Korean War photographer Norman Strickbine

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In my History of American Journalism class, I am assigned to interview a person 65 years or older about how the media has evolved throughout his or her lifetime and how its affected them in both positive and negative ways.

I chose to interview Korean War veteran Norman Strickbine for my oral history project because of his vast knowledge and experience in the field of media. Although Strickbine is not technically related to me, I’ve called him Uncle Norm for as long as I can remember. He’s like family to me, and I could not think of a single person in my life that would be better suited for this project.

Strickbine was born in 1930 and served in the military during the Korean War. He attended Army photo school and was a combat photographer in the field. Many years after the war ended, Strickbine helped compile stories from Korean War veterans and published two books: Faces of War: Korean Vignettes and Faces of War: Red Dragon. Coupled with Strickbine’s photography, the two books provide an inside look into one of the biggest events in U.S. history.

With Strickbine’s war reporting experience and knowledge, it will be extremely interesting to learn about how he believes the media has evolved throughout his lifetime and how it’s changed since he was in the field. Also, I cant help but wonder how the Korean War would have been covered if Strickbine and other photographers and reporters during that time period had access to today’s technology. It’s going to be an exciting project, and I can’t wait to begin!

 

 

My second GA shift

After a relatively quiet first GA shift, I was expecting a little more action and excitement the second time around. For the second week in a row, I decided to work the late shift and serve as the on-call nightside reporter. 

After I arrived at noon, assistant city editor Ted Hart put me in charge of editing the weekly events calendar. Elise Moser had constructed the calendar earlier that morning, so I thought the job would be relatively east. I was wrong. 

Nearly 3 hours later, I finally finished fact-checking the spelling, names, dates and times of all of the scheduled events for the weekly calendar. I double-checked websites, Facebook pages and even had to call businesses and organizations to verify information. After all of the facts were checked, I arranged the information according to AP style. Although it took much longer than it should have, I wanted to be completely sure that the calendar was be 100 percent accurate.

I left the newsroom briefly to cover a court case at 1:30, but the trial was continued. Once I finished the calendar, there wasn’t much to do until I seen a tweet from KBIA reporting a fire at the intersection of Garth and Blue Ride Road at 6 p.m. I asked my ACE if I could cover the story, and he sent me away in my stylish yellow vest. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived, there were no firetrucks or firemen to be found. The reported fire must have either been a false alarm or extinguished within 20 minutes.

After I came back to the newsroom, I waited around for another story until my shift ended at 9 p.m. I was a little disappointed at the lack of activity for the day, but I learned a lot about the value of accuracy checks while editing the weekly events calendar. It’s definitely worth it to verify information, and you can never give the person who made the calendar the benefit of the doubt about anything— no matter how smart and careful he or she is. 

Localizing a national event

Without question, Columbia is one of the most over-covered cities in the U.S. While I’m sure I’m not the only journalist to reach this conclusion, I just feel that it needs to be stated.

Many business owners and organizations lock their doors when they see a reporter walking down the sidewalk, and I can’t really blame them for it. Would you want to talk to reporters multiple times each semester and answer the same questions over and over?

Of course not. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be a journalist in an over-covered city, it just means that you will have to work that much harder to find new story ideas. 

One of the easiest ways to come up with a story is to localize a national event, just as Missourian reporter Carley Meiners did in her article “Colorado Flooding hits home for MU Student Jaimee Zupan.” While this method is often overlooked, it’s a great solution for journalists struggling to develop story proposals. 

Instead of simply regurgitating the AP’s articles, Meiners did her own original reporting by contacting an MU student who was from Aurora, Colo.— one of the cities hit hardest by the flooding. The student, Jaimee Zupan, has been worried sick all weekend about her friends and family as the flood waters continued to rise. 

I think Meiners did a great job of localizing the Colorado flooding for readers in Columbia. She took a different angle to cover the story, and it was extremely effective. As journalists, it’s our job to seek out these interesting connections and find a way to cover stories in unique, innovative ways. 

Compassion in the aftermath of a tragedy

On Sunday, I was touched after reading Seth Boster’s article in the Missourian about Jacob Meadows. I imagine that it would be overwhelmingly difficult to cover a suicide story, and even more so in the aftermath of last week’s horrific tragedy. Instead of stirring up even more pain for Meadow’s friends and family by reporting on the cause of his death, Boster’s story angle focused on Meadow’s high school band, and how he was loved and cherished by many. 

After I read the article, I realized that this was what good journalism is all about. It’s not to make people feel bad about themselves or the world that we live in. It’s not always about a hard-news lead or the latest corruption in politics. Sometimes, it’s as simple as showing compassion to friends and family after an unthinkable tragedy, and showing the community around us that we care. 

While it’s never easy to handle the death of a loved one, I sincerely believe that Boster’s story will help Meadows’ friends and family through the grieving process by allowing them to reminisce about the happy memories and experiences they’ve shared together. After the article was published, Boster received a thank you call from Meadows’ family. As a journalist, that’s all one could ever hope for. 

