He started reporting at the MU campus student television station, MUTV 23. There he worked in production, filming, anchoring, editing, web writing and reporting on various events around campus. During his sophomore year, he began to work in news at the NBC-affiliate, KOMU-TV 8.
During his time there, he has gain production, anchoring and producing experience. Lindquist continues his work with the university while reporting at the Missouri State Capitol for Missouri Digital News.
Posted 05/13/2015: This weeks marks the end of my MDN career. I have learned so much since I started here in August last year. Phill and everyone involved has taught me so much and has made my experience so much more enjoyable.
So, let me tell you a little bit about what I covered this week during the last week of session.
A Senate committee approved legislation that moves Missouri closer to becoming a Right to Work state.
In a hearing of the Senate Small Business committee, senators heard from a long line of union workers in opposition of making Missouri a Right to Work state.
Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, is the chairman of the committee. Many of Parson's calls for testimony in support of the bill went unanswered.
One of the testimonials in support of Right to Work included Missourians Right to Work representative Greg Johns.
"It's proven that out union membership will build if we have a right to work law in the state of Missouri," Johns said.
Terry Nelson, a representative of the Carpenters' District Council of greater St. Louis and Vicinity, does not share his views.
"If you take the opportunity away from me and my union to negotiate reasonable living wage plus benefits again I say shame on you!" Nelson said. "Let the general public decide what needs to be done. Do not put shackles on the arms of the unions by not allowing us to do what we do best and that's to have a partnership with the people we survive with."
People in the hallway outside the packed hearing room were heard applauding and cheering after opposing comments were made on the bill.
The committee voted 5-3 in support of the legislation sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield.
Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Jefferson County, voted no on the bill.
"The poll that we did when I got elected, 56 percent of labor households supported me," Wieland said. "The labor people put me here, I have family in the unions. For my district, it's the right thing to do."
The bill would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to: join or refuse to join a union, pay fees or other charges to a union, or pay any third party or charity instead of paying a union.
Laurie, an employee of Schnuck's in St. Charles, said lawmakers should put the issue on a ballot to let Missourians decide for themselves.
"I have a voice and Right to Work will take that voice away from me and I'm not willing to give it up," Laurie said. "I think that if we want this to be put out there, then it should be the voice of the people that says whether or not we go Right to Work and it should be put on a ballot, not put on a plat and given to us."
The House approved the bill in February.
If Missouri becomes a Right to Work state, it will be the nation's 26th state to adopt Right to Work legislation.
The Senate approved the bill May 12 sending it back to the House. The House approved it May 13 sending it to Governor Nixon's desk for approval, but he is expected to veto.
This week I did a story on the involvement of Gov. Jay Nixon.
Some lawmakers are saying that Nixon did not stand true on a promise he made back in January during the State of the State address.
The governor said in his address that he would "visit the third floor more often" - meaning he would spend more time engaging with legislators and give more of his two-sense on bills.
"Now, I'm willing to do my part," he said. "Rumor has it that I don't spend enough time on the third floor. I hear you...and I'll be coming around more often."
Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, said he "hasn't seen his at all" and that Nixon "hasn't been very involved."
"In fact, even when things came up to override, I haven't heard from him like 'Please don't override' or 'Thanks for not overriding' or anything like that," LeVota said. "So, I think he has continued his very hands off approach to the legislature."
He said not having Nixon around is making lawmakers' jobs more difficult.
"It makes it a little more difficult to try to have to overcome those things," LeVota said. "I'm still waiting on a decision item that affects my area and I still don't know what he's going to do with the budget."
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, spoke in similarity, saying he hasn't seen much of the governor either.
"I think I had two meetings with him, which is probably two more meetings than I had with him over the budget last year," Schaefer said. "But, he really hasn't been that engaged other then the past two days."
In the aftermath of Ferguson, Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County, called for the governor's resignation on the first day of the legislative session in January. She accused him of "failed leadership" and being absent in the activities surrounding the situation in Ferguson.
Gov. Nixon's office did not respond to a request for comment.
There is a bill in the legislature that would keep Missouri from being pushed further into debt because of the cost of building a new sports complex in St. Louis.
The bill would prohibit Gov. Jay Nixon from using bonds to pay for the new Rams football stadium without legislative or voter approval.
The House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, gave no commitment on whether there will be a vote on the bill before session ends in about two weeks.
Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, said if the bill doesn't pass, lawmakers will not pay for the bonds.
"If the Governor goes and manages to get bonds issued and go into debt to build a stadium without the vote of the legislation, we're probably not going to pay on those bonds," Schaaf said.
He said it wouldn't be right to make the citizens of Missouri pay for something they didn't authorize.
"My concern is that the people of Missouri won't be on the hook for paying for bonds that we didn't ask for," he said. "We are the legislature that represents the people. If they go and issue bonds, just don't expect us to pay for them."
Lawmakers have until May 15 to pass any proposed legislation.
Deputy Auditor Harry Otto said the expenses belonging to the employees of the governor's office should be paid for using the money appropriated to the governor's office.
"The auditor's office believes that there are bodies, there are people on the second floor of the governor's office, inside the walls of the governor's office doing governor office duties, but their expenses are being charged to and paid by other places," Otto said.
Since 2012, when the last audit was conducted, $1.9 million has come from other government agencies to cover costs of the governor's office and mansion.
Otto said the governor's misuse of funds is not allowing other agencies to pay for what they need.
"A budget is adopted and then the spending in that budget is being manipulated to some extent because elementary and secondary education gets "x" dollars to spend but then they've got to save some money or use some money to spend some expenses that were incurred buy the governor's office," Otto said. "So, therefore, they didn't get everything that they were supposed to get."
The audit stated that $948,000 went toward the salaries of six employees within the governor's office. Their travel expenses were also covered. Another $732,000 was used to cover other costs involving the governor's office and residence.
Otto said the governor's office charging other state agencies for its expenses was their "No. 1 finding."
Noted in the audit, the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Natural Resources and Public Safety are three of fourteen agencies that had money taken from them.
In addition, the report shows $1,300 were used to pay for a float trip for Gov. Nixon, his family, and four employees in the governor's office.
The Missouri House Civil committee heard from supporters and opponents of the bill. The bill would change the amount of revenue that can be supplied by traffic fines and court fees. Schmitt's bill, also known as Macks Creek Law, would reduce the current threshold for the general operating revenue for cities, towns, villages or counties from thirty to ten percent.
Schmitt said some cities that are allowing more than the current thirty percent to fund their budget are doing it unfairly.
"So as the economy has gone downward, these cities are grabbing for more and more revenue," Schmitt said. "And maybe they can get it from their citizens, but what they shouldn't be able to do is set up a speed trap to go find it."
Mel Gilbert is an attorney from St. Buffalo. He said he doesn;t think the bill is a good idea because some counties do not generate enough revenue from visitors.
"The ones that don't have tourism dollars," Gilbert said. "Ones that don't have a Walmart. Ones that don't have sales tax generation to have a city budget capable of independently supoporting a police department. It's apples and oranges with the metropolitan areas and back in the country regarding this Macks Creek Law."
Schmitt said local municipalities need to enforce their city ordinances more effectively and not worry about how much money they're making from it.
"At the heart of it, it is about the over reach of government," Schmitt said. "It is about government finding a new and innovative way to reach into your pocket without ever asking you if it's OK. Is it true that people are speeding? Yes. But when you have a certain number you're trying to hit every year, to me, that's less and less about enforcement and more and more about revenue generation."
The revenue is excess of the current thirty percent limit must be sent to the Department of Revenue where it is then distributed to schools in the same area where the fees were collected.
The new development in this story since the last time I covered it is that it has moved further into the legislative process: The Senate passed the bill on Feb. 12 with a vote of 34-0.
Rep. Tommie Pierson, D-St. Louis City, is the sponsor of the bill because he said it's time to do something to force police officers to think before they draw their weapons.
"I think that too many African American teenagers and males, in particular, are getting shot down by police officers unarmed," Pierson said. "They don't seem to be violating any law."
Rep. Shawn Rhoads, R-West Plains, is the chairman of the House Public Safety committee. He said he thinks current Missouri law regarding police use of force needs to be updated but the language in the bill needs to be changed before it passes.
"I think it needs a little bit of work and we're going to do that to it," Rhoads said. "We're really needing to kind of help out our laws in Missouri as far as use of force."
Rhoads said the wording of the bill as it stands does not reflect the Supreme Court's decision in Tennessee v. Garner in 1985.
The Supreme Court said when an officer is in pursuit of a suspect, the officer cannot use deadly force unless they believe the suspect poses a significant threat to their or others safety.
