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Christine Slusser's Blog in 2009
My Drug...the State Capitol.

Posted 12/15/2009: 

My semester is coming to a close once more. I have been working/reporting at MDN since September 2008, and every break I miss it more and more! I think I am addicted...addicted to these stone walls and the yells of Phill Brooks echoing down them. I remember in one of my earlier blogs I tried to find the most epic picture possible to leave you all with until January. This is what I've come up with:

Yes, that's a donut the size of your face.

Have a happy holiday!

Signing off for another semester, Christine

Jetting Away From Politics
Posted 12/08/2009: 

According to Missouri Digital News, former House Speaker Rod Jetton, "...turned himself in for assault charges to the Cole County Sheriff late Monday night and was released on bond early Tuesday morning."

Our reporters have been working all day on just one story: Rod Jetton. Twitter has exploded, Facebook has been "live feeding" all over the place. Make sure to stay up to date with our updates. Follow MDN on Twitter: Also, make sure you stay informed with our NewsBook:

Left: Max Reiss listening to interviews on his sound recorder.

Right: Lauren Stenzel checking out Jetton's mug shot.

Let us keep you up to date, follow us on Twitter!

It's Pre-File Day!
Posted 12/01/2009: 

I was pleased when I walked into the state Capitol today and found...busy reporters!

Left: Becca Stephen works on her story about the pre-filed texting while driving bill.

Right: Stephanie Fleming interviewing Rob Mayer for her story.

Very refreshing after a few slow weeks. It's nice to come back into action after Thanksgiving!

I have also fleshed out my schedule for next semester and it looks like I can edit two days a week!

Life as an editor
Posted 11/17/2009: 

At the beginning of the semester, I looked like this...


Well, not exactly like that, just a little more grown up.

I would sit like that until, finally, reporters were ready for me to edit their stories. Then I looked like this:


However, recently, I have not only had to edit, but also report. The last few weeks the state Capitol has been flooding with spot news. The most recent story I covered was a "hostage" situation. It turned out there was no hostage, but it sure made for an interesting day of reporting. I only covered the very beginning of the story and then let radio reporter Max Reiss take over. To read my story, click here. To read some of his, click here.

Today I am back to playing editor. I don't have a story to cover, but there is some great news today regarding tuition and Governor Nixon. Make sure to keep up to date by checking MDN's newsbook!

Oh, Committees...
Posted 10/20/2009: 

I haven't covered a committee hearing since session - it was refreshing. Without session there is that forever every day battle of finding story ideas. Some days it's easy, some days it's difficult. Today was interesting, the joint committee discussed the issue of open enrollment and whether it should be allowed in Missouri. I would say the argument was split.

One major component of the arguments were of high school sports.

Some feared students would transfer to play for bigger schools.

There were a few superintendents there from around MO and they all had a different view. Even a mother came out from St. Louis to discuss her view. Make sure to read my story above.

It was nice to produce a radio story - I am so used to just editing stories now!


Journalism is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space. ~Rebecca West
Posted 09/22/2009:   I'm trying out Phill's new blog system - he just gave me a mini-tutorial. See the red text under "Christine Slusser's Blog"? I can change that every entry now! Phill has put together a really amazing new program, and you know what? He did it all in a summer. Pretty impressive.

The quote I used today, "Journalism is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space," is very true. I have edited our newspaper reporters and they are always stressing out about word count and space - something I don't completely understand in my broadcast-world mindset. We are all about shortening things, not making them longer. The word count stressed the print reporter and the time count stresses the broadcast journalist. We count the seconds of the seconds...

I don't know how many times I have tried to help out a fellow reporter and tell them things to add to the story. It's also nicer to be able to tell more information, but sometimes it is just more of a hassle.

I am now off to edit some radio stories!