GPS tracker will show locations of Tiger Line buses on smartphone app

On Monday, I spoke to Karlan Seville about the debut of a Tiger Line’s GPS bus-tracking system on the GoMizzou app. Although a few paragraphs in the story had to be trimmed due to space constraints, I’m still happy with how it turned out. This story was a quick turnaround, and I believe I’m starting to get better at writing on deadline.

GPS tracker will show locations of Tiger Line buses on smartphone app

September 16, 2013 | 8:29 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — On Tuesday, MU’s GoMizzou smartphone app will begin offering a GPS bus-tracking system for the Tiger Line shuttle service.

Karlan Seville, the communications manager at MU Campus Facilities, said the new technology will make commuting on the Tiger Line easier for students.

“The addition of Tiger Line’s GPS map on the GoMizzou app will allow students to see where the bus is at any given time, so that they know how soon the bus will arrive at their location,” Seville said.

The GPS tracking information will be provided by DoubleMap, a bus-tracking application that is also used to track Columbia Transit’s buses.

MU senior Emily Clements said she hoped the bus tracker would make riding university buses more convenient for her.

“I never know when the bus is coming,” Clements said. “Whenever it gets cold, at least I won’t have to stand outside waiting for the bus.”

While GPS tracking for the Tiger Line had already been available through DoubleMap, its use in the GoMizzou app will make it more accessible.

“GoMizzou is popular with students, so we wanted to make sure that we brought Tiger Line’s GPS map to GoMizzou,” Seville said.

Link: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/165636/gps-tracker-will-show-locations-of-tiger-line-buses-on-smartphone-app/

Chrome and Bacon car show revs up and sizzles

On Saturday, I finally wrote my first automotive story for the Missourian. I worked alongside fellow aspiring automotive journalist Joey Ukrop, so you can imagine our enthusiasm covering the event. We both had an awesome time, met a lot of great people and saw some unbelievable cars! It was even sweeter to see the article on the front of the Sunday paper!

Chrome and Bacon car show revs up and sizzles

September 14, 2013 | 9:29 p.m. CDT
A pair of Chevrolet pickups from different eras stand on display at the Chrome and Bacon car show at Woodcrest Chapel on Saturday.
Bob Hurdle’s 1966 Rally Red Chevrolet Corvette gleams in the sunlight at the Chrome and Bacon car show at Woodcrest Chapel on Saturday. | Joey Ukrop
A group of boys that stopped to admire a 1934 Ford three-window coupe are reflected in its custom paint job at the Chrome and Bacon car show on Saturday at Woodcrest Chapel. | Joey Ukrop
A steady flow of cars and motorcycles made their way into the Woodcrest Chapel parking lot Saturday afternoon for the Chrome and Bacon car show. Hartley Wright, ministry coordinator, said there were approximately 85 entries.

The Chrome and Bacon car show brought a steady stream of vehicles to Woodcrest Chapel on Saturday. ¦ Joey Ukrop

COLUMBIA— Columbia’s car show scene is starting to take on a different look as more participants showcase their souped-up daily drivers.

The second annual Chrome and Bacon motorcycle and classic car show was held Saturday at the Woodcrest Chapel parking lot on W. Nifong Blvd. Chrome and Bacon is hosted by the Woodcrest Chapel men’s ministry and began in June 2012.

“We moved this year’s show into the fall to generate more interest and participation,” ministry coordinator Hartley Wright said. “We wanted to build on what we started last year.”

The strategy definitely worked, as there were far more registered cars and spectators than during the ministry’s inaugural show last year, Wright said.

Wright came up with Chrome and Bacon’s unique name to differentiate it from Columbia’s other annual car shows and draw more participants.

“Cars and bikes have the chrome, and all of our food is served with bacon,” Wright said. “As you know, it’s very hard to find a guy that doesn’t respond to bacon.”

More than 85 cars and motorcycles were entered in the show, ranging from trailer queens to daily drivers. If anything, the event serves to show spectators that participating in car shows doesn’t have to be a high-dollar operation; they just need to have a passion for cars and bring something unique.

The Danger Ranger

Chris Patterson, of Columbia, entered a moderately stock appearing 1996 Ford Ranger pickup in the show. Traditional automotive enthusiasts likely wouldn’t give the sedated truck a second glance, unless they happened to take a peek under the hood.

Instead of the Ranger’s standard 2.3L four-cylinder engine that produces a mere 112 horsepower, Patterson’s Ranger features a modified 250 horsepower turbocharged and intercooled engine modeled after the iconic 1984-86 Mustang SVOs.

“When I tell people I have a turbo Ranger, they look at me weird,” Patterson said.

Patterson purchased the truck from his father in May 2009.

“My dad was too big for it and didn’t fit,” Patterson said. “When I bought the truck, it was bone-grandpa stock.”

