4/8/09: On Monday I finally ventured out into this wonderful little town called Jefferson City.
The time was approximately 4:30 p.m. The phone here in the office rang. It was my fellow staff member Max Reiss, who was in Columbia and calling to ask if I could pick up the results of his Sunshine request at the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I agreed, quickly mapquested (is that a word?) the address to figure out how to get there and ran out to my car.
My mapquest directions proved to be slightly confusing. I circled the Capitol building a couple of times in a bewildered manner before I finally found Broadway. From there, it was a piece of cake until I reached the Highway Patrol building. Max had directed me to go to the annex, but I exited the road one driveway too early and found myself in the very hilly parking lot of the main building. Turn around, exit, take the next driveway.
I pulled into a small, nearly empty parking lot facing the small, tinted-windowed entrance of the annex. Walking toward the entrance, I saw the hours of operation posted on the window -- open until 4 p.m. I was too late. But suddenly, a man dressed in a Highway Patrol uniform mysteriously poked his head out of the door. "Are you here to pick something up?" he asked in a voice that revealed that he already knew the answer.
I followed him inside the otherwise-closed-to-the-public building and gave him my name. He handed me a sealed manila envelope on which was enigmatically scrawled Max's name.
Then I got in my car and drove back to the Capitol. And my exciting little journey was over. (By the way, you can read Max's story here.)
3/04/09: My days down here usually end in a timely fashion. That was not the case Monday. There was little going on, so most people left early. By 6 p.m., I was the only person left in the office, waiting for the Senate to adjourn so that my two remaining reporters would be done. At about that time, Columbia's representative, Chris Kelly, came bursting into the office. He thrust a paper copy of his newest resolution into my hands and said I better get on it. I said of course. So I pulled Emily Coleman out of the Senate and set her on the story. Our biggest challenge was finding a source for the story other than Rep. Kelly, who very nicely made himself available by phone. Emily tried, to no avail, to track down the budget chairmen of both chambers, so in the end she wandered around the Capitol until she found Cape Girardeau's Sen. Jason Crowell, who was still in his office and was able to comment on the legislation. The story came together -- a huge relief to us both, I think, given its importance and how much coverage it received in other media. You can read Emily's story here.
2/23/09: One of my copy editing responsibilities is to clean up NewsBook. Most of NewsBook's entries are good content-wise, so I usually go through and tweak them for style. Frequently, this means changing the way legislators are identified -- from "Republican Senator So-and-so" to "Sen. So-and-so, R-City." It's just a radio vs. print mentality. The radio reporters identify legislators the way they would as if they were naturally talking about them in conversation. And that works for radio stories, which are heard and not read. But for print, which includes NewsBook, legislators are to be listed in a very specific way, according to the AP stylebook. Some might argue it doesn't make much of a difference -- but I like to play by the rules.
2/18/09: Apparently I earned a gold star today -- simply for bringing in another audio recorder. Not one of my more challenging assignments, but everyone seemed happy to have another working recorder in the newsroom.
2/16/09: Welcome to my Missouri Digital News blog. I am not a statehouse reporter, so I won't be able to share with you stories about interactions with legislators or difficulties in tracking down information. My primary role at MDN is print and web editor. I edit the print reporters' stories to ship off to the Columbia Missourian, and I keep the MDN Web site clean and consistent. My secondary roles are multi-bureau communication liaison (a title I made up for myself) and designated paper-bringer. In this blog, I will share with you my experiences related to what I perceive to be the delightful task of editing copy. Random, non-copy-related stories might pop up from time to time. Stay tuned.
Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.