Photo Courtesy

News is something someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising. -Lord Northcliff
Posted 09/15/2009:   

Just editing today - no stories to report. It is nice to be able to help the new reporters here, teach them how to use the software, how to delete tracks on our recorders, etc. I like teaching! It's nice to  be able to teach something when I am still learning so much.

See you in a week!


bach mp3 | bach lyrics
free music downloads | funny games | bach pictures

Posted September 8, 2009:

Today I worked on a story with fellow reporter Rebecca Berg. The University of Missouri's Ag Department warned about the state's unruly wet and mild wild. It is causing bigger (but not better) watermelons and sour tomatoes. Want to learn more? Read my stories above!

(Photo courtesy

I love tomatoes (although my acid reflux doesn't) - and it makes me sad our crops could be more sour this year.

Another love of mine?

(Photo courtesy

Watermelon! Although they don't have to be square.

The University's Ag Department also said watermelons would be bigger due to the moist conditions, but not as sweet.

Oh no!

(Photo courtesy

Posted August 27, 2009:

Today is my first...well, second day back down here at the state Capitol. With my school schedule still up in the air, my future here at MDN had come to a crossroads. If I go right... I can't work here this year. If I go left... I will be able to! Why can't I just make my  merry way down the left (and also the fast) lane, you may ask?



That awful, pull-your-hair-out, despicable, man-made thing we like to call a "schedule". As a journalist, my schedule is even more intense than the average. I count second, not hours. Every second counts. It is not "what are you doing from 4-5?", it is "what are you doing from 4:15 (23) to 5:36 (15)?

Let's just hope I can switch one of my KOMU reporting shifts with someone. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Posted May 14, 2009: 

So, I lied to you all Monday.  Today was my *real* last day down here in Jefferson City, and what a busy day it was!  My first story involved the House passing a bill which would allow overloaded public defenders to deny cases.  Read it here.  My next one came as a surprise even to me.  With about 24 hours left in the legislative session as a whole, Missouri's House of Representatives adjourned early.  Senator Jolie Justus showed some sass on her Twitter account saying, "While the House is out shopping and watching the new Star Trek movie, we're in session getting an education bill done."


To be fair, Majority Floor Leader Kevin Engler said they were still getting work done even though they were adjourned.

The other three Senators disagreed and were all a little confused as to why the House would adjourn early.

Read my story here.

Don't want to say goodbye to me just yet? Check out my other blog well, click here.  This one is updated once every couple weeks year round.

Until next semester!


Posted May 11, 2009:

This may be my last day down here in Jefferson City. Never fear, no need to tear up quite yet. I will be back next semester for another exciting six months.

I wanted to make my last post epic...but after my last one with a picture of a trail of Twinkies leading to the moon? I think that will be hard to top. Unless I whip out something like this:

Posted May 5, 2009:

Another exciting day down here in Jeff. That $300 million plus stimulus bill that passed through Senate yesterday? Yup that same one was passed by Senate Appropriations today. They upped the amount from $336 million to $365 million.

Just think of how many Twinkies you could buy with that...


Maybe I am just hungry? Here we are approving millions of dollars and all I want is a cream filled puff.

Other News?

Today is Cinco de Payo (as Steve Walsh said yesterday). There is pie all over the 3rd floor of the Senate. I saw cream pies, cherry pies, apple pies, and even some pie whose name I can't pronounce or even begin to try and spell.

Another famous quote from Steve (he said this yesterday):

"I do not schnocker and drive."

He was referring to the little get together we had at Phill Brooks' lovely home this past weekend. He served food as well. Here was the menu, or at least what I can recall:

-Cheetos (which tasted sooooo good in the Spinach dip. Just ask Jason Rosenbaum!)


-BBQ Chicken wings



-Desserts of all shapes and sizes, including some delicious Hershey-Peanut Butter brownies from Beks.

Courtesy andreasrecipes.

-Plus sooo much more.

You will never leave hungry if you go to Phill's.

Have a great food-filled day!

Intrigued? Check out my other blog well, click here.

