Harrowing Tales of Opportunities Gone By

Okay, so maybe that title is a little dramatic, but I had quite the day on my second KBIA shift Thursday.

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This is a photo from The Crossing Church on Feb. 27, where firefighter Lt. Bruce Britt’s memorial took place. Another reporter and I were sent out to cover some of the public perception of his tragic death (re: http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2014/2/22/university-village-evacuated/).

One of our newsroom directors said she had heard that the business owners downtown watched the processional and waved flags. Problem is, when we went downtown to get some reaction, most of the businesses weren’t even open during the processional, and most of the owners didn’t even seem to care that it was going on. We tried to make it to the Crossing before the processional got there, but they arrived early, so the only photos we could really get were of the flags outside. This one was hung up with ladders from two fire trucks:

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This one shows some of the firetrucks and police vehicles in the parking lot. Firefighters from all over the state, and even some from out of state, came to support Lt. Britt.

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While I like the photos I took, I was pretty disappointed I missed my chance to get good interviews or photos of the action. I pitched the story about the memorial, but the newsroom director wanted a different angle that just wasn’t there. Since the story fell through, I was assigned to cover something else; the annual True/False Film Fest.

Anyone who lives in Columbia, Mo. or knows anything about the town knows that True/False is one of the most exciting times of the year. Filmgoers from all over the country come to CoMo to see movies by freelance filmmakers, art by freelance artists, and you guessed it, music by freelance musicians.

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The festival started Thursday and will continue through Sunday, March 2nd. The photo above shows a buffalo made from keyboard keys that we passed on our way downtown to cover the Britt story. It’s obviously from an artist who was in town for True/False. I feel pretty lucky I got this shot, since later in the day I had to cover the festival anyways.

The problem was, though, that True/False didn’t really begin until the first film was shown at 4:30pm. When I tried to get a story at 2pm, not many people were around, and most of them didn’t want to talk to a lowly reporter. While it would have been nice to stick around until after 4pm to see the action, I had been on the job since 9:15am, and my shift was supposed to end at about 12:45pm (I have a class from 12:30-1:45pm, so I usually go to that class, then finish my story right after, then go home).

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Exhausted, I returned to the newsroom with some natural sound from the True/False Box Office and one interview from a volunteer. I cut the audio and threw it into a story, but in all honesty, I wasn’t very proud of my work. I was too late to the memorial and wasn’t able to get a story, and I was too early to the film festival and was barely able to put together a reader for the air. I feel like I missed out on great opportunities for stories that sounded good in theory, but when put into action, didn’t come to fruition.

I understand that journalism is all about experience, and even through a bad experience, one can learn a lot about what they are trying to do. I learned that even when a story sounds good, it doesn’t always come together the way we want. Sometimes, what we think happened didn’t happen, and what we think will happen doesn’t happen. Even though I was challenged Thursday, I know I will have more opportunities to improve next time. It was the first time I went out in the field to cover a story for KBIA! No one can expect one to be perfect on the first try. Though it would have been nice if I were more successful that day…

Here’s my web story from KBIA.org. Check it out: http://kbia.org/post/true-false-film-festival-showcase-more-40-films

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