Tameka Stigers and Joba Niang are suing Missouri over a law that calls for African-style hair braiders to obtain a license under cosmetology requirements. The case appeared in the U.S. 8th Circuit Court Wednesday morning for an oral argument. Read the story here.
I learned a lot through this story. For one, I reported across fault lines, which is something I had as a personal goal this semester. I went to braiding salons and contacted those involved in the case.
While attempting to get sources for this story, there was a lack of participation on the sourcing side due to scheduling. The story needed to be turned around today, but the stylists were busy with clients.
One braiding service was out of her home. When I pulled up to the house, there was not any cars or indication that anyone was home. I called Katherine to ask if I should ring the door bell or call the line for the salon. She told me to go up to the door and if no one answers, to leave a note with my number on the door. So, I did as instructed. I rang the door bell, but no one answered. I wait a couple of minutes and decided to leave my number. I also attempted to call the salon line, but it was no longer working. I did not hear back from this possible source.
I then went to a salon off Providence. When I arrived, there were two stylists, but both informed me that the owner of the salon would be best to talk to. I waited for about 10 minutes for the owner to arrive. When she did, she informed me she was already late for a client but would call me when she gets a free moment. I began explaining the court case to the owner to start a conversation. Luckily, the client in the chair waiting for the owner was also a stylist/salon owner. She had some things to say that I was able to quote her on. I did not hear back from the owner.
I worked with Myles Poydras on this story, and he reached out to another braider that was able to meet. We also called those involved in the case – the two plaintiffs and their attorney. We were able to quote one of the plaintiffs and get background information from the attorney.
I learned that patience is key to developing a worthy story. I did intense research to make sure I knew everything about this case since it started all the way back in 2014 – accuracy is key. When reaching out to sources, their time is just as valuable as mine. Coordinating with what is reasonable within a day is hard. For busy stylists, a couple minutes could mean eating lunch. I understand why some sources did not return my calls. I was happy with the sources we were able to talk to. Practice patience. Research yields to informed reporting.
I am really interested in this case and plan to follow it as it moves with the court of appeals.