Pierson said this bill would help save people's lives.
"Every time we can cause a police officer to think before he shoots, it saves somebody's life," Pierson said. "Police officers have to understand that they're not the judge, jurors and executioners. Their job is to arrest people, not kill them."
He said this bill is "absolutely" a result of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson.
"Ferguson is not just Ferguson," Pierson said. "Ferguson is all over the country. That's why it spread like it did. Because it has an affect on so many people's lives across this country."
The bill would require the officer to remain suspended until an investigation is complete.
Rhoads also said he thinks there will be plenty of support and it will have no problems passing. I was a little surprised to hear that coming from a Republican. I was expecting him to say something negative about the bill and that it was unnecessary. I guess it's nice to see both sides working together.
That's all from this week. Check back next week to see what the General Assembly is doing as session gets closer to coming to an end.
The committee heard testimony on two bills that would require Missouri high school to pass a test similar to the test immigrants take when they want to become US citizens.
The bills revise current Missouri law stating high school students have to pass an exam relating to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions.
Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Callaway County, is the sponsor of one of the bills. She said her bill take the future of this country into consideration.
"For our government to function properly for years to come, our children and grandchildren must be active and knowledgeable participants," Riddle said. "If the citizens of this state and country choose not to be knowledgeable or at least active participants then our government will never be of the people, by the people, and for the people."
The test is one hundred questions and a passing grade of at least 60 percent is required.
The bill allows students to take it as many times as necessary to pass it. Riddle said despite the exam change, teachers are doing their job.
"I think our teachers are teaching the appropriate information for students to become competent in these areas," Riddle said. "The question then becomes are the current tests sufficient to validate that they truly know their government and how it works. I think the evidence shows they are not and it's because they don't take it seriously."
Retired social studies teacher Bill Erling said the federally designed test is not what students should be tested on.
"This test is designed for immigrants who are just learning our culture," Erling said. "It was not designed for most students who have lived in the United States all of their lives. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service test does not require any knowledge of Missouri's Constitution."
Erling said it is important for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to a local government.
"Students would not have to know anything about state or local government," Erling said. "I believe it is important for students to have this knowledge to be able to exercise the knowledge with the government closest to them - state and local."
The Senate committee took no immediate action on the bills.
Phill also taught me a few valuable lessons this week.
For example, never use the word "may" in your articles. It sounds like you don't know what you're really talking about and what you're reporting may not be true or may not happen.
Another lesson: broadcast style writing is way more simple than I'm making it. To construct a broadcast style sentence, you just have to write what you would say in a conversation. It's just like talking to your friend about a story.
So all in all, it was an educational week. Next week is spring break, so no reporting next week. But it all resumes the following week. See you then!
My story wasn't very exciting but KMOX wanted something on it so I covered it for them.
It was on a House Health and Mental Health Policy committee hearing of a house bill sponsored by Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis County. If passed, the bill would require the Department of Health to make the public aware if certain infections arise from surgeries.
Allen said this bill revises a previous bill from 2005.
House Staff Member Chris Dunn is working with Allen. He said she reported an alarming statistic in the hearing that this bill would help fix.
"I think [Allen] said about 75,000 people a year die from a hospital acquired infection," Dunn said. "And hospitals don't want that to get out, and I'm not trying to beat up hospitals, but they don't want that to get out. If you find put that a hospital isn't doing a good job with preventing infections, you won't go to that hospital. If you don't go to that hospital, they lose money."
The bill changes current Missouri law to include infections associated with c-section and vaginal births, hip and knee replacements and hysterectomies including abdominal, vaginal, and laparoscopic.
Ventilator associated events and central-line related bloodstream infections must also be reported.
Allen's bill also calls for the Health Department to establish standards for the use of antibiotics.
Committee Chair Rep. Keith Frederick, R-Rolla, said people self-medicate too often.
"If you look at the global problem is probably ten percent hospital administered antibiotics and ninety percent community demand for antibiotics, anybody that's been involved in medical practice, you know what Rep. Kirkton just said, is a daily occurrence," Frederick said. "You know, I just want the antibiotics just in case it's bacterial. I don't care if it's a virus. I just want it in case it's bacterial."
Dunn said the regulations of antibiotics and infection reporting on the books now are not strong enough.
