This was my week of luck.
After calling numerous times, missing calls, and hitting numerous walls, it happened.
I INTERVIEW OVERSTOCK.COM PRESIDENT!
I have been trying to interview a large online retailer for weeks, to no avail.
But, finally some success.
I feel like a real journalist, I am interviewing importnat people, and I am doing important things.
As the semester wraps up, this is the juice I needed to continue.
Early in the week, I just felt so tired of constantly chasing people. It's exhausting, and honestly there is only so much coffee I can chug.
But when I answered the phone and hear Jonathan Johnson's voice, everything was better. It made the chase, the effort, the sweat, and the frustration worth it.
I believe in luck. Why? Because it gets me through the day.
I could hear the sadness in his voice.
Representative Hodges told me about the flooding problems in Southeast Missouri. People could lose everything. They are packing up, leaving the homes they've owned for years.
I am a crier. Always have been. Always will be.
I find crying to be one of the best ways to get it all out, and then move on. I cry when I am sad, I cry when I am stressed, I cry when I see something sad on morning television.
However, as a journalist, it is not okay to cry. I am supposed to be professional, unbiased, and the strong news deliverer.
When listening to Hodges, I could feel the tears start to build up. I panicked, knowing I am not supposed to show that type of emotion. It was hard - people could lose their entire lives. I could I not feel something?
I did not cry. I kept my composure. But it wasn't easy.
Tuesday was a big test for me, but I passed. It was definitely an important lesson.
"Bring to the floor."
I have learned quite a few terms at Capitol. I luckily have caught on quickly through observations, listening, questions, and my friend Google.
This week, I faced a word problem: how do I put this in layman's terms without making it incorrect? How do I say "political action committee" in a simpler way?
In the senate, I heard the passage of a bill dealing with PACs. The bill was confusing, the wording was confusing, and literally nothing about it was simple.
I could I write something I barely understood?
I couldn't. We scrapped the story because it was just too confusing.
The best part of the story was when I got to play with the dogs. Surprisingly enough, there are often pets around the Capitol. I never play with them though, because I am usually busy with a story and don't want to interrupt the owners' conversations.
But Tuesday, I got to sit on the ground and pet and play with the dogs. So awesome.
I enjoyed doing the story because not only was it fun (I mean, it was about puppies!) but the people there were so passionate about dogs. They truly love their pups and want Prop B to be reinstated in it's full force.
The passion they have is inspiring. I wish more people were that passionate about an issue.
After Tuesday, I just can't wait to get home to my dog and play with him. Only a few more weeks until summer.
I feel like everyday I walk in the doors, I never know what to expect. There is always something interesting or comical happening. It is a great place to meet people, see what people care about, and be entertained.
I am glad I will be able to go home and continue to experience this; I accepted a summer internship at a newswebsite that does reporting on Oregon's Capitol, Salem.
But before that, there is much to do.
I have to finish this semester, which includes so much. Most importantly, the feature.
Yes, it's still not done. This week I contacted so many people, only to be denied almost every time.
It's truly infuriating now that I keep running into roadblocks, but I am determined.
Dear feature, I will get you done. Nothing is going to distract me.
Except maybe people singing in the 1st floor rotunda.
Sun, beach, no homework, and plenty of sleeping in.
Spring Break looms in the future, but that didn't mean this was a throw-away week in the Capitol.
The Missouri Congress was on recess this week (their Spring Break). That meant it was time to finish but my feature.
It had been nearly a month since I had done any conrete work on my feature. I have been making phone calls over the past weeks, with little luck. On Tuesday, I did what I do best: call about five people in one office until somebody calls me back. Annoying? Yes. Efficient. Also, yes.
My problem was finding opponents to the bill. This translated to more phone calling and even some work from home on Wednesday. I came back on Thursday to finish up interviews and finish my feature. That did not work quite as planned. It was decided I would have to finish it after Spring Break, because some sources were just not calling me back.
Over these past few weeks, I have realized how annoying journalists must become. We have to call, call again, and sometimes call back once more. I feel like perhaps this is why people easily become annoyed with us.
Personally, when I finally get the quote I need after calling several different people, it is the best feeling in the world. I don't mind being too annoying then, because I know the end result will be worth it (at least...I hope so).
Feature, almost check. Packed luggage, no check. Clean room, no check. Beach ready, no check. Anitibiotics for my sinus infection, no check.
The other part of being a journalist: no free time to do all of that extra stuff. Looks like a late-night to finish it all is in order.