Posted May 4, 2009:

I have had an exciting day down here! The MO House just passed an over $300 million stimulus over to the Senate. A huge chunk of that money will go to St. Louis. Some Reps complained that Kansas City and their metro program drew the short straw from the lot. The Ellis Fischell Cancer Center is also back in the stimulus bill.

To read my radio story, click here!

Intrigued? Check out my other blog well, click here.

Posted April 29, 2009:

*****One case of swine flu identified in Missouri.

The location? Platte County, just north of KC. Gov. not releasing any identifying information on the person said to have swine flu.

Some in process of getting testing kits to start testing within one month.

Antiviral medication on its way to Platte, rest of MO to follow.

Posted April 29, 2009:

I played hookie from work yesterday...

Not really. I was working a KOMU shift for my Broadcast 2 class. To watch my story as it appeared on air and to read the online version (and to take the quiz to see if you are an internet addict), click here. As you may have guessed, my story is about the disturbing and rising trend of people suffering from internet addiction. Yup, you sure did read that right. To the right of the print story is the actual video you may watch as well.

I have funny little story about the picture above. I took this for KOMU and wanted to post it last week, but my editor Phill told me no more pictures. Emily then showed me the HTML tags button so now I can cheat and go in here and post pictures anyway! Yes!

I also made an online quiz to see if you are addicted to the 'net. To take it (which you should), click here.

Today I am working on a story about a bill that just passed through both the House and Senate. For all those government-noobs out there, that means that it is now "truly agreed to and finally passed". Now all it needs is the Governor's John Hancock to be passed into law.


I have all my interviews and should be churning that story out soon - stay tuned!

Read the final story, here.

Intrigued? Check out my other blog, here.

******* Big news!

Governor is holding a 6 p.m. meeting tonight in the state Capitol. Is there a case of swine flu in Missouri? Stay tuned!

******* Update on big news!

The Dept. of Health just came out with a report that as of now there are no reported cases of swine flu.

The Governor's reason for the meeting? I guess we'll find out!

******* En route to the meeting now! Stay tuned for the results!!!

******* One case of swine flu identified in Missouri. The location? Platte County, just north of KC. Gov. not releasing any identifying information on the person said to have swine flu.

Posted April 27, 2009:

I felt like such a "Capitol Pro" when someone came up to me as I was walking into the building to ask for direction. The greatest part? I knew exactly where he wanted to go...HR7, in the basement. YES! Coming from the World's worst-oriented direction giver/taker, this was an amazing start to my day down here in Jefferson City.

Unfortunately I have to leave by at least 5:20 today to pick up my cat, Clairvoyant, back in Columbia. Want to see a picture?

That's my cat and me (with vampire fangs for Halloween).

Today I am covering a 2 p.m. Senate hearing, and I just looked at my watch and it is 2:09. Oops.

Posted April 14, 2009:

Today was an interesting day at the Missouri Capitol. A surprise visit from Mizzou's basketball team was probably the highlight. That, and I finished my feature today. YES!


Coach Anderson turned what was otherwise a very boring Senate hearing into a rather exciting one.

Following his speech, Sen. Matt Bartle made an impassioned speech to the team as a whole, saying how proud Missouri is of their record-breaking team.

As far as my feature goes, READ IT! That's a command.

Here's the link:

Check out my other blog, here.

Posted April 7, 2009:

Today, Emily and I are working on our feature about identity theft. We have found many different bills throughout the House and Senate that would essentially make it harder for someone to steal an identity or gain access to a social security number. I did a little story on this when Sen. Kurt Schaefer's (R-Columbia) bill was read through in Committee and then my editor decided this could be an even bigger story. We have been working on it ever since and I am excited to wrap it up. Here is a link to my previous story.

