Christine Slusser's Blog
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Christine Slusser's Blog in 2008
Frustrations with waiting for phone calls.

Posted December 17, 2008: 

My last day at Missouri Digital News for the semester.  I finished up my story about low sperm counts and just produced it for radio.  I thank everyone who looked at my blog and wish everyone happy holidays!  See you in 2009!

Posted December 15, 2008: 

My second to last day at Missouri Digital News...

I am working on a story about low sperm counts in Missouri and trying to contact various endocrinologists and andrologists.  I think this is a very interesting story and I hope I can get in-touch with some knowledgeable people today.

Posted December 10, 2008: 

I wrote two stories about the Anheuser-Busch layoffs last Monday and will continue to work on it today.  I am going to call State Employment Security and see what they are planning to do for those out of a job.  They returned my phone call Monday (so they definitely earned some points in my journalism notepad), but had just found out about the situation.  Since two days have passed, I will call to see if they have some answers.  I always am really excited when I am working on a good story and I have that feeling now.  It is sad what is happening, but I am tickled to be privileged enough to report it to the people and let them know what is going on.

Posted December 8, 2008: 

Today I was digging around the internet and I found a story about how sperm counts are low in Missouri.  I decided to put my own twist on it to make it relevant to today so that I could try and produce it.  So far no sources have called me back and then Phill assigned me a second story to work.  He was curious to see what kind of assistance the laid-off Anheuser-Busch employees can expect from the state.  The press people are all in meetings, but I have been promised some returned phone calls.  I think both stories are very interesting and I can't wait to write them.

Posted December 8, 2008: 

SUCCESS! 

My feature and stories are officially finished!  I have never worked so hard on a radio story and let me tell you, it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I am going to voice for and then try to find an environmental story to delve into for today.

Posted December 3, 2008: 

I finished my lengthy feature and one smaller story Monday.  I left the office around 5:30 and guess who called?  If you guessed the source I have been trying to reach for two weeks, you would be correct.  I am ecstatic she called me back and I hope to interview her today.  I will try to write two smaller stories today and then plunge back into environmental writing next week!

Posted December 1, 2008: 

No calls from my big source, but I did interview Senator Jason Crowell, Senator Chuck Purgason, and Representative Carl Bearden.  My fellow reporters Valerie and Laura are running through the Capitol building hoping to find and interview former Speaker of the House Rod Jetton.  If that goes well, I should be set for my feature story!  Life is good today at Missouri Digital News.

(Note for the end of the day:  they found him!) 

Posted December 1, 2008: 

I didn't realize today was the first of December until I logged on to my Blog.  Wow!  I feel like as each birthday passes, the years fly all the faster.  I mean, it was December 1, 2007 just yesterday, right?  Enough with the reminiscence...

Today I continue to slave away on my feature story.  I have found some more sources I am going to try and call (along with that other un-reachable source) and I hope I can wrap up my feature story today so that I can begin others.  I want to get as many finished as I can in my final three weeks at Missouri Digital News.

Posted November 21, 2008: 

For anyone who has been following this blog at all, it should be pretty clear that I am waiting on someone to call me back.  She is vital to my story and I hope she can find the time for me to interview her.  I know on the 17th I mentioned how I was "relaxed", well, consider that feeling gone, now I am nervous.  I have been working so hard on my story, researching potential interviewees, but my heart is really set on getting a hold of this source, she is the best person for my story and would complement it well by giving the other side to Bob Holden's interview.  I left her a voicemail once today and I will probably try her office once and her cell once more.  If she doesn't respond, hopefully one of my other sources will follow-through.

Wish me luck...again?

Posted November 17, 2008: 

Frustrations with waiting for phone calls.

I am still waiting on my source to call me back, but I did write my story around Bob Holden's bites thus far.  I have an idea what my interviewee will say, but you can never know in this business.  Since this is true, I have not written her into the story yet, but have places for her sound bites to be put and for sentences to be written around them. 

Wish me luck?

Posted November 17, 2008: 

Phill is out of the country this week, but we are still busy, little, journalistic bees.  Most of us are working on our feature pieces, and mine involves my interview with former Governor Holden.  I hope I can contact my other source today, but the audio booth is currently occupied and I am third in line.  I feel relaxed about this piece because our rough draft is not due until Friday.  Last time feature pieces rolled around, I had two days to complete it.  This time I have two weeks?  Yeah!  I hope I can take my time on it and make it really phenomenal.  My goal is to blow Phill's socks off.

