My first story ever assigned was Fr. Tolton's graduation (article linked), where I covered the event as well as photographed it. I got to hang out with all the seniors in a classroom before they had to line up for commencement, which gave me a lot of opportunities to talk to students one-on-one and get some behind-the-scenes photos. It was a little nerve-wracking if I'm going to be honest. I have covered events before. Tons of events. But never covered them to actually write the articles. It was different for me. So, I tried to use the skills that I developed as a staff photographer and tried to just observe. It was also nice to have this as my first assignment because the people I talked to were high school students. It was way less intimidating and a lot easier for me to just ask questions about where they were going next and what they were going to do because I was genuinely interested.
I just chose a few people to talk to. I would photograph them first, which would be my icebreaker, and then began to ask them questions about their plans for the future. Once I did that, I was able to sort of point out the stories that could be interesting. I really loved the story that Jordan Gross told me about going to MSU - West Plains to be with her grandpa. I'm really close to my grandma, and it was just so sweet to listen to her talk about it. It was honestly pretty selfless of her. She could have gone elsewhere, but she really felt the God was leading her towards moving to West Plains to be with him and attend MSU.
Unfortunately, I already messed up. It's a littler discouraging, but I hope that I can bounce back from this little but significant incident. What I learned from this:
1. Even if I don't understand something just a teeny bit like if I don't get one tiny detail, I should ask to clarify.
2. Never trust someone who seems like they have authority because they could have incorrect information or, in this case, describe something incorrectly.
I also go to photograph the opening of the Great Missouri Birding Trail, which is actually a virtual map that shows people the best spots to go bird watching. It was nice to still go out and shoot. It was pretty early in the morning, and none of the staffers volunteered. I don't really know how much photographing I will be doing this summer, so I'll take any chance I'll get. Luckily, it's still not stupid hot outside so this was actually an enjoyable assignment. I was a little bit off my game, though. I was so used to coming in every Tuesday and Thursday for staff, but after having a week long break from that, I almost forgot what I was doing. It felt new to me, which I think is a really good thing.
Honestly, at the end of staff photojournalism, I was worn out. I didn't want to do it anymore. I just wanted nothing to do for once. But not having two shifts a week became weird to me, and I started to miss covering events and being in the newsroom and seeing my friends that I had gotten so close with. Covering this assignment felt different. It felt like I was back in the zone and that I was back to doing what I loved. Then, I knew I was ready to take on another challenge: reporting.