Stepping into the world of journalism

As my first week of interning has come to an end, I decided it would be the perfect time to finally start writing in this blog.

I first started a blog in eighth grade and it slowly faded towards the beginning of college, and now looking back, it’s fun to laugh at all the trivial things in high school that were blown out of proportion. This blog though, will serve a very different purpose: A looking glass into anything and everything journalistic. My love for journalism began in high school, and though I may have been sidetracked by other dreams (being a bagpiper didn’t quite work out, and you can scratch rapper off the list), I always knew I wanted to be a journalist.

In this blog, I hope to take you on my journey through the crazy world of journalism and give you a chance to relive all the enlightening experiences I may encounter.

Monday began my first day at WMAQ in Chicago. Sunday night I tossed and turned worrying about, well what would be logical to worry about before your first internship? Okay, I didn’t worry about the internship itself, but more that I was going to catch the wrong bus or get off at the wrong stop. You can’t have an internship without being there right? I didn’t want to be some country girl lost in the middle of the city crying my eyes out.

Despite my worries I made it there just fine, even 45 minutes early. The first thing I learned was there wasn’t much room for love of a Mizzou student in Chicago. Lora, the Director of Integrated Media and my boss for this summer, introduced me to the others in the newsroom.

“Guess what she is?” Lora asked an unnamed subject. “A Mizzou Tiger!”

“What, you couldn’t get into Northwestern?” he responded jokingly, the entire newsroom bursted into laughter. A warm welcome, one that I hoped I would be remembered for. (Side note: I never did apply to Northwestern. My heart was set on Mizzou the first time I saw it.) Everybody I have met though has been sweet and has made me felt accepted as one of them.

After setting up everything that needed to be set up, email, different accounts, and having to call India to fix login problems, I was given my first story to write. It was a light story, a good way for me to practice the “blog meets article” style used on Click here to read my first article: “Free Concerts In The Park All Summer Long”.

The next morning Lora wanted me to be in the newsroom by 8:30 to attend a meeting. Everything was running smoothing until once in Chicago, I realized the bus I had taken the day before was not running until 8:30.

Thus, I boarded another bus, called up my handy-dandy, always available boyfriend who adores public transportation/is good at it and asked where to get off. From there I experienced a nice long walk through the rain and wind. I missed the marketing meeting, but attended the next meeting with another web editor.

This meeting, the morning buzz meeting, I was picked on a little more for being from Mizzou. “Did you know Chase Daniels? What is he up to these days?” one asked me. I also received an apology from the unnamed subject, while others who hadn’t been there asked him to repeat what he had said.

During the day I worked on a slideshow about Patti Blagojevich’s trials on the reality show “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” (mostly her journey down the Costa Rican river). Click here to see the slideshow, lower left of the page.

I also had the honor of writing about one of the best restrooms right here in Chicago. Click here to read “Toilet Talk: Drake Hotel Makes List”.

Wednesday night I dreamed I interviewed Obama and had to write about it. That’s when I knew I was officially engulfed in the news world for the summer.

On Thursday, I had to be into the station at 10. That morning I didn’t have to wake up until six, but at 5:40 my mom walks into the room and asks why I’m not up yet. Being completely asleep and out of it, I bolt up thinking I have to leave at six to catch my train. I ran around the house trying to get ready in 20 minutes. Must straighten my hair. In a rush, I accidentally clamp my 400 degree iron onto my ear…. twice. I rip the tags off of some newly bought clothes that I’m not sure I really like yet and run back into the bathroom to finish getting ready. That’s when I notice the clock, 5:55, stop and think. Walking out into the kitchen I yell out, “Now I know why my alarm never went off. I didn’t have to be up until 6!” With a stinging brown burnt ear, I calmly get ready for the day.

That morning I attended another meeting that really gave me a lot of insight into how the web works and how it reaches out to its viewers. During the meeting, we mostly spoke about something that I won't be able to talk about until a very much later date.

Later that day I worked on my style for the Web site by writing about Rod Blago’s appearance on Larry King the night before. Though it was heavily edited, I am slowly catching onto the style that isn’t just strict, down to the core, facts.Click here to read “Blago: Patti Eating Tarantula “An Act of Love”.

Because I received the pictures I needed, I also was able to post the story I had been working on Tuesday about two women in Florida who started a trend for the unemployed. Click here to read “No Job? Wear It On Your Sleeve” and to view the slideshow.

On Friday morning, I met with the news director from WREX in Rockford. This time I did get a little lost finding the station, but the best thing about television stations in the middle of nowhere is you can just follow the large towers. Down the road from WREX, I ran into WTVO first, but continued onto the next large tower.

Next week I start my internship at WREX. My duties will include editing, writing, shadowing reporters, working for the web and all around learning about how this industry works. By the end, if my abilities suffice, I will have the opportunity to cut packages and do some reporting.

So a look back at a couple of lessons I learned this week:

Monday: Calm down on getting to places. It’s easier to ride public transportation in the city than I thought. Nothing to lose a night’s sleep over. Also don’t bother to mention I go to Mizzou, unless I’m ready to face the consequences.

Wednesday: Set two alarms, don’t be lazy about it. I’m lucky this time it only cost me a burnt ear, next time I might not be so lucky…

More lessons to come…

"Video of the Week"

Each week I would like to sign off with a “video of the week” that I feel has been a significant event for the week, is something definitely worth looking at, is interesting or just down right funny.

This week I couldn’t pass up posting this video. I’m sure everybody has already seen it, but it’s worth having to look back at and remember in a few years. It’s the video that appeared on The O’Rielly Factor, Countdown With Keith Olbermann, ABC World News and on stations/radio stations all over the country this week.

While at my meeting on Friday with the news director, she asked what kind of classes I have taken. I told her some basic journalism classes, but most of my experience I have received has been at KOMU. She started to laugh and said, "I don't know if you have seen it, but somebody sent me a link this morning of a reporter from your station getting sprayed on his live-shot." My whole face turned red and I had to explain what my relation was to him…

A few minutes after this liveshot took place, I received a text saying, “You’ll never believe what happened this morning!” On my train ride in, I heard all about it. I don’t need to re-explain it though. Take a look:

Wet KOMU 8 Live Shot from KOMU News on Vimeo.


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