Even Bacon Requires Research

On Monday, when I was asked to write a story about Baconfest, a festival for bacon in Chicago, I thought “yuum Baaacon…”. After collecting the facts about Baconfest and writing everything but the lead, I had to come up with an unboring (I’m making that a word) lead that didn’t just consist of the main facts about the event.

As I stared at the Word document mind-numbingly, brain blank, it finally occurred to me… I might just have to do some research on the bacon lovers of America to curse away my writers-block.

What I found was almost shocking… if you would like to know how obsessed some people are with bacon
click here to read “Bacon Get Its Day”.

After a little bit of research, I no longer had the urge for a slice of bacon. I ended my article, “Pencil in some time around Christmas for the angioplasty” ... anangioplasty certainly didn’t sound so pleasing to me… I researched a few more funky festivals to add to the article, but were eventually stripped to shorten it. Can you believe they have a world pillow fighting championship in Kenwood, California? (more of an unusual competition than a festival) Players knock their opponents off a giant wooden pole into a pool of slimy mud with a pillow. Another wacky festival is the humugus fungus fest… Crystal Falls, Michigan holds this festival every year to celebrate the largest mushroom in the world. It spans 38 acres and weighs 100 tons. A good reason to celebrate I suppose…

An educational lesson came out of all this. Not only did I learn that people take the time to get a bacon tattoo done, but I learned that even something as simple as bacon can require research. I feel that even if it’s only a short article that has to be written, it can only be as good as the research the writer takes times to get. Or in the case of reporting, the amount of facts they gather from sources. Enough about bacon.

When I walked into the newsroom of WMAQ on Monday I ran into my friend, anchor and reporter, Dick Johnson. I have spoken to him over email and he has helped me to get the internship that I have there, but I haven’t seen him since my senior year of high school when I first toured WMAQ. I met Dick at the NISPA/JEA National Journalism Convention hosted in Chicago my junior year. (Also where I met ABC 7’s Kevin Roy who convinced me to go to Mizzou). He recognized me and I had hoped, four years later, this wasn’t a bad thing.

Flashback to the past…

Dick and I my junior year… back when I liked my hair curly… ewww. I was clearly exhausted that day.

Senior year during my visit....

And why I think Dick is a such a great guy...

My two hopes are: Dick just has a really good memory and maybe only sort of recognized me and I hope to be able to shadow Dick a few times this summer.

When I started my day, I was asked to write an article about a women whose tires were slashed and the word “Nazi” scratched into the trunk of her car. It was nice to get something serious to write about. I love crime stories as well. Click here to read “Woman finds “Nazi” etched into Cadillac”.

On Tuesday, one of the web editors sent me a list of stories that she felt would be interesting to write about and I had the option to choose whichever ones I wanted to write about.

I decided to start off with a story about a domestic violence shelter that is going to be closed if the partial budget is passed by state Legislature. It would cut their funds in half, making it impossible to keep their services going. They held a protest outside the shelter last week.

It’s something I felt was important that wasn’t getting much exposure. I’m all about writing on issues that have a large impact on people’s lives. That is news right?

Click here to read “Shelter That Saves Lives Fights For Its Own”.

A story was written in the Chicago Tribune that I decided to rewrite about as well…
Click here to read “Brides to Keep Running at Filene’s".

Lastly, I pumped out one more story for the day. How a Lincoln document ended up in Hawaii back when it was a kingdom fascinated me. Though it was extremely hard to localize it, even if Honest Abe is from Illinois, I did the best I could.

Click here to read “Lincoln Document Baffles Nation”.

I also gathered the contact information for about thirty boutiques in Chicago.
The other intern who starts this week and I will be going out and writing about them. We will be taking some still pics and videos for the Web site, and getting the stores favorite fab five outfits of the season or something of that sort.

Well, not to cut this short (haha like this has been short), but I must be up a few hours to get ready for another day in Chicago. Expect the second half of my week at WREX and video of the week to be posted in a few days!


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