The End of a Reporting Era

When I walked into the newsroom at 8 a.m. Wednesday for my general assignment shift, I knew it would be a hectic day.

That morning, the results of a vote to extend MU’s definition of faculty, in turn allowing non-tenure-track faculty members to vote, would be announced, ending a discussion that had been taking place for years.

As of about 8:30 a.m., MU’s stance in this national issue had been decided, with 65 percent of the vote: Non-tenure-track faculty, which teach about a quarter of credit hours offered at MU, should indeed be considered faculty.

This is the first major issue I’ve been reporting on from the start of the semester (and, really, had been reading about since I was at The Maneater) that had been resolved. (The Larry James issue could be considered one, but I didn’t follow that for too long, so I’m not counting it.) And boy, did it feel good to give it a happy ending.

By doing more of a comprehensive report than a news brief, I took a lesson away from this reporting: prioritization in a short amount of time. I was overwhelmed that morning by the number of people I had to call and the number of topics I had to research, and at one point, I didn’t know what to do first. Thankfully, I had some help: My editor, Liz, pointed me in the right prioritization direction, and the librarian, Nina, saved me some time by sending me articles about this issue on a national level. If I had more time to work on it, I certainly could have reached out to more sources, compiled more background information, but I think it gave readers who perhaps hadn’t been following the topic adequate perspective and background while explaining both sides of the issue.

Here’s to hoping I’ll get to see the end of other major issues in my final weeks of reporting. (Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, anyone?)

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