After Internet research into what other Ranger owners had done, Patterson realized his truck’s true potential. The popular choice among Ranger enthusiasts was to swap in a V8, but Patterson wanted to be unique. Instead, he chose to modify the Ranger’s existing four-cylinder engine by installing Mustang SVO forged rods and pistons and a HX-35 twin-scroll turbochager from a Dodge Cummins diesel. A Hurst shifter was also installed for crisper, quicker shifts.

Despite extensive drivetrain modifications that have more than doubled the vehicle’s horsepower, Patterson’s Ranger still logs 27 mpg on the highway and retains perfect street manners.

“Trailer queens have irritated me at car shows since I was a little kid,” Patterson said. “I built this truck to be a driver. It’s a great mix of power and handling.”

The Grand Am GT

Tanner Davis, of Columbia, is another automotive enthusiast that brought his daily driver to the car show: a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT. While the majority of Grand Ams likely wouldn’t receive any attention at shows, Davis’ electric red Grand Am GT is anything but ordinary.

While Davis recognizes that his Grand Am isn’t much of a performance car, that hasn’t stopped him from applying his tasteful design style to modify the car in other areas.

“I focus on appearance modifications because there isn’t much aftermarket support for performance,” Davis said.

Equipped with an aggressive SC/T ram-air hood, 18-inch five-spoke wheels and a two-inch lowering kit, Davis’ menacing GT serves as yet another example that unique cars can be built with a relatively inexpensive budget.

“Any car has potential, as long as you take care of it,” Davis said.

Link: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/165574/chrome-and-bacon-car-show-revs-up-and-sizzles/

 

Shhhh! Don’t wake the neighbors

A quick drive through the neighborhoods of Northland-Parker, Oakland Manor and Haden Park on Wednesday lead me to believe that I had somehow teleported back to my hometown of Thayer, Mo. Unfortunately, after a thorough search of my Buick’s undercarriage, I didn’t find any sign of Doc’s flux capacitor, so I knew it couldn’t be true.

Even though I’ve lived in Columbia for two years now, the city’s diversity never ceases to amaze me. After growing up in a town with only two stoplights and 2,000 citizens, the culture shock I experienced when I first moved to Columbia was a bit overwhelming. Since I’ve been at MU, my weekly routine has never required me to venture far from urbanization.

Yet, here I was lost in the enchanted neighborhood of Northland-Parker— only a mere mile from the hustle and bustle of Business Loop 70. The roar of Columbia’s traffic was muted, shade trees surrounded the area, and most importantly—the houses had ACTUAL front yards. Although I was nearly 220 miles away from Thayer, I felt at home in the quiet neighborhood.

On this particular adventure, my friend and fellow reporter Brian Hayes and I were assigned to cover three Columbia neighborhoods and gather a better understanding of community issues and the citizens that live there. We tried contacting the neighborhood association representatives from Northland-Parker and Oakland Manor, but they never responded to our emails or returned our calls. Haden Park doesn’t even have a representative.

The first neighborhood we visited was Northland Parker. Although it was the largest of the three neighborhoods, there were no businesses to be found. That is, until we stumbled upon a house with two signs that read “Honey For Sale” and “Bee Crossing.” Immediately intrigued, we knocked on the resident’s door to inquire about the business. Unfortunately, nobody answered, but I did leave a handwritten note asking the business owner to call me back.

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After we left Northland-Parker, we moved on to Oakland Manor. After driving down a few streets, we soon realized that the neighborhood was strictly residential. As a result, we decided to knock on a few doors and get a better sense of the community from the people who would know it best. The first resident we talked to was Bob Wade. With the door only half-way open, Wade proceeded to tell us that he lived on a quiet street and never had any trouble. Across the street, we approached Bobbie Jean Hollis in her open garage. She was a little more talkative and told us more about the neighborhood. Hollis had been living in her house since 1985, and she has never had any break-ins or a reported crime. She said the neighborhood contained mostly older residents with very few children running around. We could tell the neighborhood was extremely quiet with very little activity, and both Wade and Hollis seemed to like it that way.

As we drove to our third and final neighborhood of the day, we were still without a good story. After unsuccessfully trying to have a civil conversation with the employees at Homer’s Auto Repair Shop, I decided to give it one last shot and call the phone number for the Hayden Park Mobile Home Court. Nobody answered, but I decided to leave a message in the hopes that I would get a call back. Luckily, my wish was granted, and I was able to speak with Julie Reese, an employee at the Hayden Park Mobile Home Court.

Reese said the community at Haden Park only contained about 25 homes of mostly older residents that have lived there for over ten years. The residents looked out for one another, and there were no safety or crime issues to speak of. Reese said this is largely a result of their careful selection process, as applicants have to meet a certain criteria to rent one of the lots. A referral criminal background check and sexual predator search is ran on each applicant to make sure they are safe for the community.

At the end of the day, we walked away from our neighborhood investigation a little disappointed. We desperately tried to find a good story, but walked away empty handed. All three neighborhoods were very quiet and residential, without any crime or serious issues to speak of. Even though I may be a little disappointed as a reporter, I’m happy to know the residents we spoke to feel safe at home and love their communities.