Coming back to Advanced

Hello! Until August, this will be my blog for Advanced Reporting. (But most of the material here is on Morocco; just scroll down a bit.) I will share weekly updates on my work and what I’ve learned about journalism.

Last week, I was shocked back into Advanced with three stories about fun events in Columbia, another MU dean’s stepping down and the restoration of our iconic Ionic columns.  The columns story taught me the most while highlighting the flaws I need to overcome this semester.

My writing weaknesses are that I can’t seem to escape a formal writing voice (German mother) and that I lose a sense of structure with pieces past 500 words. This means my pieces can be super boring, as was the first draft of the columns story, which contained a description of how to waterproof columns and little else. Luckily, my editor directed me to the Missourian and university archives, and I found interesting folklore and vivid historical articles that showed how important the columns are to MU students. (The writings also showed how boring we students have become — no one has tried to paint the columns since 2000, when an unidentified person spray-painted the made-up term ¡Boño! on them, and no one has climbed to the top since the 1950s.) The research made my article way better.

Here is the article: Long-suffering MU columns to undergo preservation work this summer.



  1. I liked the columns story—good use of archival material (and how to fix old stone).

    Maybe you could write an in-depth story on fellowships . . .


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