Friday, March 6, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: The Joys of Reporting

by Drew Schaar

There are many joys and perks to being a reporter. Of course that is just my opinion. It does ring true for my experience thus far as a reporter. It takes you places and gives you opportunities that you may not have otherwise.

This week I had one of those opportunities. I covered a story for television about local artists teaming up with the city in order to place public artwork into the redesigned intersection at State Route 682 and Richland Avenue. It is an interesting situation. A city council ordinance mandates that 1% of any major construction project budget be spent on public art. In this particular case, that means about $30,000 will be shelled out for a permanent public art project.

Roug Start
I had a rough start to covering this story. I had to leave the studio in a rush to meet someone for an interview. I grabbed my gear, headed to fetch my car, and raced to the other side of the town to the Athens Street Department. Upon arrival I found that my camera wouldn't eject my tape, nor would it record onto it. Oh No! So, I hopped back in the car, raced back to the station and swapped out my camera for another one that worked. I was able to make it to my interview with the Street Department Director, Andy Stone. We talked about the specifics and details about the project, the art, and about some of the proposals.

New Experiences
The fun part of my story came when I explored parts of Athens I had never been to, and meet people who I had never met before. First stop on my list was the Dairy Barn Arts Center. I knew of this place and had heard a lot about it in my time here in Athens, but I had never actually been. I stepped inside and found out how cool it is. The people who worked there were also very nice. The person I needed to talk to at the time had the day off, so the stop wasn't beneficial to me in the sense that I could speak to the person with the information I needed. However, I did get to add another experience to my life list. The Dairy Barn is a neat place, and one that I will most likely return to now that I have been.

Broadening Horizons
One of the women who worked at the Dairy Barn gave me a name of a local artist who was working on a proposal for the project. She told me how to get to his home and called him to let him know I was coming. At first I was really apprehensive about going to a strangers home to interview them. But, I soon reassured myself that this is our job. We tell people's stories for a living.

It wouldn't have been as big of deal if I would have had a friend or partner with me to help me out, but I was all alone. I weighed the options and made the decision that I have to go and do this or there would be no story. I walked up, rang the door bell, and he answered.

His name is Brian Everson. Everson is a local artist who does wood-burning. He has a shed behind his home on Central Avenue where he does all his work. He brought me to his workshop and showed me around. He described the tools he used and showed me some of his prior work. Meeting Brian was one of those opportunities I wouldn't have had, had I not been a journalist covering this story.

I am lucky and thankful for the opportunities and experiences being a reporter has brought me. I probably would have never met Brian, gone to the Dairy Barn, or experience a lot of the things I did while covering this story had I not been a reporter. It allows me to see new parts of the city I have never been to before. I get to go to new and exciting places almost on a daily basis. It lets me get to know the city in which I live on a deeper level.

I feel now - in my third year in Athens and Ohio University - that I am a part of the community. I have made many friends at Ohio University and a fair number throughout the community. It is so nice to recognize people while I am out and about. I thank, in part, being a reporter covering stories in this (my) community for allowing me to meet people, see place, and do things I would not have done otherwise.

Click below to watch the television version of my story:

The television version of my story

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