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Luke Lyddon's Blog in 2013

Posted 04/23/2013: 

These past few weeks at the state Capitol have seem to become easier to finish my daily stories in a timely fashion. I recently covered stories about gun debates on the House floor as well as Lawmakers fighting for special needs children throughout Missouri.

Now if I were told to cover this four months ago, I am sure I would be lost and would have had a very difficult time producing and editing these stories. But with the help of all the TA's throughout the four months I have been with MDN I have finally made great progress and feel confident with the stories I tell. I understand politics and how the chambers work, and my interviewing skills have improved significantly.

I think the time here at MDN so far has, for a fact, made me a better journalist. My writing has improved which has led me to create better stories which have great potential to air across Missouri.

I am looking forward to finishing my feature story about Mike Kehoe's bill SJR 16, which would raise the state sales tax by 1% and the proceeds would affect local highways, state highway purposes, etc. With the progress I have made thus far, I believe that this feature story will turn out very well.

Week Six
Posted 03/18/2013:  Week six was just as entertaining as last week. For my Tuesday shift I continued to follow the guns story and collect more information about the pivotal issue at hand. Although I only produced one wrap, I learned the lesson of persistence as a journalist. I tried multiple hours to get in contact with the private attorney associated with the lawsuit down in Stoddard County regarding the license offices working with the Dept. of Homeland Security but could not get in contact with him.

After three and a half hours on continuing to call his office and trying to find other contact information, I finally got a hold of him and got great quotes out of the phone recording. The lesson of the day was obviously to continue to be persistent, don't take no for an answer and never give up. I will continue to use this in a reasonable manner throughout my entire journalism career. Another day in the office, another lesson learned.

Big issue at hand
Posted 03/10/2013:  This past week was the most interesting and exciting week I have had at the state Capitol. On Thursday a large story broke out about how the Missouri Department of Revenue was working with the federal Dept. of Homeland Security to process concealed carry permits.

When I was assigned to this story, I was excited about the opportunity to interview multiple politicians about their stance on this issue and what their ultimate plan is. The interviews I conducted went very smoothly and I seemed to get the answers I was looking for in relation to the issue/lawsuit that was occurring. Because of the significance of this story, I was excited about the opportunity to show the MDN staff that I can find the answers we are seeking and ask the right questions.

I hope to make this my feature story and find out more details about this topic and inquire people from all over the state to get to the bottom of the issue. I am looking forward to the opportunity of reporting solid journalism and giving this story to the public to listen to, and learn the truth about this controversial topic. Stay tuned for next week, for more updates about this story and the progress I have made.

Tax Credits
Posted 02/22/2013:  This week was definitely a step in the right direction. Because Thursday was cancelled due to the heavy rain storm, I only worked at the Capitol on Tuesday. Although it was only one day of work and only reported one story, I felt more accomplished than previous shifts because my TA's approved my wraps with little to no errors.

My story this week was about a bill that would eliminate tax credits and lower the income tax, so it may not have been the most intriguing story of the week but this is what made me more excited. I was able to take a story that was not as "interesting" as others and make it my own and a story worth listening to. Now I know that it was not perfect, but I do believe that I am improving each week and I am excited to grow as a journalist and story teller as the semester progresses.

Posted 02/15/2013:  Week three was interesting to say the least. Since the Capitol is in session, there have always been stories to cover but the one I had this week was about E. Coli and the lakes in Missouri.

Republican senator Dan Brown was pushing for a bill that would make the State Department of Natural Resources use a more efficient test to look for E. Coli in the lakes throughout Missouri. The primary challenge I had with this story was to find opposition to this bill.

To create a great story, it is always great to find an angle from both sides but for this story I cold find no one that was "Pro E. Coli." I was interested in contacting the department of tourism in Missouri to see what their thoughts were about possible lakes being shut down due to potential sewage runoff, but it was President's Day and no offices were open.

Overall, the story was informative enough to the public and I felt it came together as well as it could be, but I will only continue to push and find more opposition to every story I create.

Minor baby steps week two
Posted 02/08/2013:  Week two has just finished and was definitely a step in the right direction. Ever since I started working with MDN, it has been a minor struggle to adapt to the environment and become excellent at what I am doing. But with the help of the TA's and Phill Brooks himself, they have made it an easier process.

This week I covered two stories about federal firearm laws federal grant disclosures. The hearing on the federal firearms was extensive as it was over an hour and a half, but was interesting to see and experience what a true hearing is about. I was able to obtain interviews easily, but it was the writing that was the most difficult part.

I believe that I making it a tougher transition to broadcast writing from print than it truly has to be. Phill Brooks gave me tips on ways to make this type of writing easier, and frankly more conversational. This advice was very helpful as it helped me crank out my second story about federal grant disclosures faster than I have before.

So as of right now, I am still in the process of becoming a better writer and reporter for MDN. But the baby steps I have taken along the way can only help in the long run and for that I am thankful and appreciative.

First Week with MDN
Posted 02/01/2013:  My first week at the State Capitol was a very unique and "real" experience, than anything I have experienced before. I had heard previously that the shifts were long, but it felt like a seven hour shift was only an hour making me realizing that reporting is my really my calling.

The tour around the Capitol itself was extensive, but exciting at the same time because I was able to see where I will be reporting real stories for the first time in my young and upcoming career. I figured that my first day would just to be introduced to everyone in the newsroom and introduction to the equipment and things of that nature, but to my surprise I also made my first story the same day.

The story was not anything spectacular especially since it only contained one wrap, but was still exciting knowing that my story could have the potential of airing to thousands of people on the radio. I had a chance to learn how to do a phone interview (while recording) and edit the soundbites which was more than I was expecting my first day/orientation.

My second day was a lot more eventful because I was assigned to the Senate and finding out if certain tax credits would pass or not. Now I do not have a lot of knowledge about politics, but I can say I learned an enormous amount in one day than I even could have imagined. With the help of the TA's and reporters around me I created my first "full" story with three wraps and soundbites and it turned out to be a success.

Overall, the story itself took a while to put togehter because it was my first real day on the job but it only motivates me to become a better journalist to find better story angles and possibly even soundbites. This will be a great learning process this semester and couldn't be happier that I decided to report with MDN. Stay tuned!

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