Jefferson City Officials Certify Petition; Not In Time For Ballot

Not one of my finer stories, but one I have been covering over the course of a year...

View the video below.

Previous stories about the issue can be found here:


Digging Deep And Finding The Real Story

The news is in and it's official --- University of Missouri tailback Derrick Washington's arraignment has been set for Sept. 23 after he was charged with deviate sexual assault, a class C felony.

But the news isn't exactly... "new."

Last week the Columbia Missourian posted the story after Missouri head coach Coach Gary Pinkel refused to speak about why he indefinitely suspended Washington. All other news outlets reported he had suspended Washington, but didn't give a reason as to why. The Missourian, however, obtained court documents (exercising their rights!) and figured out why.

From word of mouth, I heard another local news outlet was upset with the Missourian for posting the story. They called the reporting "irresponsible." But what part of doing research and informing the public is irresponsible?

I do agree with Coach Gary Pinkel's decision to protect his players and not tell the press why he indefinitely suspended Washington. But Washington is a public figure, and if you've done your digging and your research, and you are 110 percent sure your facts are right then I say go for it.

Isn't it our responsibility as journalists to not just take no as an answer? Washington is a pretty big player for the Tigers and I'm sure the public would want to know what could cause an indefinite suspension. He was the one who knowingly took on the role as a public figure.

So congrats to the Missourian for doing their research and for all those other outlets calling it "irresponsible reporting"... it isn't irresponsible until the facts are wrong.

As for Washington, if he did do it he should face the consequences. If not, I hope he is able to clear the charges and move on with his life.

Top Ten Hardest Things About Being A Reporter

If you've ever thought about being a reporter you may want to know you can never truly know what it's like until you've done it. (And thanks to Flickr for the perfect picture to the left... exactly what it's all about!)

After completing my reporting shift this past week, I took time to reflect upon what I think is the hardest parts about being a reporter. Of course this can vary from one reporter to another, but for all of us there are some certain things we can agree upon to be difficult. In this list I'm about to show you, these are things that maybe only I believe to be difficult, but for some I can certainly say all reporters believe these aspects to be difficult.

And now... in no particular order... I bring you: "The Top Ten Hardest Things About Being A Reporter!"

1) Interviewing talkers who want you to know anything and everything. On a hard deadline it can be difficult to sort through a plethora of information and so most of the time, unless it's a follow-up, we just want the basics and good little facts or stories that make our story unique. If we have to cut you off, it's probably not because we don't like talking to you, it's just we only have have a small amount of time. Speaking with very talkitive people also means, as a broadcast journalist, you must be very good at picking out the most important facts in your story... you only have a minute to a minute thirty to tell your story!

2) Going from talkative people to people who don't want to talk at all! Sometimes it can very difficult to find sources. This is why it's good for journalists to build up a list of sources. This can mean taking the chief of police out to dinner or even just asking how their kids are doing the next time we see them. Building personal relationships with our sources is key to building trust with others. If they can help us, hopefully sometime there will be a time when we can help them!

3) Video poor stories. It's nothing new... to tell a good story a broadcast journalist must have good video and as we all know that's very rarely possible. Sometimes you get stuck with stories containing an abundance of numbers or stories where the action has already happened and all the evidence is cleared, such as covering a robbery the next day. This is where the creativity comes in. How can you find video that will tell the viewers exactly what you're trying to say? Who can you talk to that will make your story come alive?

4) Chasing down a story that turns out not to be a story at all. It happens to all of us. We see something or find something we think could turn out spectacular. We start making phone calls after phone calls until we find out there was no story there at all. The best thing to do in situations like these is to wait pitching the stories to your assignment editor and find a day in advance if it's really a story. If you pitch it and they like it... by the time you finishing making your phone calls, finding out it's not a story at 2 p.m., you'll be running around like a chicken with your head cut off looking for a new story to get done by 5.

5) Keeping your cool on camera, when really everything isn't cool at all. Everybody has their bad days, if someone told me they didn't I'd never believe them. As a broadcast journalist though, no matter what kind of day you've had (and you can be sure we have lots of bad ones!), you're expected to come on camera with a smile on your face, your makeup and hair all pretty, and ready to present your story in a calm professional manner.

6) Deadline... and working well under pressure. It's 30 minutes to showtime and you just sat down to write your story. You grab some quick SOTs, write your story as best as you can, voice it, crash edit it, and transfer it just in time. There might be a few jump cuts and some passive voice, but you just hope it isn't too districting to the viewers. Unfortunately, days like these aren't too uncommon in the news world. As a journalist you are expected to have a story everyday no matter what. I'm a perfectionist, and I've learned you definitely can't expect to have a master piece everyday.

7) Everybody knows... technology can be amazing, but it doesn't always work. If you get into broadcast journalism, you must expect this. Cameras break, tripods break, computers crash, etc. And as I said before, no matter what happens with your equipment or your story, you're still expected to have a story done by its deadline. Your microphone breaks while you're out on an interview? Find another way to capture the sound. You're computer crashes right before show time? You better have saved it and checked it into another editing bay. Always know your options and never freak out when something breaks.

8) Working those not-so-regular hours. When you 9 to 5 workday folks are out to the beach on a hot Saturday afternoon with your family or talking a nice evening jog on a weekday, it's a safe bet to say new journalists will be in the newsroom working. Unless you've worked many-a-years in the business, a normal workday isn't 9 to 5 (and even veterans won't get out until 6:30 p.m.). It's more like whatever-your-boss-tells-you-to-do workday. This could mean on Sunday's you work mornings from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday's 3:15 a.m. to 11 a.m., Tuesday's 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday's 3:15 p.m. until 11:15 p.m. and so on... Your assignment manager can call you in early if he wants or can keep you late if there's breaking news. If you want to be a journalist, expect to miss birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, New Year's Eves, and any other big event.