In other news, I was reading through fellow reporter Mike Bushnell's blog and a post from March 10 really popped out at me. He was talking about the National Right to Life Committee and the members that were running around the State Capitol that day. Here is the highlight:

"Anyone feeling the pinch of the recession could have also picked up adornments for their automobile, assuming one hasn't sold it yet to help pay for this month's heating and gas bills. For absolutely free, you could get pro-life bumper stickers such as "Blacks didn't choose slavery, Jews didn't choose genocide, Babies didn't choose abortion," or "Abortion = Terror."

Wow. I think they were really pushing the envelope on that one...

Posted April 6, 2009:

Today was a fairly easy day. My fellow reporter Emily Coleman and I worked on our feature stories regarding various bills circulating through MO's State Capitol that have to do with identity theft.

One of the editors had to leave early today so now I am "fill-in" editor. Watch out, once my boss hat is on there is just no taking it off.

Generally, when I am in "editor mode", I look like this:

I'm on the right and my roommate is on the left.

I know, I know, it's a scary sight - Christine with minor authority.

Posted March 31, 2009:

FBI investigations in Missouri's State Capitol?

That's what the AP and Kansas City Star are reporting.

I have been interviewing legislators all day and then the news broke that House Minority Leader Paul LeVota was reported by fellow lawmakers that the FBI mentioned him when questioning.

LeVota says these are just nasty rumors being spread about him and he has not been contacted by any local or federal investigators.

For other news tidbits, check out my other blog:

Lesson learned the hard-way: Always be prepared.

I was just stepping onto the elevator on floor 3, then it went up to 4, then 5. I was shooting for floor 1 and the elevator slowly started its long descent. It went from 5, to 4, to 3, and finally to 2. When it stopped to let guests on at this floor, the side door opened. My eyes widened, the side door on floor 2 is to the Governor's office. There I was, stuck in an elevator with the Governor and no microphone to ask him any questions. I didn't even have a notepad.

Bad journalist, bad, bad.

Photo courtesy of

Today I am working on my feature story. Missouri is one of only six states that does not require a company to tell you if your identity has been stolen. I wrote a smaller story on this, but Phill (my editor) wanted me to turn it into a bigger radio piece. I have been working on it for a solid two weeks and hope to have all the interviews I need.

Posted March 17, 2009:

The State Capitol today? Dead.

The legislators are on their Spring Break so the halls of the Capitol are empty. We are all working on our feature stories. I am working with fellow reporter and friend, Emily Coleman. The focus is on Sen. Schaefer's SB245. I have written a story on this already, but this will be a longer piece. Missouri is one of only six states that has no law saying you must be notified if your identity is stolen. Scary? I think so. To read my previous story, click here.

For news around the state today:

An Action 4 News reporter was arrested while trying to cover a story. His station wrote about it online and said he had maintained a safe distance from the crime scene and even moved further away when asked. The police man still arrested him even though there were pedestrians standing closer than the reporter was. Read the story, here.

Here are some pictures featured on the site:

What about the cat who was offered a credit card by Citibank? Click here.

photo courtesy of:, who also had a similar story about an Australian company issuing a cat a credit card.

Intrigued? Check out my other blog, here.

Posted March 10, 2009:

Today I am covering a 3 p.m. Senate hearing over SB391. It is to limit liability lawsuits against people who bury carbon dioxide in the ground. Being a meteorology nerd, I think this story is fascinating. I will update with the outcome later, but in the meantime, why not click here to read about a the possibility of rocks holding carbon dioxide.

I just finished up with the hearing and it was very interesting. Some experts are concerned that if we pump too much carbon dioxide into the ground, it can sneak up through the faults and through eroded concrete caps and kill people. This is no small deal, some believe it can also cause miniature faults aka mini-earthquakes. Missouri is a cavernous region and one attorney spoke with my fellow reporter Elizabeth Billingsley and myself and mentioned that the ground of caves is very porous. The CO2 could easily fill these caves up. Stay tuned for the developing story later today.

In other news, are burping worms contributing to Earth's climate change? Click here.

