By Celia Darrough
Columbia, Mo. (Feb. 27, 2013) — Two Missouri School of Journalism students joined 15 other college journalists from around the country to cover President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in a new way – on PBS Newshour‘s InaugBlog.
Lukas Udstuen, a convergence journalism senior with an emphasis in international journalism, worked as a videographer for InaugBlog. Charles Minshew, a second-year convergence graduate student, worked as a reporter.
As part of “Vote 2012: College Tour Inauguration Multimedia Short Course,” the team created more than 40 pieces of media content in four days on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in January.
Udstuen and Minshew talked about their work and experiences in a presentation in early February at the school.
The two found that there were both trials and triumphs during their time in D.C.
Some of Udstuen’s accomplishments included finding a family of undocumented immigrants willing to talk to him for a video on immigration debate and finding Debbie Suer, a 58-year-old woman in her ninth semester of college with a 4.0 GPA.
While covering what seemed like a simple volunteer event at the D.C. armory, Minshew had to rush to the area where a special guest was expected. Vice President Joe Biden arrived, and Minshew was there to take the story to a higher level.
While the experience overall was successful, the duo still had to tackle occasional problems such as editing video in a different workflow, getting to the inauguration at 4:30 a.m. just to find obstacles and road closures, and navigating a new city in general. Of course, lessons were learned along the way, and some that Udstuen and Minshew identified are the following.
- It’s easier to find sources and pitch stories on location than it is from Columbia.
- Pre-producing and pre-reporting are valuable practices because this gives the reporter more time when actually on assignment.
- Be interested in people; always listen to them. Be a little nosy, but respectful, too.
- New technology might cause concerns the first time it is used, but valuable insight is gained on how to use it in the future.
- Have a travel plan when reporting a large event. Knowing where you are going to be at what time helps you navigate a crowd.
- Expect to be delayed and turned around. Show up early.
- Expect the unexpected – the story will change.
Udstuen and Minshew’s stories can be found here:
- Education is top priority for inauguration-goers
- A dream deferred: A look forward as immigration debate heats up
- Riding the metro on inauguration day
- College students volunteer at local church kitchen
- Volunteers, Biden family fill care kits at DC armory
Updated: July 13, 2020