"The standards Missouri has in place today aren't strong enough to help the public make a good decision about where they should be treated or where they should go to have their surgeries," Dunn said.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker dropped convicted felon Raymond Robinson's charge because he said Robinson was acting within his right under Amendment 5 passed last year by voter approval.
Amendment 5 declares that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.
Dierker also said that the constitutional amendment is unconstitutional because it fails to differentiate between violent and non-violent felons.
Sponsor of the amendment, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said the text of the amendment specifies just that.
"Amendment 5 says violent felons can't possess firearms," Schaefer said. "It also says that anyone adjudicated mentally incompetent can't possess them."
And just when I thought I had to call up an opposing parties secretary to harass them to put me in contact with someone who could comment, I stumbled upon St. Louis Chief of Police Sam Dotson's online blog, where he posted his commentary on Amendment 5.
He said in part: "Missouri's Amendment 5 does very little to further the rights of law-abiding citizens, who have ultimate protection under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution," Dotson wrote. "What Missouri's Amendment 5 does do is give criminals the cover to have firearms, and it makes it harder to hold them accountable for their actions. It makes the jobs of police officers more dangerous and the jobs of prosecutors more difficult."
But Schaefer said the crime in St. Louis is a reoccurring problem every year.
"They are as restrictive on guns in the City of St. Louis as they can be and their crime has gone up every single year," Schaefer said. "The prosecutor Jennifer Joyce and Sam Dotson have both admitted they have a crime problem that they have no solution how to fix."
Schaefer said the intent of the amendment was not to allow convicted felons the right to possess firearms but to have the decision to remove the right justified by the crime.
"Should somebody who has a felony for criminal non-support for tax evasion, should they loose the right to own a hunting rifle for the rest of their lives?" Schaefer said. "Probably not."
Schaefer said those who want to repeal the amendment are just playing political games.
"You know, this is a political ploy by people who are simply anti-Second Amendment," Schaefer said.
I've never mentioned anything about the people I work with on Wednesday's and I think that's long overdue.
Jill, Matt, Kolbie, Hannah and Phill - thank you for making Wednesday so enjoyable for me. I have a blast at the Capitol with all of you, even though the hours can be long and sometimes boring. I look forward to going every week to do great work with all of you and I can not imagine a better, more fun, more dynamic group of people to work with, and I wouldn't want it any other way. So thank you!
State Auditor Tom Schweich died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Schweich announced his GOP candidacy for governor after being re-elected to another term as State Auditor. He was 54 and leaves behind a wife and two kids.
Some of my coworkers told me they have never seen the Capitol in such a somber mood and that some lawmakers had to go home to deal with the grief.
I think it's going to be weird walking by his office from now on because his death was so sudden and unexpected. I'm keeping his friends and family in my thoughts and prayers.
This week, I covered a hearing in the Senate Education committee. The bills being reviewed would prohibit public higher education institutions from denying religious student associations benefits available to other student clubs.
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is the sponsor of one of the bills and he said that religious freedoms are at the core of a constitutional form of government."Those religious beliefs are at the core foundation of our constitutional system of government and it is not the place of an institution of higher learning to tell people what they should or should not believe in the religious context or what religion they can practice," Schaefer said.
Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, questioned where the line separating religious freedoms and theocracy was drawn and said he thought these bills would be too theocratic."America was founded on religious freedoms, but where do we cross the line that were aiding and abetting a theocracy?" Brown said.
University of Missouri Law Professor Carl Esbeck testified in front of the committee in support of the bill and said it's a good idea but Missouri is not leading the way."Missouri is hardly breaking new ground here," Esbeck said. "That seven other states have already passed similar legislation: Ohio, Tennessee, Idaho, Oklahoma, Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina. So, Missouri is seeing the need here but it's certainly not breaking new ground."
I covered a hearing dealing with a bill that would disallow Gov. Jay Nixon from being eligible to be appointed to the UM Board of Curators. The bill restricts any current members of the board from voting to appoint or hire the person who appointed them to their position on the board.
No body testified for or against the legislation but Sen. Jason Holsman said it’s unnecessary because it’s never been a problem in Missouri.
I produced something for KMOX, but the exciting stuff came a little later…
I, along with three of my colleagues, covered the first Joint Committee hearing on Government Accountability. Their topic? The decisions made by the governor’s office regarding the Missouri National Guard in Ferguson.
