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May 27 – Rummaging for a Story

I had a few interesting story ideas, but we couldn’t find a way to spin them into a story, so I began looking at something Jen suggested, which was a story on how a Boonville health clinic received an $80,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health while its doctor was supposedly on probation with the State Health board (I could not confirm this – we received this in a tip from a viewer, so I had no way of verifying it in time to turn the story in a day). The doctor also received notoriety in October 2008 throughout Mid-MO for losing her license to prescribe controlled substances like Oxycodone. So naturally, it brings up questions for us to see a doctor with this kind of a record receiving grant money. A call to the Missouri Foundation for Health resulted in me leaving a long voicemail for their spokesperson, and a few hours later receiving a long voicemail explaining that the organization is “investigating” how the grant was given to the doctor’s clinic (Dancing Horizons) while issuing a “no comment” on the other aspects of the story. Jen and I agreed it would be better to do this story as an HFR, since it’s clearly interesting but it needs more time to seek out. There’s also no true “today” angle to it since the clinic received the grant in early May. So, the best we could find was the Rummage sale coming up on Saturday.

I went out to shoot some video and interview people there. I found several people who could speak on camera and they said some good stuff – worthy of making a package out of it. Upon returning to KOMU, the producers and I discussed going live at 5 and 6 – which sounded cool to me, so I was all for it. I cut a SOT for the 5 and 6, scripted a reader, and headed up to Memorial Stadium for the live shot. Since I’d already done a live shot before (speeding ticket story), it didn’t feel too wild or crazy. I think my 6 shot went better than the 5 because I had it planned out better. Instead of grabbing something next to me to show on-camera, I simply held what I considered a good pair of shoes and showed how much they were for sale when the shot came to me. I was glad that we had SOMETHING to show – so our live shot was not worthless. I’d say I learned on-the-fly that keeping it simple for a live shot, and being able to show SOMETHING, are really important to a successful shot.

Upon getting back to the station I cut a package, which was pretty easy. It was shorter than the 1:10 I was given (about :53), but I think it’s always easier for the anchors and producers to finish light than finish heavy. Plus, sports or weather always want extra time, so for a pretty weak story I was happy to have squeezed this much out of it. It felt very applicable to how Jack Nicholson quotes John Lennon in The Departed, “I’m an artist [or journalist, in my case]. You give me a f!@#$%^ tuba [pronounced ‘toober’], I’ll getcha somethin’ out of it.”

The 5 and 6 versions aired in the A block, with a live headline for each at the beginning of the show. The package for the 10 was in the B block.

I really need to find some good story ideas for next week.

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