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Tuberculosis comes through in the clutch

So yesterday, Monday, I pitched the story of a kid in Camdenton who won a car as a reward for his excellent attendance at Lake Career Technical Center. We decided to go with this story, so I called the LCTC and spoke with a woman who said she would pass along my info to the supervisor of the place, who apparently would be available mid-morning. She also said she would give my information to the instructor at LCTC who refurbished the spiffy 2007 Pontiac G6 as part of a mechanic training class. So, I left KOMU for the hour and 40 minute drive with the understanding I would be getting a phone call. I did not receive one, and when I pulled into the LCTC I called the number again. The same woman answered and told me very matter-of-factly that the supervisor would be “unavailable”, the mechanic instructor at home, and no one else in the building because of summer hours. Needless to say, I was not pleased. With no chance to contact the kid who won the car, and the unhelpful secretary denying any opportunity to speak with an official, I was pretty much SOL. I knew the “escaped” alligator in Versailles was a possibility as a backup story, but the producers didn’t want to do it, so I headed back to Columbia.

I spoke with Stacey while driving back and he said he found an AP release on the “economic stress index”, a measure of economic output in every county in the U.S. When I got back to the station I began to prowl around iNews for a link to the graphic/interactive map, but I couldn’t find it. So, I spent about 45 minutes calling several AP numbers to figure it out, and finally a customer service rep emailed me the link – but by that point, we received a fax in the newsroom about a press conference at University Hospital with very vague wording – to the point that Randy thought something serious was going on, and to an extent, he was right. With a feeling it could be Swine Flu/H1N1, we (I had a shadow with me all day) immediately went up to the Hospital. We hung out in the conference room for a little while (as once again KMIZ showed up last) and every MU J-School affiliate was well represented. KBIA, KOMU, and the Missourian all were there about a half hour before the presser began! It began and we were given folders with the official writeup of what had happened – a hospital worker contracted “active” tuberculosis and had apparently been in contact with patients and other employees while carrying the disease. I immediately Tweeted the news to KOMU and sent a similar text to Meredith Miller – the only producer I had in my phone. She sent me back a few questions she wanted to know as a producer, which was excellent. I liked being on the same page at the same time we were in the presser. The other journalists in the room were on the same page, as they asked very similar questions to what Meredith wanted to know. There was basically no video at all to get besides the geezers talking in the press conference, so we booked it back to KOMU as the presser ended.

Once we got back, it was really easy to write a reader/gfx for the 5, a vo/sot/gfx for the 6, and a vo/sot for the 10. I had a lot of help from the producers, so it went well. Overall it was a crazy shift but it ended up going well, and I’m happy I had a lot of help to make it work. All 3 aired in the A blocks.

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