This translates to one thing: allergy attack.
I had horrible migraines this week as well as problems with my allergies. Unfortunately, they kept me from coming into MDN this week. I thought it would be better if I did not throw-up all over the office (side-effect of my migraines).
I offered to write anything from home, but did not get assigned anything.
I am loaded up on allergy medicine, so I expect next week to be ready to tackle the Capitol once again.
In the meanwhile, I can only hope the weather evens out a little bit. Mother Nature, please make up your mind!
At the capitol, I have noticed some people brush me off because I am younger. Granted, I have a baby face and I am a student. But, I am still a tax paying and voting citizen. I am actually a Missouri resident too. I have not been surprised by people's reactions, but I do wish they would not assume I am just another "student journalist." This does, however, motivate me to be completely on my game.
However, Governor Nixon did not make an appearance at the Capitol on Tuesday's home education rally. I did see tap dancing children and saw a lot of little kids. But the Governor canceled his brief speech. I was off the hook from that story, but still had to do something.
I ended up writing the news story for Elizabeth's radio story on transferring St. Louis Public students to the suburban schools. Though it was not was what I expected to do at the beginning on the day, I still enjoyed it. St. Louis Public has lost accreditation, which has posed a large problem for students, families, and the county schools.
I never know what will happen when I walk into the MDN offices. I think Tuesday was a perfect example of how journalists must be flexible and ready to go to where the news really is.
I find this debate rather interesting. In Washington state, where I am from, the minimum wage is the highest in the whole country- $8.55 an hour. Missouri's is $7.25. This makes a difference makes a huge paycheck gap for us teenagers. However, at home, finding a job is rather competitive due to our high minimum wage. During the depths of the economic recession, many of my friends were laid off and it was nearly impossible to find a summer job.
Currently, the Missouri minimum wage is tied to cost-of-living. Missouri has one of the lowest costs of living, while Washington has one of the highest. During the debate, many Democrats pointed out that in 2006, 76 percent of Missourians voted to raise the minimum wage. They said that Missourians want higher wages.
The topic is interesting. Democrats said working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year on minimum wage brings in $15, 080 a year. That could be someone's total salary.
The debate was intense: words flew, emotions were high, and everyone was quite chatty. But it got enough votes for first round approval, and word of the street is that it will eventually pass.
I really loved covering this story because I think minimum wage not only affects me (as a minimum wage worker), but other people trying to survive.
This week was “enterprise week.” For my feature story, I chose to look at sales tax online in Missouri. Why did I pick this? Well, it was one of the few options left and I have become quite the online shopper. Despite having more interest in obesity or texting-while-driving, those were already being covered.
Fortunately, I realized this is an extremely interesting bill (to me, at least). The state is losing millions of dollars from not collecting the sales tax online. With the budget deficit, tuition rising, and potholes all around, I am concerned with the amount of money Missouri is losing. As much as I don't like paying that extra sales tax, I can see why we need it.
I dove in headfirst, and managed to come up with a few good leads. I interviewed the bill’s sponsor, Rep. McClain. I interviewed her in the afternoon, and got a better picture of the bill. She was so friendly and her passion was obvious. I also interviewed the CEO of Federal Tax Net, a program that helps small businesses calculate and manage sales tax for free. Unfortunately, about halfway through the interview I believe someone knocked a phone of the hook, so half of my audio is fuzzy. I plan to fix that next week.Next week I plan on doing two to three more interviews for the story. I hope to have it finish by mid-March at the latest. I realized that I enjoy doing feature stories; the investigating, exploration, and research is fascinating. I suppose this is a good thing, because I hope to do investigative journalism.
This week, I reported on the Voter-Id bill. I stumbled across the story after being thrown into the Senate. It was the first time I was there, and it was a great learning experience. I am much more comfortable with the marantz, identifying Senators, and figuring out what is important.
I think one of the most difficult parts of reporting at Jefferson City is the language. I am just not familiar with all the legislative speak, like "first round approval," "perfecting," and "yield." After Tuesday, I feel like I getting the hang of it, but I would really love a cheat sheet!
I think requiring photo-identification to vote is an interesting bill. It is quite controversial, but in the end it received first round approval from the Senate. Senator Wright-Jones believes it will go into affect. I can't wait to see what happens in the end.
I believe this was a large learning week. I can cross interviewing Senators in their offices and using the marantz in the Senate off my list. What will next week hold? I'll have to wait and see.
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