Christine Roto is a Radio/TV journalism and political science dual major at the Missouri School of Journalism. She also works at mid-Missouri's NBC affiliate KOMU-TV8 News station in Columbia, Mo. as an anchor, reporter and web editor. Christine is expected to graduate in the spring of 2014. She hopes to attend law school after completing her undergraduate.
Christine graduated in 2010 from Palatine High School in Palatine, Ill.
Stories by Christine Roto in 2014 include:
Stories by Christine Roto in 2013 include:
Stories by Christine Roto in 2012 include:
Christine Roto's Tweets @MDNnews in 2014
- 02/06/2014: Republicans file articles of impeachment against governor http://bit.ly/1hUyD5k
- 02/13/2014: Police Chief opposes "unconstitutional" NHTSA traffic stops http://bit.ly/1hUyD5k
- 02/13/2014: Mo. lawmaker says citizens feel rights are violated with NHTSA traffic stops http://bit.ly/1czVV9C
- 03/06/2014: Mo. Lawmaker pushes for bipartisan support on cancer bill http://bit.ly/1hUyD5k
- 03/06/2014: Mo. lawmakers push for coverage of oral cancer medicine http://bit.ly/1igssJQ
- 04/03/2014: Missouri House sends "Paycheck Protection" bill to the Senate http://bit.ly/1hUyD5k
- 04/03/2014: Missouri House sends 'paycheck protection' bill to Senate despite zero Democratic support #moleg http://bit.ly/OfV87K
- 04/10/2014: Income Tax Cut bill propelled forward http://bit.ly/1hUyD5k
- 04/10/2014: Missouri lawmakers propel income tax cut bill forward http://bit.ly/1kx6Jyt
- 04/10/2014: Missouri Ways & Means Committee passes income tax cut bill onto Rules Committee http://bit.ly/1kx9Er1
- 05/08/2014: According to the @kcstar, fmr Gov. Teasdale has died. http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/08/5011699/former-missouri-gov-joe-teasdale.html
Christine Roto's Tweets @MDNnews in 2013
- 01/30/2013: Missouri lawmakers question Highway Patrol on purchase of $5.6 million plane http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 01/30/2013: Mo. Lawmakers Grill Highway Patrol on New Airplane Purchase http://bit.ly/WgfRdh
- 02/04/2013: Senator Kraus pushes SB27 for ID requirements for Missouri voters http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 02/04/2013: Senator pushes for stronger Missouri voter photo ID requirements. http://bit.ly/11DHNuX
- 02/06/2013: Supporters and opponents of the right-to-work bill overflowed the House Committee hearing Wednesday morning http://bit.ly/X6egpM
- 02/13/2013: Lawmakers question Missouri officials about the necessity of the recent plane purchase. http://bit.ly/UgxZnc
- 02/18/2013: Mo. prevailing wage law definitions could face revisions http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 02/20/2013: Mo. lawmakers dismissed from the Capitol early to prepare for the winter storm http://bit.ly/13hHK3Z
- 02/25/2013: Hundreds of sex offenders on the Mo. registry could be released. http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 02/25/2013: Mo. sex offenders might see an opportunity to have their names from registry according to a new House bill. http://bit.ly/13Lziu9
- 02/27/2013: Teacher tenure discussion fuels tension among Mo. lawmakers. http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 02/27/2013: Teachers and other school officials showed up to the Capitol to discuss changes to teacher tenure http://bit.ly/Y4zYdj
- 02/27/2013: Tensions high among Mo. lawmakers on discussion over teacher tenure changes. http://bit.ly/Y4A4Sl
- 03/04/2013: Republican lawmakers' quest for voter ID legislation continues http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 03/04/2013: Republican lawmakers continue to push voter ID legislation http://bit.ly/15ubFcd
- 03/06/2013: Mo. Supreme Court hears case on 2012 fiscal withholdings http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 03/06/2013: Mo. Supreme Court hears case on withheld appropriation funds from the 2012 fiscal budget. http://bit.ly/169whHT
- 03/13/2013: Mo. Senate committee questions Revenue Department on storing citizen ID information http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 03/13/2013: Sen. Schaeffer to DOR :creating "Orwellian files" on Mo. citizens? DOR can't verify citizens ID info deleted from database @chrissyterez
- 03/13/2013: Sen. Schaefer says he's heard many different stories from DOR on reason for grant from Dept. of Homeland Security http://bit.ly/XJsVZ9
- 03/18/2013: MoDOT http://bit.ly/ZESokT
- 04/03/2013: Fear of segregation arises over legislation that would divide St. Louis school district http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 04/03/2013: Lawmakers hear legislation proposal to extend normal school year by five weeks http://bit.ly/10rne1z
- 04/10/2013: Mo. senator upholds threat to shut down Revenue Department's budget http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 04/10/2013: Mo. lawmakers demand answers from Revenue Department on state database http://bit.ly/Xt0SNj
- 04/15/2013: Mo. Senator calls on the Gov. Jay Nixon to answer pending questions on Revenue Department http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 04/15/2013: Mo. Senator calls on Governor to answer pending questions on Revenue Department http://bit.ly/13avDak
- 04/17/2013: Nearly two years after a tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo. lawmakers push for funding for a relief program http://bit.ly/11eDZhh
