FEBRUARY 3RD, 2009
For a first-timer at the Capitol in Jefferson City, I can honestly say I had a very positive experience. Today was the first shift I worked this semester as part of a requirement for my Broadcast One course at the University of Missouri. The people are kind, the work is enjoyable, but patience is required.
I have often internally refer to the old saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day," because many times I won't be able to figure everything out in my first attempt. Well, unfortunately, that was the case today, and it will simply take some time to gain a knowledge of all the happenings around here. I truly believe this semester is going to go very well, and hopefully in just a few days I will have everything understood.
My first assignment was to go speak with House Education Committee chairman Representative Maynard Wallace who recently introduced a bill involving a form of corporal punishment. It seems to be a controversial bill, and I am anxious to do follow-up work on its progress in the coming weeks.
I return next Tuesday, more prepared, and ready to get back to work.
FEBRUARY 10TH, 2009
I have always believed that if the second time I do something is worse than the first time I did that same thing, then maybe I shouldn't stick with whatever I am doing. Well, thankfully, I feel like my second stint at the Capitol was better than my first. Today I arrived about nine o' clock and started the day in Jefferson City.
When I arrived at the office, I began researching my feature story that will air later in the semester involving a bill introduced by Representative Maynard Wallace of Thornfield. The bill talks about school safety and expanding teacher's authority when it comes to protecting students and property in danger. I think this project will be very interesting, and I look forward to continuing my work on it in the coming weeks.
I came in with the attitude last week that even if I hadn't been I must act like I have been here a thousand times. Well, in reality, last week I acted like a rookie. Today anyways, I feel like I improved, possibly convincing some people that this isn't my first rodeo. If I can continue to make positive strides every Tuesday, this semester will be a memorable experience.
FEBRUARY 17TH, 2009
The third time's the charm, right? Well today I felt more confident, prepared, and excited about my task then I had in each of the two previous weeks. I arrived at the office this morning about ten a.m. and began researching the assignment that I was given for today.
I was assigned the noon hearing involving House Bill 165 sponsored by Representative Dusenberg looking to repeal, for adults, the requirement to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Take away my responsibilities as a journalist, and this story is still interesting to me. Motorcycle safety is an issue that may not always grab the headlines, but definitely is a concern for many individuals nationwide.
I am beginning to do a much better job of writing in radio style. The adjustment has been slow, but I feel like I am starting to recognize how it is done, and adapt in a way where I can be successful. Growing up I have always had the problem of being a bit "wordy," but now I must work to cut down the language, and get straight to the point.
Anyways, it was another successful Tuesday in Jefferson City.
February 24TH, 2009
I finally believe I have gotten the hang of this thing. The fourth time out to Jefferson City was a tremendous experience for me as I was able to cover another controversial issue involving public safety. This time it involved a bill that would impose continued alcohol monitoring on repeated DWI offenders.
I still don't know what to expect when I get out here in the mornings as I am from Minnesota and I am always slightly concerned I won't have the knowledge on an issue to be able to cover it well . However, I am convinced with all the technology and information that is available, that should never be a problem.
As the Tuesdays go by this semester I feel like I am becoming more and more educated on the crucial issues that Missouri is facing. I believe it is my obligation to become informed as I am now a contributing member of this state.
I continue to be so grateful to the Missouri School of Journalism for providing me with this experience as this is truly real world work. I am confident that following my time here I will be ready to take on my next big challenge at KOMU 8 News.
Until next time, Godspeed.
March 3RD, 2009
It was an early morning for this Northern Minnesotan at the State Capitol in Jefferson City today. I arrived at the building about 7:30 a.m. looking to cover the Agriculture-Business Committee hearing on House Bill 668 which expands on the Castle Doctrine.
The Castle Doctrine authorizes individuals to use deadly force in their home or automobile if a trespasser endangers them to that point. House Bill 668 is an extension of this doctrine which would allow individuals to use deadly force anywhere on their property.
As the days go by I continue to learn more and more about Missouri Government. I feel like by the end of the semester I will know more about this states politics than I do with my home state, Minnesota.
In closing, I would like to speak about how enjoyable it is for me to have a positive work environment like we do at KMOX. The team of students and staff they have assembled is extremely helpful, confident, and positive. What a luxury for a student studying the world of journalism.
See you next week.
March 10TH, 2009
Let me tell you, it was quite the day at the State Capitol! As I sat in a 12 o' clock committee hearing on the changes in the laws regarding real estate liens for over three hours, I soon began to wonder when they were going to speak on my assignment, House Bill 889, involving dogfighting.
At roughly 4:00 o' clock the chairman of the committee announced for the guests awaiting my assignment that they decided not to hear testimony on the item today. FABULOUS! This is new to me, and I guess I didn't expect it, let's be honest. :) However, I cross bridges when I come to them in life and I decided I would finish my day by speaking with Representative Maynard Wallace on the school safety bill he sponsored, which is my feature.
Through all the chaos of today, I still feel so very grateful for this opportunity to jump into the real world, and cover issues that matter to the people of this state. What a tremendous situation to come to Jefferson City, only a half hour away, and be able to report as if I am a professional in the business.
I look forward to next week where I will do more work on my feature while the rest of this building heads on Spring Break.
March 17TH, 2009
I will let everyone else take vacation, but I tell you what, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. They left, and I stayed. Does this make me weak or extremely tough? Who knows! All I know is that today I accomplished a great deal of work on my feature piece.
Last week I was able to get an interview with Representative Maynard Wallace, and this Tuesday I spent a good amount of time writing the content of my piece.
