A critical self-review

On my most recent reporting shift for KOMU, I found myself heading out to Holts Summit, Missouri. I was assigned to report on a follow-up story on what the townspeople in Holts Summit were hearing and thinking about the trial of Josh Maylee, a man who was arrested in late October for killing three people and injuring one other.

When I arrived, the first place I thought to go were some of the local businesses. I immediately felt out of place. I introduced myself, but two teenage girls behind one front desk just smiled nervously and wouldn’t say anything more than a polite “hello.” Realizing I would have no luck here, I went to some of the nearby gas station. But, nobody wanted to talk. People said they either felt too close to the case, so they shouldn’t say anything, or that they really didn’t know anything about the case. I then called one of the producers at KOMU, and he told me to head back to cover another story.

Even though I am still learning how to do the job right, I found myself frustrated after talking to these people, and mad at myself for not trying harder. I wondered if I should have pushed some of the people harder for an interview, or not left as early as I did. I thought maybe I should have started to knock on house doors after not having luck at any of the businesses.

I really think I could have gotten a decent story had I asked more questions and tried to explain to the residents that I was trying to tell a feel-good story about their town’s recuperation from a very tragic event. Next time, when I cover a story like this, I will approach the situation differently and do much more explaining to possible interviewee’s on what my story is about.

The story that I actually ended up covering was on a police officer who allegedly used excessive force to apprehend a civilian. Having gotten back to KOMU after attempting the first story, I only had time to get an interview for this second story. Plus, it took me a while to find a phone number for someone I could talk to. My frustration of failing on the first story only made this process more difficult.

So, by the time the night was over, I had ended up on-set in the KOMU studio, where I did a quick reader followed by the sound bite. Yet on my way home, I found myself mad again, this time for not clearing my head and trying to get actual video, or b-roll, for my second story.

Through all this, I realized that even though I didn’t get what I wanted for each story, I have the drive it takes to be a reporter. Recognizing that I could have done things better, I know that when the situation presents itself the next time around, I will rise to the challenge.

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