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Jamal Andress's Blog in 2010
Not yet satisfied

Posted 12/16/2010: 

I'm not satisfied

I've just about finished my semester here at MDN (I'll be back Jan 4.) but I don't know if I am where I need to be as a reporter.

I know that I've learned and that I have improved but the ultimate question is, have a made the very best of my time and gotten all that I can from being here?

Unfortunately, I don't think I have, but I guarantee I will.

I'm coming back early January to jump head first into a fire that I know nothing about. (reminds me of Fall of 2009)

I'll be covering the legislature.

I know nothing about politics and honestly I'm not even sure if I like politics or politicians but I'll be here and I'll be covering it.

Wish me luck.




Can't Stop Won't Stop
Posted 12/09/2010: 

Stop Day.....

It's almost an oxymoron for me.

If there is daylight I'm not stopping, I'm working, running, being busy.

I will find something to do with my time, It's guaranteed and has been proven time and time again.

The day before finals start they call "Stop Day" Everyone is supposed to finally pause their lives for a second and take a break, a break from studying, from stressing, and go out and enjoy some free pizza, soda candy, etc.

My stop day started about 12 midnight working on a project that is due today at 7:00 pm.

I was in the lab trying to finish until about 4 this morning when I finally was able to get that completed.

Next up I went and did some extra credit this morning.

Now I'm at the news station working. 

Stop Day huh?

Can't Stop, Won't stop   

Posted 12/02/2010: 

Today I have been working on a story about Unemployment benefits running out for various people due to Congress not extending benefits.

Literally there are going to be 2 million people throughout the country unemployed without benefits by the end of the month.

To start I have to say I am thankful me and my family are not in that situation.

But secondly I think Congress has lost sight of what's important.

Why make the people in your own country struggle, I would much prefer for us all to be in debt 13 trillion dollars than for the ones who were unfortunately let go of to be left out in the cold.

However to be fair they do give the unemployed 26 weeks to start with so they do have some time to go job hunting.

Everytime I get tired of working in college I try to remember that this is why I'm here.....




Long Days
Posted 11/30/2010: 

Well I guess I can leave now.

It's around 7:30 and I just finished the story I have been working on since 11:00.

It's amazing the things you can get accomplished when you just go ahead and stay late.

I'm glad that my schedule has finally cleared up and I can afford to stay late and finish stories or write a blog or anything.

It's a great feeling to be truly finished when you leave work.  

A month ago I had to leave at 4:30 every week to get to a meeting that I simply couldn't miss.

I felt like I never could get anything finished, I was always starting something and planning to finish it off next time.

Well I am here to testify that that is a terrible strategy.

If you can, just stay late.


Nature vs Nurture
Posted 11/18/2010: 

My time here at MDN may be extended into next semester for "my own good."

I think coming back is a good idea but I worry about being too busy next semester. Next semester I come face to face with the "Gatekeeper of KOMU" which is Greeley Kyle. According to every broadcast major at Mizzou B2 is hell in a handbasket. I've been hearing stories about this class for 3 years now and it's finally almost time.

This brings me to the question of Nature vs. Nurture. Why is Greeley Kyle's class so life changing for people. Does it push people to their limit and only the students who are made for this survive or is he a great teacher and you just have to be determinded enough to get through it.

I would like to believe it is the ladder because unfortunately God has yet to get back with me on whether this is what I'm meant to be doing. But then again who knows... I could be the next Stuart Scott/Stan Verret(A-Phi)/Michael Wilbon or Ed Bradley. I guess that's what's fun or terrifying about life, it's all a mystery.  

Vote Or Die
Posted 10/28/2010: 

The November 2nd election is coming up this Tuesday and in light of this I just want to express the importance of voting. Everyone in my generation grew up having the right to vote so we have no idea what it is like to have to fight for something that everyone should be entitled to.

In the years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, people who were not white had to deal with poll taxes, unfair literacy tests, unequal voting districts, etc. The only challenge we all face today is our own ignorance about issues, and our lazy habits that won't let us leave our house on election day.

 On Tuesday there will be a vote on Proposition A. Proposition A will keep every city in Missouri, other than St. Louis and Kansas City, from ever enacting an Earnings Tax and it will also allow the voters in Kansas City and St. Louis to vote every 5 years on whether to keep their earnings tax.

Proposition B will be voted on. A "yes" vote will amend Missouri law to require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles. The amendment further prohibits any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets. The amendment also creates a misdemeanor crime of "puppy mill cruelty" for any violations. A "no" vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding dog breeders.

Amendment 1 will be voted on. A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to require that assessors in charter counties be elected officers. This proposal will affect St. Louis County and any county that adopts a charter form of government. The exception is for a county that has between 600,001-699,999 residents, which currently is only Jackson County.

Amendment 2 will be voted on. A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to exempt from property taxes all real property used as a homestead by any Missouri citizen who is a former prisoner of war with a total service-connected disability. If passed, this measure will decrease property taxes for qualified citizens.

 Amendment 3 will be voted on. A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing any new tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate.  A "no" vote will not change the Missouri Constitution to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing a new tax on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate.

