Big day for me Wednesday! I was given my first GA assignment, that didn’t fall through, and it made it on the front page of the Missourian! It was about Missouri Task Force One returning home from Texas after spending 13 days there to assist with hurricane relief. Read the story here.
Let me begin by saying I learned A LOT just from going on my first GA assignment. The time of arrival for the task force was constantly changing, so as I was doing research on them, I needed to refresh Facebook every once in a while to make sure I wouldn’t miss them. Soon enough, it is around 10:50 a.m., and I refreshed the page. “Missouri Task Force One will be arriving at 11:30 a.m.” NOTE: The original time was 12:30 p.m. So, here I was struggling to write down all the facts and questions I wanted answered and running out the door.
I texted my photographer that they are arriving early, she informed me that she wouldn’t be able to make it and that I needed to not only take pictures but also conduct the interviews. “GREAT!” I thought. First GA assignment and thrown right in there.
When I arrive, my heart was racing a little. I wasn’t sure where to go because I was the first news reporter to arrive. Thankfully, the chief was there to show media where to go and when.
The families of the task force began to arrive and suddenly it is like a race of the journalists to see who can get to the families first. I kind of stayed back to allow the families to not be overwhelmed. I knew I would get my chance. As I watched the limited number of families get photographed and talked to by reporters, I observed what they did. I was really nervous about messing up my first assignment, which don’t worry, I still did.
Finally, the task force arrived, and the press waited for members to come out and talk. In the mean time, I am took notes of all details I observed for possible background or details for the story. I noticed a trail effect happening. I walked over to the task force trailers to note the number of deployments, another reporter walked over after I walked away to see what I was doing. Then, he did the same thing. Real original.
Anyways, once the task force came out to be interviewed, I talked with each one. The interviews were great and recorded for accuracy, but I messed up the most important part: get everyone’s contact information. I got half of the contacts I needed because I had a huge brain fart. Once I got back to the Missourian, I literally sat there and jumped thinking, “Crap! I forgot to get contact information.” Luckily, the ones I had helped with the accuracy of my story.
Best part of the experience? Watching a homecoming for hard workers and having the privilege to report on it.
What did I learn? Don’t forget to get everyone’s contact information! Just a rookie mistake, but is it okay since I’m a rookie? No. Won’t happen again.