Photo courtesy of:

How can you tell if they are burping?

(I wonder if they butter their worms...)

Intrigued? Check out my other blog, here

Posted March 9, 2009:

I had the most interesting experience at Taco Bell this past Sunday. A man with a hook for a hand (I am not kidding) came up to my fellow Sunday School teacher and myself to show us a rock...yes, a rock. He came to our table and said, "feel this." I was a little worried it was dried bird dung (still, I am not kidding), but took it out of courtesy. I felt it, while he noted how smooth it was (it was) and then let Zach feel it.

"Must be gold," he kept saying, "maybe a diamond."

Then he accidentally dropped it. When he bent down to pick it up, he started picking it up and dropping it repeatedly on the floor.

"Yup. Must be gold, doesn't break, see?"

It looked like this...




Not to burst his bubble, but I don't think this is gold.

As for news in the State Capitol...Representatives bickered and, as it seemed, accomplished nothing. Senators passed a few bills but rambled a bit. Since the House wasn't adjourned until around 7:00 p.m., the meeting I was supposed to cover was late and I, unfortunately, had to head back to Columbia. Hopefully I will have a story tomorrow.

Intrigued? Check out my other blog, here.

Posted March 3, 2009:

Today I hope to cover the 3 p.m. Senate hearing. They may finally vote on whether to allow AmerenUE to raise its rates to pay for their second nuclear plant. I wrote a story on this last week, read it here. Cross your fingers for a vote!

Well, my hopes were dashed about thirty seconds ago when I found out another radio reporter was covering the story. It turns out for the best, though, because I am much more excited to cover Senate General Laws hearing on prayer in schools.

As for news around the state:

Ever wanted to live in a cave? Well, this family in St. Louis does - and one of my fellow reporters said they may have it for sale on eBay, but I could not find it on the site. Read the news story here.

Image from

When I saw this, all I could say it, "What!?" Must save a bundle on air-conditioning.

Intrigued? Check out my other blog well, click here.

Posted March 2, 2009:

Another day at the Capitol...

And not a whole lot of news, surprisingly. We have a vast amount of reporters and, for once, not enough stories. It tends to be the other way around.

In bigger, more international news: I turn 21 in six days - March 8. Want to know some interesting facts about my birthday? Well, since you really have no choice, here they are:

1. It is Mother's Day in Albania, Romania and Bulgaria

2. It is International Women's Day (According to Wikipedia: "Started as a political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries ((primarily Russia and the countries of former Soviet bloc)). In some celebrations, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the women around them in a way somewhat similar to Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day mixed together. In others, however, the political and human rights theme as designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.)

3. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was born in 1841 on this day.

4. Freddie Prinze Jr. also shares my birthday.

Intrigued? Check out my other blog well, click here.

Posted February 24, 2009:

I learned this in my broadcast class today: "Learn to manage your stress before your stress manages you."

The lesson came one day too late. I missed work yesterday due to illness. Stress induced? Likely. I have been guzzling hot tea and coffee to try and regain my voice. I continue to re-coop, keep your fingers crossed for me, I have a radio report due by the end of the day. Will my voice make it? Stay tuned.


My voice lasted until halfway through my second radio story. It was brutal from there on out, but I think I managed. Let's hope by next Monday my voice is up to par once more.

Posted February 17, 2009:

Today I am going to the Senate Lounge for a 3:00 meeting regarding requirements on businesses after a breach of personal financial information. It should be interesting, especially if someone who has had their personal information stolen shows up to talk to the Senators. I will try to snag an interview with him/her after the meeting.

It turns out no one who showed had their information stolen. To read my stories, click here.

I think it is scary to be one of only six states without laws in place to notify those whose information has been stolen. Is Missouri lagging?

Posted February 16, 2009:

Today I am a fill-in editor for Abby. I am covering the 4:00 House session which is discussing school violence. Phil