The way I look at it though, even if I have to miss all those holidays, I still have the best job in the world.

9) Facing difficult stories on topics such as death or trying to cover a story we know nothing about. I'm a very curious person and love to learn new things everyday, but even sometimes I get a little freaked out when I'm expected to cover a story I know nothing about or don't know who to contact to understand it. We have a limited amount of time to try and talk to everybody we can to make the story unbiased. We also must use that time to find out all we can about the story. People expect us to experts on every story we cover. The truth is, we aren't experts, but we do the best we can in giving you the facts on what we know.

As for facing difficult stories and interviewing those who have just dealt with a tragedy, I've covered the topic of disconnecting yourself from your story before in this blog. Click here to read "The Art Of Detaching Yourself From Your Stories."

10) Being a girl and a one man band sometimes I wonder if they expect us to be she-mans. In the real world tripods and cameras are each thirty pounds. Sixty pounds on my back everyday is a sure reason for a call to the chiropractor. But even if I wasn't a girl, it wouldn't matter... being a one man band is hard for anyone. In just a short course of a few hours, one man bands are expected to do one million and one jobs. Okay, not that many but sometimes it feels like it. We are expected to find our own sources, set up interview times with our sources, research our story, talk on the phone and take notes while driving to the locations (could be right in town to a few hours away), shoot all our own video while also trying to interview multiple people and think out what our story is about, tweet every so often, have our web story up before our story airs, write, script and edit our own stories, and finally be that cool, calm, and collected I told you about before when the show airs.

This is just some of the stuff we do... all in a sweaty day's of work.

To all the reporters out there... what would be on your list?

Indiana Gov. Rides Motorcycle To Raise Safety Awareness and Donations

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels rode across the state on his motorcycle with at least 500 others to raise money for the Indiana National Guard, as well as talk about bike safety. The American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) ride is done each year. This year riders began at the Capitol and stopped in Brookston and Fair Oaks, before arriving here in Plymouth at Swan Lake Resort:


Dew Tour 2010 In Pictures

Nike 6.0 BMX Open in Chicago, IL


Young BMX Pro Reaching New Heights

Most 15-year-olds spend their summer hanging out with their friends, but for one South Bend teen... he spends his summer traveling the world and competing in BMX competitions.

Brett "Maddog" Banasiewicz is the youngest BMX pro to ever compete and win a medal in the Alli Sports "Dew Action Tour".

I went to Chicago during the Dew Tour to catch up with this extraordinary teen who is reaching new heights with his skills.

Brett won first place in the dirt finals for the Dew Tour.

That's the first gold medal he has won since becoming a pro two years ago.

*Dirt final video at the end courtesy of Alli Sports

Helping Hands: Teens Work To Serve Those In Need

After finishing up this home on Broadway Boulevard, the teens will move onto a home on West Blaine Avenue. There, they will be building a fence for an elderly widow . The current fence is falling apart and overcome with overgrown brush. The City of Elkhart told the woman she must fix or remove the fence, but she just can't afford it.

Another View From The Flipcam

Helping hands: A group of teens from Faith United Methodist Youth helped to re-roof a community member's home. Here the reporter is interviewing someone on the roof.

The group of teens, along with Builders of Hope, a faith based non-profit group that helps to local families with home repairs, spent the week working on the roof. Many had never done any sort of roof work before and learned a lot!

Shooting away!

A bad car accident closed off a portion of a busy highway. A 38-year-old female driver crossed into the opposite lane, slamming into a pickup truck who then rammed into the back of a semi.

The force from the pick up into the semi was so strong that it caused the semi to move forward a few feet. The man driving the pick up truck later died.

It was a celebration night for State Representative John Proos as he claimed the victory for the nomination of State Senator.

Congressman Fred Upton also claimed the republican nomination for 6th district congressional representative.

A vacant building in South Bend caught fire for the third time in three months. Firefighters hope code enforcement will take action before someone gets seriously hurt.

Plenty of firefighters showed up to stop the blaze.

An 18-year-old man was sent to the hospital after being shot in the neck. He was in the passenger seat of a car when another car pulled up and fired a shot through the windshield.

After a game of golf on the opening day of Benton Harbor's new golf course Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller sat down for a roundtable discussion at Lake Michigan College

Police Find $3.6 million Worth Of Pot, Guns, And More Than 30 Illegal Dead Raccoons

Police say it's one of the biggest pot busts they've ever had in Polaski County... one that shocked all who saw it.

Winamac police are still searching for the man who they say hid $3.6 million worth of marijuana and seven illegal guns.

Even stranger, they also found more than 30 illegal dead raccoons.

I bring you to to the home where it all happened and introduce you to family members left to deal.

Officials say they didn't find cash at the home and for that reason believe other homes and people are involved in the operation.

Police arrested Whited last year for drug charges, including marijuana.

He was also arrested for habitual traffic violation and invasion of privacy.

Pawn Shop Robbery... "Like Something Out Of The Movies"

Police are still searching for three men who robbed Worldwide Jewelry and Pawn on Lincoln Way East in South Bend.

The robbery happened just before 5:30 p.m. when plenty of people were around, but still police have no leads.

In the 37 years since they've been there, the vice president says he's never seen anything like it.

I went to the store and found out what made this robbery so unusual.

Howard says they don't know the exact total of what's missing, but one Rolex Watch is valued up to $11,000.

Other pawn shops in the area have been alerted to keep an eye out for jewelry serial numbers to see if it matches any of the stolen jewelry.

Trent says take-over robberies like this are unusual.
Copyright © Tara Grimes
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