- 04/22/2013: Proposed Senate budget slashes funds to departments involved in license scandal http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 04/22/2013: Departments involved in license scandal feel deep cuts from proposed budget http://bit.ly/17eQyeO
- 04/24/2013: Lawmakers revamp contract moving Missourians to federal welfare programs http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 04/24/2013: Mo. DSS amends contract aimed at saving taxpayer money by moving state welfare recipients to federal disability http://bit.ly/11lrnTV
- 05/01/2013: Mo. Revenue Department director fails to appear before lawmakers http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 05/01/2013: Social Security Administration Agents say they never started investigation on concealed carry permit holder list http://bit.ly/10WRs0J
- 05/08/2013: Office of Administration, Missouri House fire sunshine requests back-and-forth http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 05/08/2013: Mo. Commissioner of Administration says House is blocking his open records request http://bit.ly/10s0ilC
- 09/05/2013: Mo. auditor not impressed with St. Louis public schools http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 09/12/2013: Dem. Rep @jacobhummel says vetoed gun bill made Mo. "the laughing stock of the country." #moleg @eric_stoyanov
- 09/12/2013: @jacobhummel on HB436 "we just cannot seem to get the majority party to stop proposing ridiculous bills like this" @eric_stoyanov
- 09/12/2013: "Maybe this explains why I'm in the majority party and he's in the minority party" R-Rep. Funderburk to D-Rep. Hummel @eric_stoyanov
- 09/12/2013: Missouri groups speak out against failed tax cut override http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 09/26/2013: @jaybarnes5 led interim committee on federal waivers for Medicaid, looked to other states for guidance http://bit.ly/1eL1Xt8
- 09/26/2013: State lawmakers put partisanship aside to discuss Medicaid expansion http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 10/24/2013: ACLU sues Department of Corrections http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 11/14/2013: Gov. Nixon orders state to accept joint tax filing for same-sex couples http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 11/14/2013: Gov. Nixon issues executive order for same-sex couples to file joint state tax returns http://bit.ly/1ie5Oim
- 11/21/2013: Canceled health insurance plans allowed to continue in Missouri http://bit.ly/UBv8Rp
- 11/21/2013: Mo. Dept of Insurance to health insurance companies: allow coverage renewal for plans canceled under ACA http://bit.ly/18bMMaQ
Christine Roto's Tweets @MDNnews in 2012
- 08/30/2012: Missouri's lawns take a beating from the drought http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 09/06/2012: Droughts continues to have unwanted effects on prices of ethanol, gas http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 09/11/2012: A committee met today to discuss pre-need funeral contracts http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 09/11/2012: Funeral homes are dying from debt costs http://bit.ly/NYvyUn
- 09/11/2012: Funeral homes are still dying from debt costs http://bit.ly/NYvC6y
- 09/13/2012: Missouri will not join the coolaition to petition for a waiver to the current federal ethanol mandate http://bit.ly/Q6fvzs
- 09/20/2012: Newt Gingrich is scheduled to support Todd Akin at fundraising events Monday. http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 09/20/2012: Newt Gingrich is scheduled to support Todd Akin at fundraising events on Monday http://bit.ly/UuNLc7
- 10/02/2012: Missouri governors will have more power over Missouri courts if the Missouri Plan is amended in November. http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 10/02/2012: Controversy stirs over language of the Court Plan amendment on Nov. ballot. http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 10/02/2012: Amendment 3 causes controversy for the Missouri Non-partisan Court Plan http://bit.ly/QVwtRI
- 10/04/2012: Voters will get to weigh in on selection of Missouri judges in November. http://bit.ly/PUkeVJ
- 10/09/2012: Todd Akin reaches $1 million in online campaign donations. http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 10/09/2012: Controversial Senatorial candidate Todd Akin reaches $1 million in online donations http://bit.ly/QdZyYN
- 10/11/2012: Silver-Haired Legislature approves senior-related issues to bring before state lawmakers http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 10/11/2012: Silver Haired Legislature approves senior-related issues to bring before state lawmakers http://bit.ly/VWvzKA
- 10/23/2012: No after-school programs available for public school students dismissed early today due to Jeff City water problems @chrissyroto
- 10/23/2012: A water main break in Jefferson City caused schools to shut down city wide http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 11/01/2012: Missouri GOP candidates kick off two day bus tour in Jefferson City http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 11/06/2012: US Senatorial candidate Todd Akin has attracted a high volume of media attention at his watch party in Chesterfield, MO. #MOSEN @chrissyroto
- 11/06/2012: Todd Akin watch party kicks off with a prayer, the plegde of allegiane, and the National Anthem #MOSEN @chrissyroto
- 11/06/2012: Young conservative group "Generation Joshua" speaks at Todd Akin watch party about importance of young voters #MOSEN @chrissyroto
