Mo. Digital News
Missouri Digital News
Mo. Digital News
Missouri Digital News
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Eric Stoyanov was born and raised in Missouri. He is a broadcast journalism major at the University of Missouri. This is his first year reporting from the Capitol where he will be covering agricultural issues.
Eric Stoyanov's Blog in 2012 Election Day is almost here
Election Day is less than two weeks away and is creating excitement in the Capitol. Missouri Digital News is sending groups to cover specific candidates and I will be covering Peter Kinder on Election Night. This will be an exciting place to be on Tuesday.
Kinder is seeking his third term as Missouri's lieutenant governor. If he wins, Kinder will be only the second Missourian to win a third term. The only Missourian to win a third term as lieutenant governor is Democrat Frank Harris in 1933. That means that Election Night could be historic for Peter Kinder.
Providing coverage on Election Night is a great learning opportunity and will mark the first time I have covered an election. I am very excited to be able to participate in Election Night and I know it will be a memorable experience.
This week presented many challenges in the Capitol, but a good story resulted from the struggles. Methamphetamine is a major problem throughout Missouri and especially around the St. Louis area. According to numbers of Missouri Methamphetamine incidents through July 2012, nearly 37 percent of meth incidents occur in St. Charles County, Franklin County, St. Louis County, and Jefferson County combined.
The Associated Press released a story about Mexican drug cartels dominating the meth trade in the United States on Thursday. The article said that large quantities of meth are turning up in dozens of American cities including St. Louis. This caused me to wonder why meth is such a prevalent issue throughout the state of Missouri and if it is getting worse or better.
I am still searching for more information on this topic and am intrigued by the issue. I hope to speak with a few more people on Tuesday and get a story produced then. Meth is an issue throughout the U.S., however it has been a major issue throughout Missouri for many years now and it is something that Missourians should be aware of.
Todd Akin visits the Capitol
Todd Akin held a press conference Thursday in the state Capitol. He said that his campaign has received great support and that he believes Claire McCaskill is worried about his campaign. Akin said McCaskill was aggressive during their debate which differed from how she acted during her debates with Jim Talent in 2006. Akin said McCaskill was more "ladylike" during the 2006 debates.
Protestors also showed their disapproval of Akin on Thursday. Members associated with both Planned Parenthood and the Missouri National Organization of Women protested Akin saying he is not right for Missouri. The election is less than 40 days away.
The deadline for Todd Akin to remove his name from the ballot for the Senate is quickly approaching. The deadline is Sept. 25 but military ballots must be sent out by Sept. 22. If Akin would remove his name, he would have to pay for the costs of all the ballots that have been printed, which could be a substantial amount of money.
This story helped me to learn many of the rules regarding withdrawal from the Senate race. Akin's team have repeatedly said Akin will not drop from the race, but it is still interesting to see what would happen if he was to change his mind and drop out. Akin has faced pressure from top Republicans to withdraw from the race since his controversial abortion comments.
Busy Week at the Capitol
The veto session occurred this week at the state Capitol. This set up a busy but exciting week of reporting. So far this semester, the Capitol is generally pretty empty. However, since the veto session was Wednesday, it provided the opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with senators and representatives. It was exciting to put faces to the names of people I have talked with on the phone and to meet other government leaders.
This week also provided me with an interesting story. On Wednesday, legislatures voted to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto regarding the contraception law. Shortly after this happened, a Kansas City labor union filed the first legal action against the law. The labor union's lawyer, Edward Keenan, says he hopes to be in court within the next few weeks. He also hopes to file a preliminary injunction within the next few days.
This story was exciting to cover and looks like the case could go all the way to the state Supreme Court. I hope to cover the story as the case develops because it affects many people and is a major story.
This week was very busy but provided great experience and will help me in the future when I report on House or Senate hearings. This week also helped me feel more comfortable talking face-to-face with senators and representatives and not feeling as intimidated as I did when I first began working at the state Capitol.
Busy week at the Capitol.
This week was very exciting. On Tuesday, Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference in the Capitol to talk about his veto decisions, particularly HB1329, that could establish retroactive taxes on motor vehicles. It was exciting to be able to listen to the press conference in person and then work on a story about it.
Thursday presented another drought story. The drought is causing issues across Missouri. Thursday, I focused on how the drought is affecting grape production and quality of wine. The story was intriguing because it was something not many people think about. The affects of the drought on winemakers is bittersweet. It is helping the taste of wine but also decreasing the total crop yield producers are harvesting.
This week showed the range of stories you are able to work on in Jefferson City. I went from reporting on the governor's press conference to a story on wine in the same week. Working in Jefferson City is a great opportunity because you can get a variety of stories, so there is never a dull moment.
Bluetongue Virus Killing Deer in Missouri
This week I was presented with a topic I did not know much about. A virus called bluetongue is affecting deer in Missouri. In order to learn more about the virus and get a better idea of how serious this virus is, I spoke with two deer biologist from the Missouri Department of Conservation. They were able to give great information and helped me understand how large of a problem the virus is. As of Thursday, 1,100 deer are suspected to have died from the virus.
This is not the first outbreak of the virus. Bluetongue typically occurs during periods of drought and the last significant case of this virus occurred in 2007. Luckily, the virus does not pose a threat to humans and tends to die 24-hours after the infected animal dies.
The main problem I had in reporting this story was finding a second source that knew about the virus and/or encountered a deer that may have died from the virus. Searching for my second source allowed me to understand how difficult it can be to find someone willing to talk. I finally was able to find my second source and my finished story turned out pretty well. This week was already a major improvement from last week. I was not as intimidated as I was the first week and my interview questions allowed me to gain a good understanding of the disease.
The great thing about working in Jefferson City is the fact that it is like a real job. The stories go out to news publications throughout Missouri so you have to produce news stories that are well done so they are able to be used. It allows you to learn by doing, which is the idea behind the Missouri Method.
First Day at the Capitol
This week marked the first week of reporting at the Capitol. As I walked in the door Thursday morning, I was both excited and nervous. I have never been a political reporter, so reporting on politics is a daunting prospect. However, as soon as I got instructed to listen in on a conference call with reporters, my nerves were gone and I was excited to see how my story would turn out.
The biggest issue I had the first day was calling Republican Senator Jim Lembke. I have never interviewed a senator and it is a little intimidating. Therefore, I failed to ask many great questions. After talking about my interview experience with Matt Evans, I was given some good advice and hope to be better prepared and less intimidated when I speak with a senator in the future.
I am thrilled to have my first day behind me and look forward to a semester of reporting in Jefferson City. I am happy to have my first day jitters out of the way and excited to soak up knowledge from both Phill Brooks and all the teaching assistants. I have only reported for one shift and I already have learned so much from the experience. Even though I will not be a broadcast expert at the end of the semester, the knowledge and experience this will give me is going to be amazing as I move forward in my broadcast career.
Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.