The hearing lasted about three hours and media from all over the state was there to cover it.
The Mayor of Ferguson James Knowles was there to testify. To me, I heard a lot of “I don’t know” in response to the committee’s answers. That leads me to believe he was not kept in the loop during this and decisions were made without consulting him.
He said he didn’t even know about the FAA issuing a no-fly zone over his city until he read about it a few days later in the newspaper.
I noticed some of the lawmakers shaking their heads as Knowles was answering their questions.
Fire officials were also there to testify and they said they had to leave fires while they were still burning because they did not have force protection, as they were promised. They said they even had to leave a person inside a burning building because they feared for lives.
Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal offered her apologies to the officials for everything they and their firefighters had to endure that night because of the decisions made by the governor that night.
After the hearing ended, we were able to write a web story and six stories for KMOX!
I’m really glad I got to stick around to see it and help my colleagues out. We headed out around midnight, but I was really happy with the result of our hard work.
I was in charge of tweeting for MDN and we gained at least 25 followers as a result!
Chair of the committee Sen. Kurt Schaefer said there will be subsequent hearings featuring Ferguson police officers and some other officials involved in the incident. I’m excited to see what comes from those.Stay tuned! MDN will be there to cover it all for you!
Well, this is officially the last blog post of fall semester 2014. I have learned an incredible amount since I began here three and a half months ago and I look forward to learning so much more in the spring when the General Assembly is in session. The days of slow news are over! January is sure to bring some exciting days here at MDN.
My final week materialized a few good stories...
On Tuesday, I did a print and radio stories on a very large contribution to a lieutenant governor prospect by billionaire Rex Sinquefield. Beverly Randles would be the Republican candidate if she chooses to run. She is currently the chairwoman of Club for Growth in Missouri, which Sinquefield has funded over the years. Sinquefield gave her $1 million dollars to help her decide if she wants to challenge the incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, who has not announced if he will run for a historic fourth term.
Today, I help Phill out with a story about Governor Jay Nixon answering questions in front of the Joint Committee on Governmental Accountability about the deployment and purpose of the Missouri National Guard troops in the aftermath of the grand jury decision not to indict a Ferguson police officer.
If Nixon chooses not to appear before the committee, the group has left open the possibility that Nixon may be under the threat of a subpoena, which would force him to answer the questions.
I produced a good print story and a few radio wraps for KMOX.
That's it for now...I'm excited to return in January where I will work as a journalist for Missouri Digital News and KMOX for the first time while the General Assembly is in session. It promises to be an exciting and very educational process.
Until then, happy holidays!
Today marks one more week at MDN for the fall semester. I have learned an incredible amount during my time here and I'm looking forward to the spring semester during session.
This week was slow...On Tuesday, I wrote a piece on some of the laws filed as a result of the Ferguson incident. In particular, I wrote about the bills filed by Senators Jamilah Nasheed, Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Rep. Sharon Pace.
Both the print and radio stories turned out really well, I think. I did a synopsis of the bills they introduced and how they would change the language of current Missouri law concerning the use of lethal force by police.
Today, I did a piece on the newly elected legislators to the House of Representatives. Their "freshman" orientation was this week so I asked some of the members what it was like to be a new member of the state government, what they were learning about and what they plan to do during their time at the statehouse during session.
Both the print and radio stories turned out pretty well...It's not the most exciting story but it's current and happening here.
Well, next week is the last week for fall semester. We'll see what stories I get next week, but I'm really looking forward to all of the excitement and the buzz in the air around the statehouse that comes with session. I've learned a lot but there is so much left to learn...
As the Fall semester comes to an end, I'm realizing how much I have learned since I began here at MDN. Not to mention the great people I have met along the way. This place has really grown on me and I can't wait to see what it's like to be here while the General Assembly is in session.
We had to say goodbye to one of our own today. Xavier Crayton-Bradford is a dear friend of mine that I will miss very much. He is graduating from Lincoln University and is looking for a full-time job at a radio station. I know he will go on to do big things and I wish him luck in everything he does.
On Tuesday, I wrote a story on the October jobs report. It turned out pretty well and I got some good audio for my radio stories, as well. Turns out Missouri's unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%! That's the lowest it's been since June 2008!
