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Reflection on 5/25 shift

What began for me as a slow news day ended as an interesting but very emotionally tough shift. In the story meeting, I wasn’t sure what I could really do besides Memorial Day events, and an MU Baseball NCAA tournament selection show watch party. I went with the watch party idea, but upon arriving there, we found Chris Gervino was already there and had plans to cover it, so we had to go with something else. I ended up going to cover the arrival of the “Missing in America Project” motorcycle riders in Kingdom City. I thought it was a pretty cool event and story – a different way to pay tribute to fallen veterans on Memorial Day. Basically, the group finds deceased veterans who never received a formal military burial. They were transporting 3 cremains from California to Arlington National Cemetery in Northern Virginia, and stopped in Kingdom City to refuel and grab a bite to eat. I felt I shot some good video and interviewed some interesting people, so I was pleased with what I had going back to the station. It was very easy to write a vo/sot for the 5, a package for the 6, and another vo/sot for the 10 because I felt I had plenty of good video and enough of a story to tell with what I found. I’d say the biggest thing I learned on Monday was to ALWAYS PUT THE PROPER GRAPHIC TIMES IN iNEWS!!!! I got chewed out in the post-newscast meeting, and rightfully so because my times were about 8-9 seconds off. There’s no excuse for that out of me, and I was frustrated. I had cut that amount of video out of the original sequence after I voiced it, and never went back to change the times even after printing a copy for the director. Naturally, I was pretty annoyed with myself for not properly scripting it. Also, I used “Hwy” instead of “Highway” in the 5’s vo/sot locator – something I specifically checked for and confirmed as correct in the iNews script tips and during the Tiger Chair check, but apparently we got it wrong. This was also very frustrating for me, because I felt I did all the right things as a reporter to check, double-check, and check with someone else before it aired, but I (not anyone else, these mistakes are totally on me at the end of the day) still got it wrong.

As I wrote above I found it to be an emotionally trying shift. I felt fine all the way up until when I sat down and began to write my web story when I was able to reflect on the day. Since it was Memorial Day, and we aired an incredibly moving Honor Flight story, the magnitude of what I covered started to hit home. I found the notion that hundreds of motorcyclists were riding across the country in convoy to transport 3 honored, but forgotten soldiers’ cremains to be really touching. Combine that with the Honor Flight story, and the faucets began running, so to speak, in my eyes. I found this link on the “Missing in America Project” blog, and I really lost it. So many people have died serving their country yet no one knows their stories, their families, their sacrifices and heroism, and it’s my role as a journalist to seek out those people. That’s what was tough for me – the incredible, sometimes unfulfillable burden we have to convey this realm to people. I felt my story, and the Honor Flight story, were a valiant attempt at seeking that grain of truth. It took me a few hours and a long phone conversation with my Mom to really accept and acknowledge this.

All 3 stories aired in the A blocks of the 5 (A-10), 6 (A-10), and 10 (A-18).

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