I got an interview with the Missouri National Education Association Spokeswoman DeAnn Aull and she talked to me about the support the MNEA has for House Bill 96 on school safety.
It was a great day spending time with my co-workers while the rest of the building was quiet. Politicians can take time off, journalists just keep doing work. :)
See you next week!
March 31ST, 2009
After a week off, I jumped back into the action with my biggest assignment yet! This week I had the opportunity to cover the House Infrastructure Committee hearing on the Higher Education Bonding Bill. Quite the experience. As the rest of the Missouri Community is concerned about Mizzou Basketball Coach Mike Anderson's job status, I had the pleasure of hearing University of Missouri President Gary Forsee and Chancellor Brady Deaton testify in support of the bill I was covering.
I got in at about 10:30 a.m. today, and right away I jumped to it because this topic is enormous. 700 million dollars for higher education, that is a lot of money. I had the chance to have a one-on-one interview with Chancellor Brady Deaton as well as the sponsor of the bill, Democrat Chris Kelly.
One other note on my day today, the hearing showed off bipartisan support on this legislation as the Republican House Majority Leader and a Senior Democrat headed up this effort.
I look forward to having more days like this as the semester concludes, and I work to get better at the job I am doing.
April 7TH, 2009
Good afternoon from the State Capitol. I was sent to the House today to find a story, and what I came up with was a bill that was given second round approval involving a tax credit for milk producers.
I must be honest, I know very little about farming, agriculture, dairy, or anything like this, so it took me a little while to get the information I needed to do a nice job.
We talked a little bit today about the possibility of a t.v. team starting through Missouri Digital News. I think that is a fine idea. I love it down here at the State Capitol and truly believe there is nothing closer to the real world then what I have experienced in Jefferson City.
I look forward to working with Max Reiss to help make sure this idea becomes a reality for our station.
As time goes on I feel like I continue to get better and better at what I am doing. I suppose that is the goal ;), but either way it is a good feeling. I am now off to sing the national anthem at the University of Missouri baseball game! Wish me luck :) !!
See you next week!
April 21ST, 2009
Well, I must say, it is good to be back. Last week I had to return to my home state of Minnesota where I was searching for one of my good friends from high school, Dan Zamlen, who went missing after a party at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. This news is devastating to me, but I am doing everything I can to remain positive, and hope that by the grace of god, he will come back to us alive and well.
This morning I got up early and looked at the schedule of events in Jefferson City. Thankfully, I realized I didn't need to be here at the crack of dawn because the action wasn't going to start until 10 a.m.
The first few hours were rather interesting as I was sent in-between the House and the Senate, but finally I ended up with a story on Food Stamps for the elderly.
This story really brought out a issue bigger than giving the elderly a little boost with food stamps. This brought out the problem with poverty in Missouri among people of all ages.
To me, this is such an unfortunate reality. Sometimes I wish I had all the money in the world so I could give a little bit to everybody. Well, too bad that will never happen.
The weeks are closing down on the semester and as I begin to look back, I realize how much I have learned from this experience. I've grown as a journalist, and as a human being. It has been extremely rewarding.
But in the end, one of the things I am most grateful for is the fact I have had the chance to meet so many fine people. Without my Jeff. City stint, I may have never met them.
See you in a week. Keep my buddy Dan in your prayers.
April 28TH, 2009
Wrongfully accused fathers, fear not. The State of Missouri may be coming to your rescue soon. Today I covered a bill involving accused fathers paying child support on a kid they are not the actual father.
Well, that is so special. Interesting day at the State Capitol. I arrived at about 10 o' clock, and began working in the House. Our team of people here are terrific, and even though we are able to stay hard at work, we still find a way to have fun.
Support has been tremendous for me during this extremely difficult time. My friend is still missing, but the work I do here in Jefferson City allows me to keep my mind off of the problems back home.
My knowledge of state politics has increased greatly over the past weeks. Whether I am covering tax credits for Milk Producers or an education bonding bill, I learn something new everyday.
May 5TH, 2009
Happy Cinco De' Mayo to one and all! My second to last week here in Jefferson City was spent taking a look at the General Revenue Report for April and the decrease the State of Missouri has seen to date.
The revenue dropped from $6.45 billion last year to $6.42 billion this year.
Let's be honest, people, this probably doesn't come as a shock to anyone in our troubled economy, but nonetheless, it is disappointing to hear.
This week has been tough. Last Friday they found my friend Dan in the river, and this Friday I will be flying home for a funeral. The family needs as many prayers as possible during this extremely trying time for everyone.
Times like this put my life in perspective. I understand I need to focus on school, grades, work, and everything like that, but let us be honest, at the end of the day, it is not that big of a deal.
One month ago Dan was working hard at everything and stressing about the same things we all do, and just with the blink of an eye, it all changed. I just need to not get too stressed out about small potatoes, and focus on what is really important; my faith, family, and friends.
May 12TH, 2009
Well, unfortunately, I have reached the end of the road here in Jefferson City. What an enjoyable, educational, and interesting semester it has been.
Over the past four months I have met some tremendous people, learned a great deal about Missouri politics, and have had the chance to get real-life experience in journalism.
I do not know if my future has radio reporting in it, but what I do know is that I now have my foot in the door in the radio business.
Today I spent time attacking the blackout caused by a black snake during the most crucial week of session.
The blackout lasted 50 minutes, and the House opted to continue working through the outage.
It was a learning experience today, just like it always has been.
In closing I must say that I will always be thankful to Phill Brooks and the people at the Capitol for this opportunity.