Shay McAlister and Shale Remien Each Win $100 for Their Outstanding Work
Columbia, Mo. (April 10, 2015) — Missouri School of Journalism students Shay McAlister and Shale Remien have been named the winners of this year’s Mastering the Method contest in the broadcast category.
Each student submitted three stories. Remien, a senior, was recognized for her reports on breast-feeding restrictions in Warrensburg, a shooting and the NAACP’s march into Jefferson City. McAlister, a senior, won for her stories reporting on child abuse regulations, an invasive species of flying fish and an accident that occurred in the dome of the Boone County Courthouse. Each of the stories ran on KOMU-TV.
McAlister was also awarded sixth place in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program in the television broadcast news category for her work. She qualifies for the semi-final competition, where she will submit additional entries to compete for a spot in the 2015 Championship in San Francisco.
The Mastering the Method contest, which launched in 2013, recognizes outstanding work by undergraduates in the areas of broadcast, multimedia, photography and writing. The top two winners in each of the 14 categories receive a $100 gift card.
Remien shared her thoughts on each of her stories:
For a time, Warrensburg wasn’t allowing mothers to breast-feed near or around a pool. After our coverage, it sparked a lot of debate on social media. I did a follow-up story and followed the experience of one mother who was approached by the Warrensburg police department for indecent exposure. After reaching out to several officials, many refused to talk on air. This was an amazing story to cover because it sparked change. After the initial report, Warrensburg put out a different ordinance saying moms may breastfeed around a pool. It was a great story to cover because it involved making a difference for a particular party.
One man came to tell me his story about a night that ended poorly for him. He was shot multiple times after coming to a house to check up on a friend. Columbia police say it was slightly suspicious and that he may of been “asking for it.” It was a story that taught me that everyone has a side to a story, and, as journalists, it is important we listen to every side.
The NAACP marched into Jefferson City from Ferguson, and the energy within the capitol rotunda was contagious. With recent Ferguson headlines, the energy in the room was hard to contain. I tried to illustrate that in my package while trying to be a multimedia journalist. It was a huge test to see if I could tweet, film, interview people and stay out the way to the best of my abilities.
McAlister commented on her stories:
After covering a death ruled child abuse, I wanted to know why the child wasn’t taken away from his parents sooner. I gathered hundreds of state records and case files, where I discovered a flaw in the system, allowing children to stay with their parents even while in danger.
I read through the documents and discovered a spike in cases reported in Missouri. There were 61,765 reports of child abuse or neglect in Missouri in 2013. That number was up by almost 10,000 from 2009, when the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Unit received 51,896 reports.
I spoke with people involved in every step of the process including prosecutors, parents, state employees and police officers. Each had something different to add to the story but came to the same conclusion – something about the system just isn’t right.
This story took me months to complete as I waited to receive records from the state and schedule interviews with the people who know most about child abuse and neglect cases in Missouri. This story gave me the chance to feature an issue that affects many in our area, and deserves the attention of our viewers.
An invasive fish species is wreaking havoc in mid-Missouri rivers and one MU professor is determined to stop the fish from invading any further. So, he found a way to get people involved in the cause with the slogan, “If you can’t beat ’em…Eat ’em.” I instantly fell in love with the idea and wanted to get involved in my own way – by telling the story.
I spent a day with Professor Mark Morgan and learned about the problems the silver carp bring to our area and surrounding states. He explained the fish are eating natural resources and leaving local species without food.
Professor Morgan also showed me exactly how he plans to get rid of the invasive fish – by convincing people to eat them. He took me to the store where the fish are sold and showed me how he advises people to prepare them. Professor Morgan told me that when cooked, the fish takes on the same consistency as ground turkey. I tried it for myself.
I loved working on this story and with Professor Morgan. These types of stories are some of my favorites. I had the chance to highlight one local’s attempt to save our environment and surprise the viewers with the way he plans to do it.
I came into KOMU 8 for my daily reporting shift and as soon as I walked in, I was back out the door. Over the police scanner, we heard that a maintenance worker had slipped and fallen into the courthouse dome in Columbia. Emergency rescue workers were attempting to rescue the man and I was on my way to get the story.
I spent the morning shooting video of the rescue and talking to the people who watched it happen with me. Most had never seen anything like it, and rescue workers confirmed it’s not a rescue most of them have ever done before.
The man recovered but did suffer serious injuries. The event prompted city officials to look into the safety measures they have in effect right now and consider what could be done to keep their employees safer in the future. I followed up a few weeks later and learned the dome was no longer being worked on and would remain out of commission until further notice.
I shot video, wrote the story, edited the story and fronted the package all within about six hours. It was a thrilling day on the job and challenged me to work quickly and efficiently.
Updated: August 4, 2020