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Monthly Archives: November 2009

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CDT: School band, with a twist

Sometimes, in my job, I get to do really cool stuff, like listen to a rock n’ roll band, talk to people about the band and then write about the band. Tough work, I know. Every now and then, it’s fun to cover a featurey or fun story – one not about budget cuts or about a police brief about a robbery. Fun features also allow you the freedom to do whatever you want with the story.

I cherish this freedom. It’s a different type of story, so I try a new technique with my writing in almost every story as well. Plus, the band rocked.

CDT: School band, with a twist

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CDT: Families react to virtual school loss

Real people drive great stories. It’s a fact about excellent journalism – it requires real people telling their stories, not anonymous sources or speculation from the news reporter. And people like reading about people. Recently, a slew of real people were affected by budget cuts from the Missouri state government, just as millions of real people have been affected by this recession.

CDT: Families react to virtual school loss

At the computer lab at The Greens at Columbia apartment complex off Clark Lane, school is in session.

Natalie Quade, a ninth-grader, converts cooking data into graphs using Microsoft Excel. Meanwhile, her brother, Ryan, a fifth-grader, silently jots down on a map the locations of landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and Mount Everest. It’s his geography homework through the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program, an online school for K-12 students.

Every Wednesday, the Quade family of Sturgeon studies at The Greens, where the children’s grandmother lives, before running other Columbia errands. Some 1,600 students statewide are like the Quade children: They study and learn through the online program, without a traditional school building or the direct supervision of a classroom teacher.

But come next semester, these students, teachers and parents likely will have to find a new way of schooling. The second semester of the program was eliminated last week as part of Gov. Jay Nixon’s $204 million in budget cuts, which included the elimination of about 200 full-time state jobs and 500 part-time positions.

“I can understand budget cuts,” said mother Carla Quade, a former accountant for the federal government, “but I can’t understand midsemester budget cuts.”

CDT: Handling of abuse cases earns court honor

Sometimes, I groan when I first hear of a story. I admit it. I don’t always know a lot about the story when I voice my unexcited feelings, which isn’t wise.

For example, on Thursday, I covered a ceremony about an honor our local circuit court received from the Missouri Supreme Court. I sauntered to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court with the happiness of a fifth-grader walking to his classroom after being banned from recess. Turns out, however, the story was interesting and very newsworthy. And, like the boy banned from kickball, I learned something while indoors.

CDT: Handling of abuse cases earns court honor

CDT: Gone Too Soon

I love telling a feel-good story. A story about people who work hard and finally get what they deserve. And everything is as it appears. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think journalists love seeing or covering the faltering of human beings. We’re not evil people; we have emotions just like everyone else.

So, when I got the chance to talk to a woman who had three miscarriages, but then went on to have two children of her own, I was excited. I knew it would be a fun, happy story to tell, which is always a welcome change from covering a shooting at Wal-Mart, as I did a few weeks ago….Check out the happy story below.

Columbia Daily Tribune: Service to focus on children lost

CDT-102609-A-001.ps, page 1 @ PDFReady ( CDT  10-26-2009 )