Today (Thursday), I'm writing about a package of pay and credit increases put forth by a Missouri commission. It would increase the pay for statewide elected officials as well as lawmakers beginning in fiscal year 2016. I've got good audio from someone who is opposing the increases and I'm waiting for a phone call back from someone who supports it.
I think the print and KMOX stories are turning out well so far. Hopefully I get a call back so I get a complete story...
Next week is Thanksgiving so I will be out of the office for a much needed break! I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and I'll have more stories for you to read from the statehouse following the holiday.
Tuesday was Veterans Day so no work out of statehouse. Finally a day off!
Thursday, I came into work after looking at the St. Louis Post Dispatch as Kansas City Star's apps to see what some of the news was going on that day. I didn't really see anything that would call for our attention from the Capitol building. Once I got into the office, I started looking around a little more.
It turns out, Sen. Claire McCaskill told Sen. Harry Reid that she does not support him to become the senate minority leader because, after the November midterm elections resulting in a heavy swing to the Republican side, it's not what Missouri voters would like to see. She said she thinks Missouri citizens want change and that change begins with leadership.
Okay, so that's a pretty good story. McCaskill has flirted with the idea of running for governor in 2016 but has not confirmed anything...or denied. So, what made this a great story is linking this to her possible want to be the governor of Missouri someday. Does her vote against Reid build a foundation for her gubernatorial run in 2016? Is this her way of showing that she can be a more conservative Democrat to secure Missouri citizens' votes by voting no to a long-time Democratic leader (since 2005)?
I called an MU Political Science professor and he said that the decision not to vote for Reid sends a message to Missouri constituents that she is independent from the Democratic leadership and is not afraid to back away from it. He said it shows that she might be trying to align herself with voters for a gubernatorial run in 2016.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the story. The only thing that would have made it better is if McCaskill called me back because I did put in an interview request with her...
Oh well, stay tuned for more!
So, on Tuesday, I can into the MDN office where not much was happening. I started to research which states had a quarantine protocol established for travellers coming from western Africa for the purposes of trying to contain the spread of Ebola. Just as I found some good information, Phill calls and tells me that there have been a change in plans and that I have a new assignment. So get this...
The election took place on Tuesday and the governor went out to cast his ballot at his polling place. Someone on his staff snapped a picture from behind him showing him sitting and filling out his ballot. Also in the picture, a woman seated next to him filling out her ballot, but the woman's pants are not covering everything. For some reason, that picture was chosen to be tweeted out with a message encouraging citizens to get out and vote. The tweet went viral before it was deleted. Another picture was chosen to take its place and was tweeted out sometime later with the same caption as if nothing had ever happened. However, screenshots were taken of the tweet and showed up on the Internet in multiple places in a matter of minutes.
I made phone calls to the governor's press secretary for comment about who may have tweeted it or why that picture was tweeted in the first place, but my phone calls were not returned. There still is no word if an apology has been made to the woman in the photo.
Today, I will be attending the House Democratic Caucus following the election on Tuesday.
That's all for now...
On Tuesday, Phill gave me a story about the Missouri Board of Education. Some thought they would be announcing a new commissioner, which they did not.
The only sort-of piece of news that came out of the two-hour meeting is the reapproval of the Top 10 by 20 program, which they approved four years ago, and the approval of the transformation of the private De La Salle high school to a charter school named La Salle high school.
So I only did a voicer for KMOX on the process the Board of Education is taking to find and hire a new commissioner.
Thursday was a bit more exciting...
Missouri Attorney General was a major piece in a New York Times article that said his office, as well as other attorney's general offices, dropped investigations involving several companies in return for campaign contributions.
I wrote a newspaper story for MPA that turned out pretty well, but like most other days, no one was available for comment. I used news releases for the quotes, but I think it turned out pretty well. Of course, I would have preferred if I had gotten someone on the phone but a lot of times, sources don't like to release unprepared responses in situations like this.
Anyway, that was my week. We'll see what next week brings...Stay tuned!
This week, I wrote a piece about Amendment Ten, which is on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election.
The Amendment would allow lawmakers to override Gov. Nixon's withholdings, much like the power they already possess to override the governor's line-item vetoes.
I think it's the most talked about amendment on the ballot so I'm glad I got the chance to write a pretty solid story about it. Not to mention, I also got to produce a few radio staories for KMOX in St. Louis.
Today, on the other hand, is a very slow news day. I found a story about Missouri ranking near the bottom of an energy-efficiency list, which would be interesting because they fell from their place on the list last year. We'll see what happens...
