Just Another Manic (Wednesday)

And to think I almost didn’t have coffee this morning.

Today was a crazy general assignment day for everyone. I was handed a life story (the Missourian’s more holistic version of an obituary) the minute I came in, and I also pitched three stories, one of which I covered.

I raced to Read Hall at 8:50 a.m. sans photographer to document the winner of the UM System’s Thomas Jefferson Award, which recognizes an outstanding faculty member from one of the four campuses. Sans photographer, I utilized those mobile journalism skills from J2150 and alternated snapping action shots and scribbling notes on my steno pad. It was quite the experience.

I furiously typed until my 10 a.m., and then for about an hour or so after that, and got ready to send it to the ACE’s editing queue … and then realized, hey, I needed to wait for an accuracy check.

So then, I started on the obituary. He was a pretty cool guy (though he did graduate from that university in the state just west of here) — a former Associated Press foreign correspondent who was the last reporter expelled from Cuba during the Cold War.

However, it wasn’t looking good. I couldn’t find the names of any living relatives or close friends. The funeral home said they’d “pass the message along” to whomever reported the death. And because AP wrote an obituary, only wire stories popped up in a Google search. It took me hours to find just a few additional details — only about his professional life.

Fast-forward to later, when I’m given the OK to give up on the life story because we couldn’t find any additional information about him as a person. I made a few calls for my profile on two professors (to no avail) and finally heard back from the professor I’d interviewed earlier that morning. One story down.

I went to class/worked on my profile for the next few hours — I decided to completely restructure the lead and information under the subheads (I was so glad I hadn’t called the brothers for a quote check yet).

I was getting ready to head out when another obituary came in, one that would be a Missourian obituary. (In these, the family specifically requested for us not to call, so we take the information we’re given and rewrite it in Missourian style.) So, I did that for a bit.

But then, during my editing session — hey, a grease fire occurred in east Columbia.

So I walked back over to my desk and wrote a quick recap from the news release. Not bad, but I hadn’t eaten for hours, so I was getting a bit exhausted.

Finally, at about 8 p.m., I left.

Now, I’m sitting at Noodles with raspberry Coke and mac ‘n’ cheese. And boy, does it taste good.

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