JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

Archive for December 2011

Mug Shot of The Day

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This woman was arrested for burglary of an occupied residence. And has a pretty impressive mug shot…definitely instantly reacted when I saw it.

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Written by Jessica

December 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Posted in On the Job

11 highlights for 2011

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My blog has taken a turn for the emo.

To remedy this, I thought about writing a cheesy “Top 10” list for the top moments of 2011. But instead of 10 items, I’m actually going to do 11, because that’s extra cheesy. I happen to like cheese.

So, in no particular order, here are my top 11:

1. Running my first 5k … and second, third and fourth.

At some point in late 2010, I made a random decision to start running. Then, my inner masochist decided I should take part in a 5k. Because one mile just wasn’t enough.

Imagine my surprise to find that it was oddly, get ready for it — FUN. Yes. Running. Fun. If you are a non-runner, you are probably giving my a rather skeptical look, right through your computer, right now. But trust me, there is no comparable high to propelling yourself forward, through a crowd of other crazy runners. Not to mention the end result, no matter how slow you are, or how much walking you did, there is someone cheering you on as you complete your run. Beating your own best time is also pretty rewarding.

Running has been pretty good to me too in the fact that it helped me lost 20 pounds this year. No small feat, that’s for sure. Now only if I could be more committed to it…maybe in 2012 I will do a half-marathon, which is four times the distance. Who knows?

2. Changing to the cops/fire/public safety beat

In late January, I switched my beat at the newspaper. I set down a general assignment/schools focus and picked up the subjects of crime and public safety. The latter has been a whole lot more interesting — that’s for sure. Thanks to this, I am slowly losing my last bits of faith in humanity and I know how to spot signs of meth manufacturing. Both might be useful to me someday.

3. Covering a murder case that made it to the national headlines

Now I know what you are thinking. Florida, murder case, Casey Anthony. Nope. This was equally awful, though, and something I won’t forget anytime soon. It was interesting seeing this unfold, from initial reports to end, and also see how much bigger outlets handled it.

4. Visiting USA Today’s newsroom

I boarded a series of trains and buses to Gannett/USA Today HQ in McLean, Virginia during my trip to D.C. in March. A friend of the Washington Journalism Center who works there graciously agreed to meet for coffee to talk journalism shop, and I got the quick tour. It was pretty awesome to visit the U.S.’s second largest newspaper, in terms of circulation.

5. Writing a piece on another Virginia Tech survivor

There are two local families who were directly affected by the horrific events that unfolded on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. Last year, I wrote about one girl who was shot. This year, I wrote about a guy. I’m always amazed by the strength of these families and what they have lived through and endured. I just can’t imagine. I was in college when it happened, and the events at Virginia Tech hit very close to home with me.

6. Seeing my cousin graduate

It’s weird when your baby cousins, who will always in your mind be six years old, start growing up and doing things like driving and graduating and going to college. My cousin graduated and it was great seeing what a grown-up young lady she is. I’m confident she is going to rock life in college and go on to do neat things.

7. Running a 5k with my BFF

This was 5k #2 for 2011, and it was the Memorial Day 5k in Danville, IL. It was hotter than hell and there were no water stops (!!!) and I was beat by Mallory, her kick-butt runner mother and sister, but I did a better finish than my first 5k and it was a pretty run, at the VA hospital campus.

8. Meet the Virginia Tech survivors in person

Yes, this references #5, but this is my list and I am writing and make up the rules. So there. Back in June, the families I interviewed held a big golf tournament to raise money to help prevent the Virginia Tech shootings from happening again. I had previously only spoken to the two survivors over the phone (they both live in Virginia now), so it was great to meet in person.

9. Seeing the last-ever space shuttle launch and landing

It’s kind of been an unofficial Florida goal to see a launch or see a landing. I’ve heard about it from Floridians I know, but nothing really compares to BEING THERE. Imagine my surprise when my editor called me into his office to ask if I would be interested in covering the final one, ever — Atlantis’ July launch and landing. I mean, wow. Uh, YES. Sign me up! So in two very sleep-deprived days, and countless hundred mile drives from my apartment to Cape Canaveral in July, I got to experience the awesomeness of seeing the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle era. It made me wish I was decent at science and math. Alas, I am not, but I still enjoyed the beauty of the plume of smoke as Atlantis made its final ascent to the International Space Station, and jumped when I heard the twin sonic booms as it returned to earth.

10. Riding an airboat

This is simple, and I don’t have any photos. But it was another Florida Bucket List item. I did a story about alligator hunting and went out on a local lake with a Fish and Wildlife biologist and it was really enlightening. And windy. But fun.

11. Visiting the Big Apple

I love me some D.C., but I have always wanted to go to NYC. My cousin moved earlier in the fall, and it gave me a convenient excuse to go. It was a little amazing to see all the sights of TV and movies, but I really was struck by how awesome it was a city — it’s got a great subway system (much more efficient than Metro in D.C.–express lines are THE BOMB), it’s got infinitely more choices than time to choose them, amazing art, and I could honestly go on forever, but I have to say, if I could ever afford to do it, and get a job up there, I’d be up there in a, wait for it, New York minute. (I warned you — I am a sucker for cheesiness).

So there you have it. What are your top 11 happenings of 2011?

Written by Jessica

December 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm