About this project
Risks and challenges
"Joplin: Our Words, Our Stories, Their Hope" is co-authored by Jim Riek and Michelle Bogowith. During the 12 months after the May 22, 2011 tornado, the authors made a combined 39 trips to follow the events of the historic E-5 tornado, which killed 161 people and brought months of national attention to the devastation left by the storm.
Jim and Michelle were journalists with KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri. Both also taught students of the University of Missouri School of Journalism which owns and operates KOMU. Jim is the anchor and Michele was the meteorologist. Their round trips to Joplin were eight-hour car rides covering more than 500 miles. They didn't fly; they drove a Prius called "8 Goes Green!" In the early chapters you'll learn about the many adventures in "8 Goes Green." "We weren't alone!" says Jim. "We took many student television reporters with us."
KOMU is the most unique television station in the USA! The University of Missouri owns the NBC affiliate. KOMU is a teaching laboratory for the oldest journalism school in the country. Only KOMU could send half a dozen reporters every week to Joplin -- week after week. You'll not only read what the authors saw and covered in Joplin, but also what two dozen former KOMU reporters remember who have since graduated and now report television news across the country. "Our coverage would not have been possible without student help<" says Jim. "We relied on students from start to finish."
You'll find out why Jim and Michelle weren't first on the scene of the tornado and why we weren't last on the scene either. In between, you'll learn television management and talent don't always agree. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told Jim that KOMU had forced the hand of other Missouri television stations to cover Joplin, meaning because of our continued coverage, other newsrooms felt compelled to follow.
When you finish this book you'll understand that KOMU never stopped covering Joplin, we met obstacles, but didn't give up!
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