Dan Ramey's Blog

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City Kwanzaa Celebration to promote awareness of holiday

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When doing advances, it can be really easy to just write up a story about everything that will happen at the event.  However, I think such a story can have a much better impact if it has more meat to it than just what’s going on.

I feel like with this story, I was able to get to the why of the event and get beyond just the what, which was what I going for. I did not want to just write a story that focused on what was happening and not why it was happening.

For example, one big question that first came up and was why the event took place so far ahead of the actual Kwanzaa celebration. It turns out that holding it early was one of the main points of the celebration so that people could learn about it and adopt it in their holiday celebrations.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how this story turned out.

Here’s the link: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/11/30/city-kwanzaa-celebration-seeks-increase-awreness-holiday/

Here’s the draft: 1130 KwanzaaCelebration

Written by danramey

December 15, 2010 at 4:04 am

Posted in Stories

Columbia residents share Thanksgiving traditions, memories

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This story was a lot of fun to work and report on.  First off, I got to work on it with my two awesome beat partners, Laura and Kristina. Second, we had the opportunity to around town and just meet and talk to a bunch of really interesting people.

We tried to hit a variety of different places in order to round up sources with a lot of different backgrounds and experiences and I think in that department, we did a fairly good job. We were hoping to also get the input of the Chancellor and a couple of city council members.  However, the Chancellor was out of town and we were never able to get in contact with the city council members.

I do wish that we had more of a difference between the thoughts and feelings we have in the text piece and the audio slide show.  I think it would have made the two more complementary but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with how the story turned out.

Here’s the story: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/11/22/columbia-residents-share-thanksgiving-traditions-memories/

 

Written by danramey

December 8, 2010 at 4:35 am

Posted in Stories

MU Veterans Center celebrates Veterans Day with grand opening

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This story was one of the many stories that the Missourian ran as part of our Veterans Day coverage this year. I picked up this story on my general assignment shift.  I originally made some calls but on that Tuesday was only able to get a couple of people to talk to me.

I have to admit that I made a little bit of a mistake on this story. At first, I did not go to the space of the new veterans center and merely talked to those at the center on the phone. However, Jeanne encouraged me to go over the center to get a better feel for the new space. By the time I got over there, the center was closed.  However, I was able to get to the center the next morning, which I think added to the story.

Here’s the story: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/11/10/mu-veterans-center-celebrates-veterans-day-grand-opening/

Here’s the draft: 1109 Veterans Center

Written by danramey

December 8, 2010 at 4:25 am

Posted in Stories

Reflections of a boy writer

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As both a reader and a journalist, certain stories resonate with me much more than others.

Such was the case with my story about the Ridgeway Elementary School’s Boy’s Writers Club.  As a “boy writer” myself, I had plenty of personal experiences and knowledge of the subject that I could draw on to write the story.  When I was talking with the experts about why boys were more hesitant writers than girls, it instantly took me back to my elementary and middle school days as boy writer.  Many of the things these expert writers were telling me rang true with me as things that I noticed when I was a writer in elementary and middle school.

However, the challenge was to confirm what I was being told with statistics and research.  In this instance, I think the story really worked.  The statistics and brain research, I feel, really helped take the story beyond a simple piece about a local school club, and place it in the context of a larger issue.

Also, as a boy writer, this story was just a blast to write and report.  I attended meetings of the club for multiple weeks in a row.  Each time the boys were full of energy and my observation time just flew by.  Additionally, the subject matter gave a little space to flex my creative writing muscles, which was a really fun experience.  It’s not every day that you get to use the words dastardly and ghastly in journalism.

My one regret on this story is the fact that I was only able to talk to one of the boys. I asked Principal Tilley if I could talk to them the first day I went.  He told me that he would need to get parental permission before I could talk to any of them.  Unfortunately, I was only ever able to talk to one of the boys and that turned out to be a very difficult interview.  I asked Tilley almost every week if there were any other boys I could talk to but I was never able to get permission to talk to more.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Erin Hendry, who shot the pictures for the story. The pictures she took, especially the one that leads the story, really captured the spirit that I was trying to convey with the story.  Great job, Erin!

Here’s the story: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/11/16/ridgeway-boys-writers-club-teaches-imagination-writing-skills/

Here are the drafts:

BoysWritingClubDraft1

BoysWritingClubDraft2

Written by danramey

December 8, 2010 at 4:15 am

Posted in Stories

Three-car accident at McBaine and Worley leaves two injured

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This story turned out to be a little bit of an adventure for me.  I was originally sent out to cover a structure fire out near Nifong Boulevard, which turned out to be nothing.  However, I soon got a call from the ACE telling me to switch gears and go to an injury accident at McBaine and Worley instead.

I was worried that the accident would be over by the time I got there but it was a fairly major accident so there was a lot going on still when I reached the scene of the accident.  I was able to get the events that led up to accident from the officers and firefighters on the scene but I also took a moment to observe everything and fix the scene in my mind, which helped me visual the events that the officer told me. When Officer Rowland first explained all of the events to me, I had a little trouble following it so I made sure I double-checked everything with him to get it right.  Again, observing the scene also helped me figure it all out because it was a fairly complicated accident.

Here’s the story: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/11/09/three-car-accident-mcbaine-and-worley-leaves-two-injured/

Here’s the draft:

1109 McBaineAccident

Written by danramey

November 11, 2010 at 12:20 am

Posted in Stories

Monsters, mermaids spotted near Douglass Park

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This particular post was a lot of fun.  We got to the neighborhood looking for trick-or-treaters at about 4 p.m.  At first, we had some problems finding people but soon people started coming out.  Overall, people were quite receptive to having their kids pictures taken in costume and I think this was a really great way to get the neighborhood blog a lot more exposure.

Here’s the link: http://comoneighborhoods.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/monsters-mermaids-spotted-near-douglass%C2%A0park/

Written by danramey

November 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Columbia Public Schools seeks community input at World Café event

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This was a simple brief that I wrote as an advance for the World Cafe event the school district was sponsoring.  Overall, it was quite simple and straight forward because I had most of the information I needed and just needed to make a couple of calls to solidify everything.

Here’s the story: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/11/02/columbia-public-school-seeks-community-input-world-cafe-event/

 

 

Written by danramey

November 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Stories