- 11/06/2012: Young conservative group "Generation Joshua" speaks at Todd Akin watch party about importance of young voters #MOSEN @chrissyroto
- 11/06/2012: Akin campaign advisor Rick Tyler says Todd Akin has called Claire McCaskill to concede.. Crowd gathers to hear from Akin himself @chrissyroto
- 11/06/2012: Akin campaign advisor Rick Tyler says Todd Akin has called Claire McCaskill to concede..Crowd gathers to hear from Akin himself @chrissyroto
- 11/08/2012: Senate Republicans, Democrats choose new leadership http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 11/08/2012: Senate Democrats choose new leaders http://bit.ly/Z8YMku
- 11/13/2012: October Jobs Report shows Missouri unemployment rate lower than national average http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
- 11/13/2012: October job reports show Missouri's unemployment rate is still below the national average. http://bit.ly/SKFEoG
- 12/04/2012: Missouri House Committee on Local Governance hears about districting options for Missouri. http://bit.ly/y7eJ0o
Christine Roto's Blog in 2012
This week, I was able to cover the Missouri GOP bus tour kick-off in Jefferson City. The opportunity was important because it taught me how to cover government officials.
There were many candidates at the event, but the one I was most interested in talking to before the election was Secretary of State candidate Shane Shoeller because of the controversy there has been on ballot language lately. I had recently done a story on Amendment 3, and changes possibly being made to Missouri's Non-Partisan Court Plan. In the story, there had been a lawsuit over the language on the ballot for the Amendment, and I was interested in what Shoeller had to say about it. He said he thought the Secretary of State's office had more lawsuits against them for ballot language than ever before.
It was also interesting to hear the main points each candidates emphasized in their speeches for last stitch efforts before election day.
Week of no stories
On Tuesday of this week, I worked on my feature story on Missouri healthcare. I was able to read Stacey Kafka’s stories she had done on the issue last year. I was able to make a list of resources to contact. I drew up an outline of my story ideas.
On Thursday, Katie and I worked on a follow up story to the story Brandon Cullerton had done on Wednesday about drug testing for welfare recipients. The law passed in July 2011, and there has still not been one single person drug tested. We were curious to figure out why. Rebecca Woelfel, spokesperson for the Social Services Department, said the reason for the delay is because there is a process to go through to implement the law. The department had to wait for the budget to be drawn up in order to start a process of laws and an open commentary period for public comment. We were curious (and still are curious) why the rules were not drawn up before they received the budget, so as soon as the budget was received they could start the drug testing. Woelfel also said the first drug testing is expected in February of 2013.
We still have many unanswered questioned so we will be finishing the story on Tuesday.
Speeding up the Process
This week, I really had to focus on working more quickly. I had to do a day-turn both days this week, so I had to really focus and get down to business to produce the stories quickly and efficiently.
On Tuesday, I covered a story about Todd Akin reporting that he has reached $1 million in online campaign funds. The story was not too difficult, except that Senator Claire McCaskill's office did not return my calls. It is difficult to write a well developed story when a huge part of the story is missing. The story would have been better with a quote from how McCaskill's office or how the Missouri Democratic Party feels this will affect Akin's campaign.
On Thursday, the Silver Haired Legislature met to discuss propositions to help elderly folks in Missouri. The group is made up of senators and representatives 60 years and older from 10 areas throughout the state. They come up with 18-25 proposals to vote on and condense into 5 propositions for the General Assembly. The propositions focus on funding for senior programs. The story was a little difficult to report on because there were so many proposals, and they were not always perfectly clear in explanation.
The week helped me to understand how quickly a reporter must work to get day-turns done in time.
Non- Partisan Court Plan faces changes on the November ballot
This week, I finished up my ballot issue on Amendment 3. The ballot measure makes changes to the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan that was established over seventy years ago. Sen. Jim Lembke (R- St. Louis County) has led the effort to get the amendment to appear on the ballot.
The current system removes appellate level judges from having to seek
election in partisan elections. For state appeals judges, they are
selected from a panel of nominees compiled of three governor appointees,
three lawyers selected by the Missouri Bar Association and the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court.
"The original Constitution had the proper checks, and currently there is
no check on the judicial branch of government as far as how we choose
judges to the highest court," said Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis County.
