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All about the kids

I was reminded this morning why I got into education reporting in the first place. 

Way back last spring when I was decided which beat to go for, I thought about the extracurricular I love the most: Granny’s House. I am so content when tutoring and playing with the Granny’s kids, and I wanted to find a way to channel that passion into my reporting. Education seemed the obvious choice. 

This morning I met with Battle High School students involved with the AVID program. We laughed and joked and had a good time (I think they were just excited to get pulled out of class). The interview was the least formal interview I have ever had, but also one of the best. The perspective they shared was essential to my reporting, after all, education is all about the students.

With the project I am currently working on, it is tempting to get bogged down in the statistics and the data. Thank god for graphics, is all I have to say about that.

I love the people and the stories; it is why I got into journalism in the first place. As the semester winds down and the stress picks up, this morning was a breath of fresh air and a reminder: For me, this is all about the kids.  

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The first 30 minutes

The first 30 minutes after an article is published are some of the scariest. I send the link out to sources, hoping and trusting that I didn’t commit some grievous error they are about to catch. 

I think I held my breath for the entire 30 minutes when the Title IX story I have been working on was finally published on Tuesday. So far — no mistakes, no stupid oversights. With a topic that I believe to be so important, I desperately wanted to get everything right the first time. 

The feedback on the article has been incredible, and I am so grateful my editor pushed me as much as she did to get this information out there. Now comes a part that’s arguably even harder than those first 30 minutes. Now comes the waiting. 
 
This is an article I really want to bring change to this campus. At the very least, I hope it inspires serious dialogues about how MU handles (or doesn’t handle) reporting of Title IX incidents. 
 
 As journalists, we have the incredible opportunity to start conversations. We are able to point to areas of our society that need light shed. But, ultimately, we are not policy makers or activists. We point and hope our community looks. 
 
I really hope our community looks on this one. Not because it’s my byline, but because of how important I believe this issue to be. 

Stopping by the park on a snowy day

Clyde Wilson Memorial Park

Clyde Wilson Memorial Park

 

When up to 11 inches of snow blankets a town, everything falls silent. Everything, that is, except for east campus neighborhoods.

Music blasts from houses full of friends who braved the snowy streets for some company. Cars with “Jimmy John’s” signs up top swerve and swivel their way through the seemingly impassible narrow streets, screeching as they go. Some east campus residents clearly forgot to go to the grocery store yesterday.

So, if you’re looking for quiet on a snow day in east campus, grab your best jacket, hat and friend. Head to the periphery where Clyde Wilson Memorial Park borders civilization. Entrances lie along Rockhill Road, Wilson Avenue and Rollins Street.

As you take the snowy, but passable path, deeper into the 9-acre, wooded park, the sounds of east campus are stilled. You won’t be alone, though.

“You just feel calm and peace among the snowy trees,” said my friend standing beside me, only her eyes showing beneath her purple, frosted hat. “All you can hear is the air.”

When the only sound is the air and crunching snow, vulnerability becomes less and less daunting, the further in you go.

Your friend, in the snow-capped, purple hat, tells you heavy things that rise lightly in the tranquil air, disappearing. You do the same. When everything around you is covered in white, you see one another better.

Today, these woods are lovely, dark and deep. Promises you once said you would keep rise and sweep away with the downy flakes.

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