Capturing a Missouri spring with an iPhone

I’m a big fan of spring for many reasons. The most important is that I hate being cold. Feeling cold and being happy are mutually exclusive to me. The time I spend outside when it is cold is filled with me internally repeating obscenities. Spring in Missouri can be tricky. There will be 80 degrees days followed by forecasts of snow.

Every year during mid-April I get my hopes up that it will be warm and stay warm. This was, of course, not the case this year either. But in mid-April I got the idea to document the change spring brought to Mizzou. I was particularly struck by a view on campus that included a the Quad, the columns and some greenery on campus. There was a red dot spray painted on the sidewalk where one can stand to get this view. So (almost) every time I walked past this spot, I stopped to snap a quick shot. Some days were sunny and beautiful. Others were cold and damp. But now, on May 11, spring had finally come to Columbia, Mo. At least, I hope so.

Here’s what my iPhone captured in the past month as Missouri creeped into spring.

What a snowstorm taught me about journalism

This semester I’m working on the Community Outreach Team at the Columbia Missourian. Our goal is to make the news gather process more open and make it easier for readers to participate in the process.

Community Outreach Google+ Hangout

We had a team hangout (on Google+ that is) on Thursday after the snow hit so nobody had to go out in the bad weather. You could call it super dorky, but I call it super cool.

A lot of the work we get to do is experimental. Here’s the short list of what we do.

  • Try out new tools to better report and tell stories
  • Use social media both to communicate and to listen
  • Look at site analytics to see what content is resonating with people
  • Brainstorm new ways that the Missourian can expand its reach and that we can bring the community into the newsroom (both literally and figuratively).

I’m only a few weeks into the process, so I’m still learning the scope of what we do. But last week was definitely my favorite yet—working in a breaking news situation to cover a snowstorm. On Wednesday, the day before the storm hit, the team was busy planning ways to cover the snow. Community Outreach director Joy Mayer has been talking about RebelMouse, an embeddable page that aggregates posts from social media. The page is customizable to include posts with certain hashtags, updates from select accounts or by manually entering posts the moderator selects. This page included posts from Missourian staff members and other photos or tips posted by social media accounts using the hashtag CoMoSnow. Continue reading

Mizzou’s best-kept secrets

Updated Feb. 10, 2012
By Laura Davison

A few days ago, I asked my Facebook friends what programs, resources, events and things on Mizzou’s campus they thought were underrated or not well-known. Their responses, not surprisingly for college students, are things that are free or cheap, things that make life more convenient or are fun and/or sugar-filled. Here’s a graphic representation of their suggestions.
ven diagram
I was surprised by many of the responses I received. I’m a senior, but not once had I tried a cookie from the Bookmark Café or downloaded any of the nightlife apps. This past week, I’ve done some research on the suggestions I was unfamiliar with and here are my thoughts on how to take advantage of some of the benefits Mizzou offers.

Continue reading

When I first saw Gangnam Style and other important events of 2012

davisonLast winter, I created a timeline of the things I accomplished in 2011 as part of an application for an internship. This year, I have no such requirement, but I found creating the timeline was a good exercise in reflecting over the events of the past year, as well as help me form goals for the coming one.

This past year was a year of many firsts. My first time studying abroad. My first time in many of the places I visited. My first taking all my classes solely in Spanish. I don’t think I can ever adequately communicate the breadth of experiences I was so fortunate to have or the variety of people I had the pleasure of meeting in 2012. But these few megabytes of a two-dimensional imagery are a start.

So, here’s a look back at some of my favorite parts of 2012.

timeline2012new