"The Missouri Plan is currently controlled by one special interest
group: the trail attorneys."
The amendment eliminates the Chief Justice from the panel and allows
the governor four appointees to the commission instead of three, which
would make his appointees the majority.
Lembke said the "modest" change would allow the people of Missouri to
hold the governor accountable for the people the governor puts on that
commission. Lembke said this will restore a check between the executive
branch of government and the judicial branch.
The Missouri Bar, as well as other opponents of the amendment have stood up against the amendment claiming there is no reason to change something that works, and the current court system works.
I was disappointed I was not able to add in some controversy which arose during the week. Supporters of the amendment brought a suit against the Secretary of State's Department to change the description of the amendment provided to voters on the ballot. Supporters say the summary is insufficient and does not provide the voter's enough information. The court ruled in favor of the Secretary of State, so the summary will stay as it is. Also, opponents of the amendment have continued to campaign against the amendment.
I learned this week that when news develops on a story I am working on, I have to work harder to keep up to date with changes. My story would have been better if I would have been able to add in the developing news.
Newt Gingrich to support Todd Akin
Once presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has offered to come to St. Louis to help Todd Akin raise money for Todd Akin's campaign, according to Akin's campaign adviser Rick Tyler.
Rick Tyler said it is very important that Missouri Republicans win a seat in the Senate if Republicans want to have a majority. In order for this to happen, it is crucial that Akin gains more support and raises more money to fill the gap between his and U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill's campaign funds.
Tyler was also Press Secretary for Gingrich for over 10 years.
The official date to drop out of the Senate race is on Sept. 25. However, overseas and military ballots are sent out on Sept. 22, so if they withdraw after the 22, they would have to pay the costs of the ballots already printed, according to Stacie Temple, Communication Director for the Secretary of State's Department.
Tyler said there is no way Akin will drop out of the race.
Pre-Need Funeral Costs
This week, we covered the Interim House Committee hearing on Pre-Need Funeral Trusts on Tuesday. The committee heard testimony from people affected by previous problems with the National Prearrangement Services. The NPS was essentially a scam company years ago. People would set up a contract for future funeral arrangements with NPS and pay them. When the person died, the NPS was supposed to pay the funeral homes for the cost. The NPS never ended up paying the funeral homes, so the funeral homes had to cover the costs themselves and lost a lot of money.
In 2008 the Guaranteed Fund was passed as a way to help funeral homes out of their debt. The fund, however, was supposed to be short term. Now it is three and a half years later, and the fund is costing the state about $18 million a year, and not even helping the funeral homes to a great extent. This is because the Guarantee Fund does not account for inflation rates, so funeral homes are still having to cover the difference, and still losing money. There has been discussion on the possibility of a private firm which would not be state funded, but in which would serve a similar purpose to how NPS was supposed to be.
Representative Chris Molendorp, (R), says this is the first of many hearings to discuss plans on how to deal with the debt.
Controversial ethanol mandate
This week I worked on a story that started out to be about corn prices due to the drought and developed into a focus on waivers for the ethanol mandate. Not knowing much about corn or ethanol, I started the week with research...lot's of research. By the end of the day Tuesday, I was able to fully understand the effects of the drought on the price of corn, the effect of the price of corn on the production of ethanol, and the effect of ethanol on the price of gasoline.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that 35-40 percent of corn is diverted to ethanol production this year. The problem comes in because consumers of corn, like livestock owners, have to use corn to feed their livestock. The Environmental Protection Agency recently started a 30-day open-commentary period for the public to give feedback on whether there should be a waiver to the federal mandate of ethanol production this year because of the drought. The decision will be made on Nov. 12.
I am working on figuring out exactly who has requested the waiver, and that is how I will finish up writing the story.
First week of real reporting
Our first week at MDN was quite a new experience. We have been taught in our past journalism classes how to interview and write stories in a timely fashion... but never something that might be published. The best thing about the opportunity at the Capitol Burea is being treated like a real reporter. When we arrive, we are given an idea, and it is our responsibility to do the rest.
Though it was difficult, my first story was on the drought and the effect it has had on people's lawns and plants. This is an important topic because Missouri is one of the states most impacted by the drought. I talked to a horticulturist from the University of Missouri who gave advice on how people can care for their lawns during the drought. I also talked to a forecaster from the National Weather Service who provided information on what we can expect from the rain from Hurricane Isaac. My third source, a landscape company owner from St. Louis, told me how his company expects to benefit from the drought because of the extra help people need with their lawns. The story was not a particularly difficult subject, however I was not all that impressed with my story. It was difficult to come up with good angles since the drought will be affected by Hurricane Isaac, and I am obviously not a weatherman. I hope to produce better stories from here on out so that I can be proud of my work.
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