When the reporters first log on to the computers, we are greeted with the MDN homepage if we open the internet.  I was scrolling through the stories from last week, and I thought my fellow reporter Laura Nichols did a great job on her seat belt stories.  If you want to read them, go to:  http://mdn.org/2008/STORIES/SEAT1.HTM

It is really great and she made a topic that could be potentially boring very, very interesting!

Posted November 12, 2008: 

Three posts in a day?  Why you lucky ducks!  I just finished up my salt story and I am quite proud of myself.  I am the last one leaving the state Capitol today, but that's alright!  I had the satisfaction of working on my feature and producing three wraps for the radio.  I would call that a pretty successful day.  Now off to dinner!

As Phill would say:  Peace!

Posted November 12, 2008: 

Since I am waiting to interview for my feature until Monday, I edited my sound bites from Bob Holden and am now working on a (hopefully) quick story about salt shortages and how MoDOT is prepared for this winter.  I immediately got an interview with them, but now I am waiting for either a meteorologist or someone from the Atmospheric Science division of Mizzou to call back.  I hope I can get a hold of them soon so I can write these stories and produce.  Then I am going to go home and eat dinner...I'm a very hungry, young, vegetarian journalist.

Posted November 12, 2008: 

I feel like I am walking on egg shells for my next interview.  Phill has told me to be careful, slowly ease into the tougher questions, and lead in with easier questions to make the interviewee comfortable.  It is definitely a good strategy.  He then left the room and told me not to mess up.  Sounds like a plan!

In the meantime I have been working on my second feature story for the semester.  I loved my first one!  I like them because you are allowed to be lengthy and can use longer sound bites.  One of my biggest issues is choosing which quotes to keep and cut.  We are usually limited to 15-seconds per person, but feature stories can have sounds of people talking (bites) as long as 35 seconds.  It may not sound exciting to some, but I am ecstatic.  I try to let the person I am interviewing tell the story as much as possible and I feel like these longer interviews really allow that.

I am happy that I am working with my fellow reporter Chris Dunn on this feature story.  We covered the election in Kansas City at the Midland Theatre and had a blast with Tina my British, haughty GPS.  It will be fun to meet up with her next week and really start rolling on this feature piece.  My last one I wasn't able to work with the reporter, so this story should be much better - and I was impressed with my first one anyway!

Posted November 10, 2008: 

I just finished interviewing former Missouri Governor Bob Holden - how exciting!  He was very nice and friendly and said he was willing to talk any time.  Phill assigned me a feature story that will involve his interview and another woman I haven't tried to contact yet.  I have had a lot of excitement today so I will save her interview for Wednesday. 

Another newsworthy note: 

I was raking leaves the other day in elderly people's yards and a ring my Grandmother gave me slipped off my finger and into the leaf pile.  We searched through them, but all it did was make us realize how true the phrase "finding a needle in a haystack" really is.  We sifted through three times and found nothing.  Today, Brady (my raking buddy) went back and looked in the yard and he found it!  What a great day I've had, a found ring and an interview with a former governor - I think I'll take that and call it a successful day.

Posted November 10, 2008: 

   Today I am working on a story focusing on "what's next" for governor-elect Jay Nixon.  I started working on this story Wednesday and at the close of the work day my fellow reporter Valerie and I managed to snag an interview with Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder.  This helped lift up our mood because we were not able to get a hold of any other people that day except one.  The one we did record had bad audio because of a phone issue and by the time that was fixed our interviewee no longer was available.  Interviewing Kinder helped brighten our days.

   We had been searching all day for former Governor Bob Holden's number but were getting no where.  Today I logged on to the Webster website and stumbled across an office number.  I thought, "what the heck?", called, and now have a potential interview with him at 2 o'clock today!  That is my biggest news thus far and it is only 11.  Hopefully I can also talk with the Missouri Democratic Party or get a hold of the Missouri Republican Party for more recording.  Today is looking up so far, plus I brought in some sugar cookies with cute little pumpkins on them.  If the office is happy, everyone's happy. 

:)

See?

Posted November 5, 2008: 

   Yesterday was quite a night!  I traveled to the Midland Theatre in Kansas City to cover the Democratic Party for now attorney general-elect Chris Koster and now President-elect Barack Obama.  It was amazing to be right there, in the middle of the shed tears, spilled beer, and loud cheers.  The most exciting thing was that my fellow reporter, Chris Dunn, and myself were literally the first people in the nation to know Chris Koster was elected attorney general.  We went up to his spokesman right after a private phone call.  The person had announced Senator Gibbons was conceding.  We hurriedly called Missouri Digital News and told them the scoop.  KSMU also used one my phone interviews on the air!  To listen to it, go here:  http://www.ksmu.org/component/option,com_content/task,view/id,3847/Itemid,2/

   Last night made me realize how much I love journalism.  I was stressed out beyond belief, I couldn't work the sound equipment for hours, and it was hard to find a source specifically for Senator Koster.  In the midst of the chaos, all I could do was smile.  This was journalism in action.  This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I will take the hardships, the sound equipment that drives me nuts, the people who won't give interviews, and take them with a smile because at the end of the day I made a difference in the world of journalism.

