Making a Difference, One Story at a Time…

As my alarm went of this morning, I struggled to get out of bed, and begin a new day. With the laziness of my relaxed body, and the comfort of my bed set aside, I knew that it would be another day of adventures, because Tuesday’s happen to be the days that I report for UTVS News. I enjoy reporting very much, because it is always a new experience, every week. The days are long and stressful being a reporter, but it is all worth it at the end of the day, when I see my finished story air on the evening newscasts. Reporting is a class that we are required to take in the Mass Communication Broadcasting major, but it is more than just that for me. This is my passion, and although it can be tough and nerves can run wild, I enjoy the challenge each and every time I shoot, write, and edit a new story.

This week, I chose to center my story on politics, because of the mainstream media coverage of the Iowa Caucus’s that took place on Monday. Originally, I wanted to do a story about the purpose of a Caucus or Primary, and find out just what each of them mean by definition. Like previous ideas that I have had on weeks before, my vision slowly started to take a turn down the road that I had not envisioned it would. This is something that can happen any day, to any reporter. People have busy, hectic schedules, and cannot always work with me when I have time to interview them. This happened to me this week, and gave me quite the headache today.

Originally, I wanted to contact the Bernie Sanders Campaign office located in Downtown St. Cloud, and speak with an advisor or volunteer for the campaign. I planned on asking them questions not only about their volunteering experience and why they choose to participate in the process, but also about the importance of a Caucus, and what it really is. On Monday morning, I contacted the office to schedule an interview with someone that would be interested in speaking with me on-camera. After the gentleman on the other end of the line answered, I proceeded to tell him who I was, and why I was calling. To my surprise, the man came off very rude, and uninterested in my request to highlight the office, and dig deeper into the election process. This made me somewhat upset, because I see this as an opportunity to educate the public, and get citizens excited to participate in the Presidential election this year. After telling me to try back another time, I hung up the phone, and went back to the “drawing pad” to begin thinking of a new idea for my story.

When something like this happens, it can make things even more stressful than they already are. I believe everything happens for a reason, so told myself that everything would work out, and hopefully I could find a new angle to take on the report. And that I did, after speaking with one of my roommates the evening before, I remembered him telling me about a few students on the St. Cloud State campus, who volunteer their time with the SCSU College Democrats. It really pays off to speak openly to people in this industry, because all it took to get in contact with the two students was a simple Facebook message, with a short explanation as to who I am and what I was looking for.

Both of the students were more than happy to speak with me on camera, and even wanted to provide me with additional information for my story, along with other references to knowledgeable people in the field of politics. I scheduled the two interviews, and became thankful that things were starting to work out, once again. Id like to note that this is one of the things that I enjoy most about what I do with UTVS News, because I am forced to open up, and connect with new people every day in order to be successful and achieve the best sources and interviews that I can find.

With the two interviewees scheduled in my planner, I now had to think of a way to incorporate their views into my story. The topic of the report was beginning to develop once again, with a different angle. I decided to keep an open mind with this story, and see what would come from my first interview with the President of the SCSU College Democrats, Britton Mikkelsen. After the interview wrapped up, I knew that I would be in for a roller coaster of events while putting this story together. She spoke strongly about the importance of getting the younger generation out to vote, not only in local elections but also the upcoming Presidential race. This interview changed the way I would tell my story, because I started to realize just how big of an issue this is in our society. Britton told me that last year, only 300 students voted on the campus of St. Cloud State. While putting my story together today, I was able to reach out to the University Admissions office, and find out that we have nearly 15,000 students enrolled on our campus. This statistic was unbelievable to me, and called for action and attention by the media. That is where I come in, willing to dig to the bottom of the issue, and hopefully spread the message about low voter turnout when it comes to my generation.

The story began to develop, and I liked the way that it was coming along. Although it wasn’t following the original plan that I had in mind, the story still came out well, full of information and insight into an issue that many seem to brush off during important political seasons. I was able to score an interview with Zach Dorholt as well, gaining more knowledge about his previous campaign. During the 2014 election season, Dorholt lost his bid for reelection by just 69 votes, a number that could have been turned around if one floor of residence hall students would have casted their ballots.

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