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Counting my cookies: junior year

May 15, 2014

This was the semester of Dole.

I spent most of my time this semester in two Dole buildings: the Dole Institute and the Dole Center, home of KUJH-TV.

On April 22, these two parts of my life combined when KUJH produced live coverage of Sen. Bob Dole’s visit to his institute. Sen. Dole returned to Kansas to meet Kansans and eat cookies, so in honor of that, I’ve cooked up half a dozen “cookies” from this spring – moments and lessons I won’t soon forget.

Cookie 1: Reaching a milestone

In January, I bid age 20 arrivederci and welcomed 21 the way most do. Four months in, I can say with sincerity I feel somewhat more grown up with a vague sense of direction.

Lesson: Cake is good in multiple states of matter.

Cookie 2: Covering an election

ElectionOver the past few weeks, I’ve produced KUJH News’s live coverage of KU’s Student Senate debate, election night and joint session. The highlight for me was election night, when 45 minutes before coverage was scheduled to begin, we learned results would be postponed. We scratched our entire rundown, rebooked guests, rewrote questions and scripts and hustled to go live nine times that night.

I can’t count the number of sprints from the newsroom to the studio and back that night, but during those jaunts, I realized I’d found my passion for news producing. Those nights, I had immense pride in my crew because no matter how stressful or off-the-cuff the situation became, we never panicked. We worked together to create something that didn’t suck, and in the process, we formed a newsroom family.

Lesson: Walking is lame; running gets you places.

Cookie 3: Meeting the man

I’ve spent three years walking across the Iowa Street bridge to the Dole Institute, and last month, I met the man whose name is on the building.

DSC_1397Before his visit, I asked my co-workers what it meant to them that Sen. Dole was returning to the building. Their comments on his dedication to public service and amazement at the obstacles he overcame to get where he did reminded me why I made this building one of my homes on this campus.

I’ll never forget seeing him under our Dole Institute Capitol Dome.

Lesson: A reminder that every day, I help ensure a great man is not forgotten.

Cookie 4: Revamping at Applebee’s

In February, I joined KUJH’s Friday news crew. The anchor and I bonded during KUJH’s debate coverage. At times, mainly when we make five-minute conversations an hour in no time at all, it feels like we’ve known each other a while.

That’s why when we had dinner at Applebee’s a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t surprised when we ended up staying for 3-4 hours discussing ways to revamp KUJH. Our waiter, though, I’m sure was shocked – and not at all awed – when he saw a laptop on our table. We basically had an impromptu brainstorming session, for no reason other than we both truly care about this.

In covering a downtown shot put event from The Sandbar’s rooftop, communicating through facial expressions between the studio and control room and even going grocery shopping, we’ve have had some epic moments. Some would call us opposites. I’d disagree, though our personalities certainly have discrepancies. But I think we’re alike in a vital way: We’re passionate about journalism and want to be better.

And thus, the dream team was born.

Lesson: Surround yourself with passionate people.

Cookie 5: Surviving Journalism 550

There should be “I survived J550” T-shirts, resembling those for amusement park rides. Journalism 550 was the most difficult and frustrating class I’ve taken, but I learned more in one semester than any other time in my life. Finishing that final package and knowing it didn’t suck symbolized a huge accomplishment.

Lesson: Search for the gold coins, in journalism and in life.

Bonus lesson: Busy is not an excuse; you could always be busier, so count your cookies.

Cookie 6: Saying fond farewells

The goodbyes never get easier, no matter how excited I am for those leaving.

Lesson: Things that matter aren’t easy.

I couldn’t have produced a more fulfilling semester. But next fall, I sure will try.


From → Junior

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