And of course the most visible thing being voted on is Robin Carnahan v. Roy Blunt for the Missouri State Senate. 

Posted 10/14/2010: 

Complete - 1. having every necessary part or element; entire

2. ended; finished

3. ( prenominal ) thorough; absolute: he is a complete rogue

4. perfect in quality or kind

You never realize how great being complete is until you have had to take a long time to get there. I have been chipping away at a feature story for about 3 weeks. I'm not proud of how long it took however I am proud of the result. I am now complete with my feauture campaign story on Proposition A. I have had the story edited, voiced it, edited again, switched some things around, voiced again and then went through that process once more and finally made it to where I am now. Complete. This feeling of complete is different it's not a short simple complete that I'm used to it's more of a thorough, detailed, and exuberating complete that I rarely get. I like it. 

The Earnings Tax
Posted 09/30/2010:  I've been doing research on the Proposition A Earnings Tax ban that will be voted on during this election. If proposition A goes through it will make make the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City vote on whether they would like to ban the earnings tax every five years. This earnings tax is a one percent tax on the money that every citizen of the city makes. It literally makes up a third of Kansas City's revenue. The money that these cities get from the earnings tax is used by the city to fund the service departments such as the police and fire department. The other side of proposition A is that if it passes it will ban all other cities in Missouri from creating their own earnings tax. The steam (money) behind Proposition A getting on the ballot is a man by the name of Rex Sinquefield. Sinquefield is a very wealthy businessman who is extremely active in Missouri politics. He has contributed millions of dollars to different campaigns that he wants to go through that will benefit him and people in the same financial bracket as him. These are the people who are for proposition A. The common man of Kansas City and St. Louis however can't stand the idea of this proposition. I have my thoughts on why Mr. Sinquefield would want to support something like this but I REALLY would like to hear it out of his mouth.
Lessons from the first month
Posted 09/23/2010: 

I believe it's always good to relflect, so now that I'm finishing out my fourth week I would like to just go over some of the things I'v learned in this first month of work.

First, Don't be afraid to learn on the job. I use to feel that in order to cover something you needed to already be an expert on it. I've come to realize through my time here in the capitol that if I took up that kind of attitude I couldn't cover anything but Houston Sports Teams. That is part of the reason I threw myself into this internship like I did. I wanted to know how I would do in an environment I knew nothing about. How am I doing? It's a new experience every single day, and I have learned more about politics and Missouri news in the past month than I did in two years of living here.

Second, be persistent. Nobody wants to talk to you, nobody trusts you, and you are no one's friend. If you really want an interivew it will not fall in your lap you have to go get it, even take it. Call your interview subject over and over again and then when you can't get a hold of him go to his office knock on his door and look him in the face. A subject not paying any attention to you is not an execuse to not get something done when you make it to a real newsroom.

Third, Pay attention to the details. I think everyone that I work here with has called somebody recorded a conversation with them and then realized that the audio wasn't good enough to use. Does Mr. Brooks let you slide without good audio? Absolutely not. If you don't adjust one setting and your audio comes out terrible you just wasted you and your subjects time.

Fourth, Deadlines are real. If you have news that you want covered then you need to realize that it is only important for a certain amount of time. Therefore, if you don't get finished in that span of time you just missed the boat.     

I know it seems depressing but it's just like any other rule. No one likes rules but they are necessary to keep the wheels turning.


Now I know
Posted 09/16/2010:  Today while at lunch one of my co-workers recieved a call and of course everyone at the table is somewhat listening. The first thing out of her mouth (and in dramatic fashion) is, "A lockdown at the capital?!?" Immidiately this table full of journalists goes into somewhat of a panic because we are 4 or 5 blocks down the street at a Chipotle restaurant and the biggest news of the fall is occuring right in our building. After making a call or two we discovered that the lockdown was really at a shopping mall down the street. Lockdown or not my point in bringing this up is how suprised I was with my response to the situation. I've been tackling so called "news" all week and at no point did I feel as excited as when I heard her mentioning this lock down. No bill or accreditation story gave me this feeling. As a regular individual tragedy is terrible but as a journalist in can be the most exciting thing you experience. I occasionally wonder if I could be that guy risking my life for a breaking story, now I know.  
Lesson Learned
Posted 09/09/2010:  The entire day I have been researching the situation in St. Louis with accreditation and I've come to realize that journalism is so much more than running out and reporting. It is and always will be about research. I came into the newsroom today with full intention on pumping out a news story and possibly starting on a second, and then I started researching. Who should I call? What is the case? What are the facts? All these questions that frankly I don't know and that I need to figure out before I call anyone.  I have spent almost all of my Thursday researching background information just so I can call someone and have an intelligent conversation on the subject. The even worse part is that I really don't enjoy doing this. When I picture journalism I see interviews and editing video and speaking on camera, not sitting in front of my computer screen for hours at a time. But I assume journalism is just like anything else, you MUST pay your dues. You will never get to the fun stuff if you don't research the topics you are covering. Lesson Learned.