   Now I need to wipe myself up off sappy lane and tell you about what I am working on today.  Although I am running on about four hours of sleep (I drove back into Columbia around 3 a.m.), here I am back at the news desk trying to contact people about governor-elect Jay Nixon.  The gist of the story is, "what's next?"  I'll let you know as soon as I find out.

Posted October 29, 2008: 

   Watch out, Capitol!  There is a Sarah Palin look-alike running around!  We were sitting at lunch today and Mrs. Palin and her PR came up to us to say, "hello".  Being great journalists and all, we began to ask her Couric-esque questions about taxes.  Her PR abruptly interrupted the interview saying there simply wasn't enough time.  I give an "A+" to that Halloween costume! 

   Unfortunately, I had to miss work on Monday due to sickness.  I feel a little better today and am hoping to finish up a story about burning leaves and the rainy season.  I have two interviews so far, cross your fingers for a third!

Posted October 22, 2008: 

     I just finished my lead (pronounced like LEDD, not LEED) story and am about to hand them over for Phill to read.  After that I can record and hopefully jet out of the office today by 5.  Yay!  Wednesdays are truly my "hump day", if I make it through I am set for the week.  Today was an eventful Wednesday and I have a good feeling I will make it through un-scathed.

Posted October 22, 2008:

     Today I am going to finish up my lead story.  I managed to write one wrap Monday and hope to get two more under my belt today.  After work I have a video to edit for a project so hopefully today will be a very eventful day and I can accomplish a lot!

 Posted October 20, 2008: 

     Today I finished my non-profit organization story (yes!) and have started working on a story about war chests.  I am waiting for Jay Nixon's and Kenny Hulshof's press people to call me back so I can interview them.  Today was a fairly slow news day but that, in my opinion, increases the odds of Wednesday being very busy. I have also started working on a lead story, but I will keep the details secret until it's posted.  I have to keep you on your toes somehow. 

Posted October 15, 2008:

   I just wrapped up my three stories about Hulshof and Nixon and am waiting to record my stories for the radio.  What a long day!  Sometimes I am lucky and can finish my stories up by 5 but it is days like this that make me realize my love for journalism.  It is nearing 8 o'clock and I am still in the office perfecting my stories.  I hardly even noticed how quickly the time went by!

 Posted October 15, 2008: 

     I finished three stories on non-profit organizations receiving less money in donations because of the economy.  Then the newsroom received Hulshof's latest press release attacking Jay Nixon.  I was assigned this breaking-news story and, as my blog title explains, am frustrated with waiting for phone calls. 

Posted October 10, 2008: 

   I just finished my highway story and am off to record.  It was very interesting and I learned how the highway system works and how money is obtained.  I had to call a source back today to ask further questions and I was pleasantly surprised by her helpfulness.  Next week while Phill is on vacation I am determined to do this "fall story" he assigned me.  Hopefully it will be up on the page next week for reading!

Posted October 8, 2008:

   My highway story is almost completed.  I am making a "special guest appearance" in the news room Friday to finish it completely.  Working on this made me realize the hard work that goes into keeping Missouri's roads up to par.  I also learned about the dangers in construction zones.  That story won't be completed until Friday, so now you all have something to look forward to.  :)

Posted October 8, 2008:

   I am working on my Missouri Interstate Expansion story today and am soon off to conduct some phone interviews.  I will check back later, wish me luck!

Posted October 6, 2008: 

     Instead of working on the MO Interstate Expansion piece I was assigned a story based off Republican Governor Candidate Kenny Hulshof's news release.  He attacked Attorney General Jay Nixon. I teamed up with a print reporter and we nabbed three great quotes from important sources.  I am having to stay late, but this story was worth it. It was exciting to be the one who broke the news to various people.  Until called, the Attorney General candidates did not know about Hulshof's news release and neither did the State Auditor. 

   Hulshof's news release covered his Inspector General view.  He said it would be in charge of uncovering fraud, waster, abuse, and corruption throughout state government.  Read the story to find out more!

