And So My Watch Ends

Yeah, I am leaving off with a Game of Thrones reference. However if I were truly in the Night’s Watch this would mean that I’m either dead or a deserter. I promise you I’m neither. I was only contracted to be at Missouri Life for the summer, and Winter is Coming.

Ohhhkayyy. You’ve witnessed my obsession too plainly. So let me continue by generically saying I’ve learned a lot this summer. About photojournalism, writing, regular office hours, how to bring lunch to work, and even editing. And all of it just reassured me that this is the path I want to take. I like being whisked around to different assignments, using my judgment to select photos worthy of my editors’ perusal, and I really enjoy getting to see places I’d never even imagine going to on my own.

The traveling I did for Missouri Life reaffirmed what I’ve thought about journalism for quite some time: it’s for those of us who didn’t get to experience it firsthand. I don’t describe the juiciness of a burger or capture a smile for my own benefit (although it is fun), it’s all for the reader who relies on my image and my words alone to share the experience. And who knows? Maybe it’ll encourage one of you to go try the new Mexican place, or take a day trip to Glasgow. Essentially, journalists are here to serve. Whether it be the hard hitting news you need right away for safety or general knowledge of your community, or the fluffier stories that just give you some hope for humanity. Each has its purpose and that gives me, the journalist, purpose. Thanks for liking knowledge and new stimuli viewers! Without you I would be even more desolate and penniless.

Here are some photos from my most recent excursion to the southwest part of this grand state.

The last courthouse in my Unique County Courthouses story: Jasper County in Carthage, MO.

The last courthouse in my Unique County Courthouses story: Jasper County in Carthage, MO.

Nathan Boone Homestead, outside of Springfield, MO.

Nathan Boone Homestead, outside of Springfield, MO.

Mo' Beef in Springfield, MO specializes in Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches, but I had to try the chicken parmigiana sandwich. Om nom.

Mo’ Beef in Springfield, MO specializes in Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches, but I had to try the chicken parmigiana sandwich. Om nom.

You can’t tell me none of those places look intriguing. I’m a foodie and succumb easily to my vice, food porn, so just looking at that sandwich turns my stomach on full beast mode. It’s embarrassing; people can hear me.

What could also be construed as embarrassing is that I took my mumsy with me on this voyage. She’s close to retirement, and likes to ask off work, and I sure wasn’t going to drive 8 hours all by my lonesome. She’s also very reasonable, a logical Spock-like creature if you will, and she decided we needed to stay overnight and drive back the next day. Praise mumsy for that insight, considering how tired I was by the end of day one. It’s always good to have a road companion, they can help you with directions, argue you with you about where to eat, stop at ridiculous antique malls that require two people to go in and joke about everything they see, and they’re someone to share the fond memories with down the line.

So I encourage everyone to pick a magazine or newspaper, and read about what’s going on around you. It doesn’t have to be in your hometown, state, or even country. (I prefer space travel.) It’s just important to see the options available to you. Looking at a computer screen thinking about how bored you are isn’t hip anymore. There really is no excuse not to experience your community. And community is in varying degrees of distance, depending on your comfort zone, but test that zone every now and then. I’m happily surprised every time I do. And if you need a little guidance, just look to the articles, they usually point you in the right direction.

The Perks of Being an Intern

My heart fluttered when I saw these gems.

My heart fluttered when I saw these gems at the Heartland Antique Mall.

Most stories you hear about internships are wrought with errands, impatient bosses, and little to no pay. While I am unpaid, I must say there’s a lot of value in this here internship, and perks besides.

At Missouri Life our main priority is the magazine, obviously, but we are also out for hire on special publications, such as books, calendars, and visitor guides. I worked on the latter two for Lebanon, Missouri, which is about two hours south of Columbia.

My main job was just to go around and see the sights and take photos of people enjoying Lebanon. That was easy enough, aside from getting turned around and maybe breaking a few traffic laws. But I didn’t realize I would be practically vacationing as well.

There was fishing galore at Bennett Springs.

There was fishing galore at Bennett Springs.

What drew me to Lebanon this time of the year was the Brumley Gospel Festival. This was the very festival that booked every room in town and caused me to seek lodging in Osage Beach instead, which is about 30 minutes from Lebanon. When writers or photographers travel to work on a story, Missouri Life tries to set them up for free somewhere by offering the establishment discounted or free advertisement in the future. A trade, as they call it. So I was set up at The Inn at Harbour Ridge, a quality bed and breakfast (or as I kept calling it, a bread and breakfast).

To say I was getting the royal treatment would be a cliché but it would be fairly accurate. We arrived and one of the owners immediately showed us around, describing all of the freebies and amenities we were receiving. Then we rested in the room titled “Love’s Nest”, ate dinner there, and returned to Lebanon to cover the festival that had put me at this lovely B&B. When we returned the bed was freshly remade, the lights were dimmed, and our trash had been cleared away. We had only been gone two hours! I felt almost guilty since I wasn’t technically paying for the room, but they treated us as any other guests.

Did I mention there were cookies and chocolate already in the room? Fresh too.

You live the good life at The Inn at Harbour Ridge.

You live the good life at The Inn at Harbour Ridge.

Even if I hadn’t gotten to stay at such a fine establishment, I would have enjoyed the trip nonetheless. I enjoy traveling, especially if my gas is reimbursed, and I’m taking photos of new things. In my 21 years I had only been to Lebanon once before, when I was rather young. And it’s only two hours away from my hometown. It’s an antiquing/thrifting haven; how could I have missed that?

I wanted to buy up the whole store, all 40,000 square feet of it.

Oh Heartland Antique Mall; I wanted to buy up the whole store, all 40,000 square feet of it.

Another cliché but often true: if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Now I may have been walking around in the sun, crouching in corners, standing on chairs, and doing just about everything else to get the shot, but I can truly say that I didn’t feel like I was working that much. “Take photos,” they say, “but of course!” I respond. It’s what I do, and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it, perks or no.

Blog at WordPress.com.