Week 5: Only two weeks left and I don't know how I feel

I can't believe I only have TWO MORE WEEKS LEFT. That is literally insane.

These seven weeks have gone by so, so fast. 

This week hasn't been as productive as I usually have been, but I worked really really REALLY hard on a story about the African multilingual service at Christian Fellowship Church. On Sunday I attended the service, which happened to be 4 hours that day, and I got some great video from it as well. To be honest, I'm not a very religious person and I've probably been to a handful of church services. I didn't know what to expect exactly, but it was a really great experience. Their music was so angelic while their preachings were so passionate and powerful. Even though I didn't understand any of it, I had a great time going around and filming the beauty of this service. 

It was the only story I really worked on this week. I did try to go to the government building to try and get a quote from one of the county commissioners about County Clerk Wendy Noren leaving, but instead, I waited to talk to someone without talking to someone for over an hour. But, what are you gonna do? It's okay because I got to call the Republican who tried to run against Noren for county clerk in 1998, so I got to at least contribute a minute section of the story. 

A mug shot of The Gathering Place Bed and Breakfast I took on a beautiful morning. I added the lens flare to give the photo, literally, some flare because it is just a mug. 

A mug shot of The Gathering Place Bed and Breakfast I took on a beautiful morning. I added the lens flare to give the photo, literally, some flare because it is just a mug. 

It took me this entire week to really write the story of the African congregation the way I wanted it to come out. I also tried to work on the short video simultaneously to try and get inspired by the music and the feel of the place, but I don't think it worked as well as I wanted it to. One thing that I really want to work on is being able to write anecdotal ledes and be able to describe what my five senses are telling me. I don't think I have ever been good with words, so using them to describe how I felt in that situation was pretty difficult. It kind of discouraged me, but all I could is try my best and just keep trying in different stories. I know that one of these days, it'll work. 

I took this photo of Gabby Velasquez holding up the eclipse shades to the sun. She thought of the idea to shoot it from behind with the sun behind them and I thought it was a cool idea to show how opaque the glasses are, which are only $1.50 at the Mizzou store.  I used a super wide angle lens to make it look more like it's from a person's perspective.

I took this photo of Gabby Velasquez holding up the eclipse shades to the sun. She thought of the idea to shoot it from behind with the sun behind them and I thought it was a cool idea to show how opaque the glasses are, which are only $1.50 at the Mizzou store.  I used a super wide angle lens to make it look more like it's from a person's perspective.

The process of making the video was a little different this time. I rich audio that I really wanted to emphasize, but I also had to worry about the accents of the subjects. I was able to understand them, but sometimes other people may not be able to. But, I was able to find a cool way to use subtitles for a section of the video and not make it look like they are just subtitles. I wanted the words to emphasize what the subject was saying, and I think I was able to portray that well in the video. This video took me almost the entire week to finish as well. Well, it DID take me the entire week. This week has been especially hard to balance my Comm Law class for two hours and trying to finish up this story, but I seemed to finally finish. 

I think part of the reason that it took me so long to write the story was that I was stuck on trying to figure out how to start the story off. We talked about ledes and nut grafs in our lecture, and I tried to make a clever and interesting lede that would grab readers' attention. I thought that writing the story first and then go back to the lede would help me figure out exactly what I was trying to say, but it's hard for me to articulate what I want. Some of the ledes we looked at in lecture were so compelling that I just wanted to know more about the story, and I really wanted my lede to do that. I don't know if it did exactly, but I'm still proud of the story that I was able to write. 

Ledes and nut grafs are essential to readers following through with reading your story. I also think it's one of my weakest skills. Sometimes, out of the blue, I'll be able to think up a clever and fun lede that works. Most of the time, however, they are mundane and straight to the point, which isn't always a good thing. 

My peers and I were asked to re-write a lede from a past story we have published. I chose the lede for my very first story, which already wasn't the most exciting piece, but was somewhat informative:

Headline: Faith Voices of Columbia hosts training for immigrant support

Old: COLUMBIA — Faith Voices of Columbia, a network of local congregations, will host a training for accompaniment volunteers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

New: COLUMBIA — Undocumented immigrants and refugees are in need of volunteers to accompany them to government check-ins, so Faith Voices of Columbia has stepped in to help.

Although the new one isn't that must more exciting, I wanted to shift the focus from Faith Voices to the undocumented immigrants and refugees that are in need of whatever service they are providing. Those are the people that are being affected by this. Athough Faith Voices of Columbia is the reason that these immigrants and refugees have the help they need, the story wasn't necessarily about Faith Voices but more about the resources and services that are being readily needed by some of the vulnerable people in our community. 

That was my very first story ever. So now looking back at it, I should have realized that. I think that really shows that I at least developed some skills as a reporter. 

I think that I'm starting to really get into the groove of things. Even though we only have two weeks left, I can finally start to feel confident in taking on more complicated or controversial stories. I know that I'll never be a writer, but it's good to feel like I have to capacity to be one. I just can't seem to get away from visuals, though. Even if I'm not doing a story with photo or video I'm helping someone else try and get great ones for their story. Visuals have been imprinted into my head that I really wouldn't turn down the chance to try and make a story more appealing through images.