   I also wanted to touch base on the debates which were very exciting to watch!  Obama and McCain went head to head again and I could see valid issues brought up on both sides.  I plan to watch them again online.  Saturday Night Live has some great skits covering both parties.  I believe it is also important to be able to take some politics light-heartedly.  While it is a serious subject, both sides are human beings with senses of humor.  I know both candidates know how to have fun, it would be nice to see the lighter side once in a while.

Posted October 1, 2008:

     I was assigned a story today on Missouri's Interstate Expansion.  I may try to interview TRIPS (The Road Information Program) and MODOT today.  I am doing the radio versions and there is a print person assigned as well but we haven't collaborated yet.  I will have a few days to do this story which is refreshing because usually we only have our shift to finish a story.

     We also installed new computers in the newsroom today!  They look so classy and sleek.  It is nice to walk into the press room and see slender black monitors and brand new keyboards!

Posted September 29, 2008:

     What a day!  Today the stock market plummeted.  I was working on stories about donations to non-profit organizations going down hill when Phill suddenly calls and gives us the news on Wall Street.  Immediately we were re-assigned stories.  I managed to pump out two before Secretary of State Sarah Steelman returned my phone call.  It was very exciting to interview her on the phone and she was very nice. She gave me some great sound bites and had a firm view on the issue. I am just finishing up her story. 

   Wow!  I am beat, today was a very exciting day in the newsroom.

Posted September 24, 2008: 

     I talked with a horticulturist at The University of Missouri Extension and it was a great interview!  I just recorded two stories for possible broadcast on lawns being compacted and possibly dying from lack of oxygen.  This is very important to many people in Missouri.  Many houses have lawns so this story touches base with a lot of people.  I know we have been struggling with grass growing at my house and now I know of a possible reason why. 

   Today was an eventful day I had people return my phone calls early.  In return, I get to go home early.  Yay!  Now off to work on more journalism projects.

Posted September 24, 2008

     I am writing a story on Turf grass and lawns compacting because of (you guessed it) the rain! I have contacted about four people in the Turf Grass Science division of the University of Missouri.  I will also start calling some golf courses to see if I can talk with their personnel.  This story could be very interesting depending on how my interviews go.  I have one phone interview set up at noon, I will update when I'm finished!

Posted September 22, 2008

     Today I wrote four stories about the rainfall in Missouri causing mushrooms to grow and how it is harmful for pets.  I talked with a veterinarian and also the Head of Research for the Missouri Mycological Society.  Both were very helpful and I learned that unless a person witnesses their pet eating a mushroom it is hard to tell why they are sick.  The symptoms are common and include things like drooling, so be sure to watch your pets and what they eat to avoid what could potentially be a catastrophe.

   The lesson I learned from this story today is the importance of watching your pets while they are outside.  I would hate to lose mine because he ate something and I didn't know.  In Columbia pets have to be on leashes if they are outside, but I know that other cities are not like that.  If a pet is not on a leash at least make sure to watch them, they don't always know what is bad for them.

Posted September 17, 2008

     I have officially broadcasted my stories about the West Lake landfill.  The EPA did return my calls and so did someone from DNR.  I learned today from Phill not to use "and" when writing for Broadcast and also not to use "feels".  I am still trying to break some habits from writing essays all of my life.  I'm learning.  :)

Posted September 17, 2008 

     Today I am working on a story involving the West Lake Landfill.  I interviewed the Executive Director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.  After I put the recording onto the computer I called the Environmental Protection Agency and am waiting for a member to call me back.  It is very important for the story that they comment because the director of the coalition made it very clear she did not approve of the EPA's plan for the landfill.  I hope the information they give me is positive because right now I only have one negative side to the story.

Posted September 15, 2008

     I managed to nab an interview with a water expert from the U.S. Geological Survey and he helped my Missouri River story phenomenally.  I am currently sitting here waiting to record my two stories for possible radio broadcast.  The people I have interviewed both on the phone and in person have been really friendly and willing to help.  Unfortunately, the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District could not help me with my story.  The 5 1/2 inches of rain the St. Louis area received yesterday tied up all of my potential interviewees as they were helping their customers.

So far, I would have to say that my favorite things to do are edit the sound bites and record for possible radio broadcast...which I am still waiting to do.

Posted September 10, 2008

   This is my first blog entry, but my second official day here at Missouri Digital News.  Phill dubbed me "rain girl" and I now have the privilege of tracking all those crazy problems the rain can cause.  My first day was well-off and I published three stories about mold, termite, and bug growth resulting from Missouri's abnormal rainfall.  Today I decided to find out if the toxicity levels of the Missouri River have risen because of the rain and had no luck.  I landed two interviews but neither were declarative enough.  When Monday comes, I try again! 


Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.