That's all for now...despite not having a story idea right away, I always learn something new at MDN.
I got to try something new this week...
On Tuesday, I was assigned to a story about the mayor of St. Louis saying the city needs the governments help in addressing racial challenges and violence in the city. I tried calling a couple different legislators whose districts include or are near St. Louis for comment but no one picked up nor called me back after leaving messages. I also tried calling the House Speaker but no luck with that either.
I called the Governor's office to see if they had any comments about helping the biggest city in the state fix its racial challenges and violence issues...but nope. They never called me back either after leaving a message. I even called the press secretary's cell phone and left a message.
So Phill had this idea to send me to record a radio story from right outside the governor's office so everybody could hear that his office had no response to the mayor's plea for help.
I thought that was pretty cool and it worked pretty well, however, still no one talked to me...
Thursday, I had a story about Ebola...you know, that story that's been dominating the news? Well, apparently nurses have expressed their concern about being unprepared for an Ebola outbreak. I called the Missouri Hospital Association because our News Director at KMOX, John Butler, wanted to see what they had to say.
The man who talked to me gave me some useful information, however, the story is one-sided. I've tried contacting the National Nurses United in both St. Louis and Kansas City, but guess what...no answer. So, I'm still trying to deal with the ever-so-important requirement of journalism -- balance.
Next week, I will be reporting on a ballot issue. Amendment 10 will be up for a vote on Nov. 4 so look for my story on that next week.
That's all for now...
This week went pretty well, too.
Tuesday I had a story about a national Republican group that donated $100,000 to the Republican candidate in the race for Cole County Circuit Judge. The candidate, Brian Stumpe, is currently the Jefferson City municipal prosecutor. He is challenging the incumbent democrat, Pat Joyce.
Joyce's treasurer said Stumpe should return the money unless the original contributors to the Republican group are revealed.
Unfortunately, neither treasurer for Stumpe or Joyce were available to talk to me but I'm happy with the way it came out.
Thursday, I got a pretty interesting story about the state's main health care plan expanding its coverage to include same-sex couples from other states. A judge in Jackson County ruled that Missouri must acknowledge same-sex marriages from other states.
The Attorney General said he is not going to appeal the decision, which has him underfire from some state legislators, including House Speaker Tim Jones.
This story turned out nicely, too, and I got a few radio stories written for KMOX.
Hopefully, next week is a continuation of this week!
Well, this week went pretty well.
On Tuesday, I arrived at the State Capitol to begin researching my enterprise story - state adoption efforts for hard-to-place children. An hour in, Phill calls on his lunch break and says he found out about a story we didn't know about and that I should begin to work on that.
The story was the state auditor's office released a report on pension and retirement funds in Missouri. The report caused the auditor's office to place fifteen of them to be placed on a "watch list" due to not enough funding because the recommended and/or required contributions to the funds were not met.
The story turned out pretty well, and I got some radio stories on it.
Phill wanted to include the list of the fifteen pension funds placed on the "watch list," but the audit report didn't include said list. So, Phill got a list from AP but had me confirm with the auditor's office because some of the print outlets in MPA are not AP subscribers. If we were to include that list, we would have been giving AP material out for free. Fair enough.
Thursday, I got to start working on my enterprise story. I think it can be a really good story. I've made a few calls and put in a few emails and I've gotten some good stuff. Next week, I will continue to gather information and begin writing the story as long as there is no spot news, so stay tuned for that.
Now excuse me while I try to beat a tornado home.
This week, I worked on a story about work groups assigned to review and revise Missouri education standard set under Common Core. It was a good stroy, but I needed one of the supporters of the bill to talk to me.
Of course...no one picked up their phone until I tried Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. I had a list of prepared questions I was going to ask him and I began to fire them off.
After I asked my first question about why the DESE could not be involved in any way with the deliberations of the work groups unless invited to do so, he got upset with me. He thought I was asking for his specific opinion about the inclusion of the DESE statute in the bill. He said I should not be interested in his opinion, when in fact I wasn't, and that I should read the bill instead of calling him.
After he went on his rant, I realized the way I had written the question was misleading and I told him I understood everything he was saying but I had not written the question to reflect what I was trying to ask.
Lesson learned: Make sure the questions you write are worded in such a way that the person you are asking them fully understands what you are asking.