone to get back to me, so I went without a SOT for the 5, 6, and 10. I also noticed I had several typos in the script – “the average fine is could cost close to one hundred and twenty two dollars.” Obviously, the “is could” is not good. Maybe I’m being hard on myself, but I’m honestly embarrassed by my work on Tuesday. I just hope I can get back in there and do a better job tomorrow when I GA report.

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