On Monday, I reported on the Wi-Fi Sensors Inc. company’s announcement that it will buy a plant in Kirksville to begin manufacturing, you guessed it, wi-fi sensors. It’s big news for an area that has been hit hard lately by unemployment. While Adair County’s unemployment rate is lower than Missouri’s average, it has shot up in recent months, so the prospect of about 100 new jobs meant a busy day at the Missouri Career Center in Kirksville. I pitched the idea and Stacey liked it – and I had no problem making the drive to Kirksville. Even if it’s not quite within our viewing area, it’s still news for people in Moberly, Macon, or other towns within commuting distance to Kirksville.
I must have made about 25 phone calls while on the way to Kirksville. I was surprised to lose cell phone service several times on 63 between Columbia and the Sturgeon exit – to the point I lost a call – but I was able to gather a lot of information about the best place to go for the story. While at the station, one source I spoke with mentioned the company selling the building, Hollister, was very weird about media coverage. He said the plant manager skipped town once it was announced Wi-Fi Sensors would buy the building, and they’ve been “unavailable” for comment all weekend. So my plan was to go to the Missouri Career Center and see if people were applying for the jobs to try and humanize the story that way. Since the Hollister building is on 63 right as you come into Kirksville, I got a wide shot and some sign shots from the outer edge of its property. We (I had a shadow with me) drove into their parking lot and I went inside to try and find someone to talk to, but no one from either Wi-Fi or Hollister answered my calls.
So, we hit the road to the Career Center on Normal St. When we arrived, I was shocked to see how many people were inside waiting to fill out applications. But, Wi-Fi had not given the Career Center applications, so all it could do is have interested people leave their names and contact information, and they’d be contacted once the applications came in. So we walked in and pretty much found a CCC immediately – a guy who was looking for a new job and who claimed to be very passionate about electronics. He mentioned that he had taken apart an iPod, a TV, computers, and several other things, so I pretty much knew he’d make for a great CCC and humanizer. I also interviewed several other people – the supervisor of the Career Center, who talked about how busy the day was, and 2 older women who wanted to apply. The 2 women didn’t say anything very poignant or interesting – I’m guessing they were nervous about the camera because they gave very short answers even though I really tried to ask easy, open-ended questions. Eventually we left the Career Center and headed back towards Columbia. I shot a standup on the sidewalk across from the Hollister building because I didn’t want to be on their property without permission. I didn’t want to get in trouble for trespassing when it was obvious the company, for whatever reason, didn’t want attention or coverage. And since I had already gotten a few shots from its property, I didn’t want to risk any more.
After that, we headed back to Columbia. Everything was pretty routine once back at the station. I was the “new at 6″ and just had to do a package for it, and a vo/sot for the 10. I was very happy with how the shift went. For a story that was somewhat odd in that I had no one from the companies involved on camera, I was able to humanize it enough to make it a lot more interesting than it would have been if I had some talking head from Wi-Fi or Hollister. Both aired in the A block.