If I had to explain what I do in this job, I think last Wednesday was a perfect example.
It wasn’t a day totally out of the ordinary, but it was just one that really ran the gamut of the whole local journalist experience.
The day started with a stop at the police station. I had been wanting to sit down with Chief Andrew Parker to go over a few things. Between him being off and me taking vacation, Wednesday was the first day we had a chance to chat.
Now this is nothing out of the ordinary — sitting down and talking to people is the basis of my job. Sitting down with Chief Parker isn’t new either. We’ve talked a few times since he took over, but it’s still kind of crazy how it all works.
For other reporters you don’t just get to sit down with the police chief for as long as you want. You don’t just send an email and have the chief promptly respond.
I’ve had jobs before this where I had to jump through hoops and submit questions in advance to talk to someone hopefully for 10 minutes. Chief Parker said come on over and ask what you want.
I talked with him and Capt. Rick Neace for about a half hour covering a range of topics. I got a few stories out of the conversation and headed back to the office.
From there it was on to the Washington Town & Country Fair. It was Wednesday, which meant it was time for the market lamb show.
Somehow, despite knowing nothing about lambs, I became The Missourian’s lamb guy. I’m not even sure how it started.
The Missourian’s excellent photo editor, Jeanne Miller Wood, is the point guard for the whole Fair operation. Jeanne gets a hold of the Fair program and hands out assignments.
As a reporter in Washington, I started out as the new guy so I got a lot of things that no one else really wanted to cover. I spent a lot of time on the Fairgrounds snapping hundreds of pictures.
Since becoming the Union editor, I don’t help out as much, but I still make one visit — to cover the lambs.
One year Jeanne just decided I was going to cover the lamb show and I’ve done it every year since. I think I’m up to five in a row. It’s crazy watching the kids year after year. I actually know some of their names just based on doing this for so long.
When I started this career, I never thought I’d spend much time at fairs and I certainly didn’t expect to have a designated livestock beat. I still don’t know anything about what makes a grand champion lamb, but it’s fun to cover every year.
My day ended back in Union for something new. I’m a Fair veteran at this point, but I had never covered a Nerf gun war until Wednesday night.
The Union Parks and Recreation Department was hosting its first ever Nerf Night. I had no idea how it was going to go. I didn’t know if anyone was going to show up, but I figured I might as well go and see what happened.
It turns out, kids are really into Nerf. The city auditorium was set up like a battlefield and the kids seemed to have a blast. Everyone was running around, laughing and just having what looked like a fantastic time.
I normally don’t have a problem remaining an objective bystander, but that night was different. I really, really wanted to grab a Nerf gun and join in on the fun. That was until someone (not a kid) shot me in the neck and I realized that if I played, every single kid would target me and I’d be lucky to survive the night.
Still it seemed like a great event and it was fun to cover.
It was a nice closing to an interesting day. I got to do real news and talk to important people about meaningful things. I then went and got to experience a major community event. And then, at the end of the day, got to snap a few pics of some kids having a ton of fun.
All in all, it was a pretty good day to be the Union editor.