Posted 10/28/2012: Election Day is less than two weeks away and is creating excitement in the Capitol. Missouri Digital News is sending groups to cover specific candidates and I will be covering Peter Kinder on Election Night. This will be an exciting place to be on Tuesday.
Kinder is seeking his third term as Missouri's lieutenant governor. If he wins, Kinder will be only the second Missourian to win a third term. The only Missourian to win a third term as lieutenant governor is Democrat Frank Harris in 1933. That means that Election Night could be historic for Peter Kinder.
Providing coverage on Election Night is a great learning opportunity and will mark the first time I have covered an election. I am very excited to be able to participate in Election Night and I know it will be a memorable experience.
The Associated Press released a story about Mexican drug cartels dominating the meth trade in the United States on Thursday. The article said that large quantities of meth are turning up in dozens of American cities including St. Louis. This caused me to wonder why meth is such a prevalent issue throughout the state of Missouri and if it is getting worse or better.
I am still searching for more information on this topic and am intrigued by the issue. I hope to speak with a few more people on Tuesday and get a story produced then. Meth is an issue throughout the U.S., however it has been a major issue throughout Missouri for many years now and it is something that Missourians should be aware of.
Protestors also showed their disapproval of Akin on Thursday. Members associated with both Planned Parenthood and the Missouri National Organization of Women protested Akin saying he is not right for Missouri. The election is less than 40 days away.
This story helped me to learn many of the rules regarding withdrawal from the Senate race. Akin's team have repeatedly said Akin will not drop from the race, but it is still interesting to see what would happen if he was to change his mind and drop out. Akin has faced pressure from top Republicans to withdraw from the race since his controversial abortion comments.
This week also provided me with an interesting story. On Wednesday, legislatures voted to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto regarding the contraception law. Shortly after this happened, a Kansas City labor union filed the first legal action against the law. The labor union's lawyer, Edward Keenan, says he hopes to be in court within the next few weeks. He also hopes to file a preliminary injunction within the next few days.
This story was exciting to cover and looks like the case could go all the way to the state Supreme Court. I hope to cover the story as the case develops because it affects many people and is a major story.
This week was very busy but provided great experience and will help me in the future when I report on House or Senate hearings. This week also helped me feel more comfortable talking face-to-face with senators and representatives and not feeling as intimidated as I did when I first began working at the state Capitol.
Thursday presented another drought story. The drought is causing issues across Missouri. Thursday, I focused on how the drought is affecting grape production and quality of wine. The story was intriguing because it was something not many people think about. The affects of the drought on winemakers is bittersweet. It is helping the taste of wine but also decreasing the total crop yield producers are harvesting.
This week showed the range of stories you are able to work on in Jefferson City. I went from reporting on the governor's press conference to a story on wine in the same week. Working in Jefferson City is a great opportunity because you can get a variety of stories, so there is never a dull moment.
This is not the first outbreak of the virus. Bluetongue typically occurs during periods of drought and the last significant case of this virus occurred in 2007. Luckily, the virus does not pose a threat to humans and tends to die 24-hours after the infected animal dies.
The main problem I had in reporting this story was finding a second source that knew about the virus and/or encountered a deer that may have died from the virus. Searching for my second source allowed me to understand how difficult it can be to find someone willing to talk. I finally was able to find my second source and my finished story turned out pretty well. This week was already a major improvement from last week. I was not as intimidated as I was the first week and my interview questions allowed me to gain a good understanding of the disease.
The great thing about working in Jefferson City is the fact that it is like a real job. The stories go out to news publications throughout Missouri so you have to produce news stories that are well done so they are able to be used. It allows you to learn by doing, which is the idea behind the Missouri Method.
The biggest issue I had the first day was calling Republican Senator Jim Lembke. I have never interviewed a senator and it is a little intimidating. Therefore, I failed to ask many great questions. After talking about my interview experience with Matt Evans, I was given some good advice and hope to be better prepared and less intimidated when I speak with a senator in the future.
I am thrilled to have my first day behind me and look forward to a semester of reporting in Jefferson City. I am happy to have my first day jitters out of the way and excited to soak up knowledge from both Phill Brooks and all the teaching assistants. I have only reported for one shift and I already have learned so much from the experience. Even though I will not be a broadcast expert at the end of the semester, the knowledge and experience this will give me is going to be amazing as I move forward in my broadcast career.
Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.