I loved the orientation assignment we had to complete for the Public Life beat. I know as students, we tend to get caught up in the Mizzou bubble and stick to campus, 9th street and broadway, occasionally venturing to the mall or Walmart. This is obviously a problem when we try and act as reporters covering the entire city.
I split the assignment up into three parts, and in each part I learned something new. First I visited all the sights downtown, and realized I had never been to any of them besides the Daniel Boone Building. I was a little amazed at all the different extensions of government that exist in downtown Columbia. Beyond City Hall, it’s not something I’ve thought a lot about. In going to these buildings, I walked routes that I haven’t before, and I feel like I have a much more complete picture of downtown more.
When I got in the car to do the second part of the assignment, I of course got lost. Almost every time I get in the car in Columbia I get lost. I drove too far south on 63 and had to loop back, circling where I was trying to go. While trying to find Gans Creek Recreation Area, I ended up on this tiny dirt road. (Anyone who saw my little red car with New York license plates trying to figure out where I was probably laughed.) Eventually, I found some part of the park, although it may have not been the best point of access. I was fascinated with Cherry Hill Village, and its development is something I personally am interested in learning more about.
But I especially loved riding a city bus. Its actually the assignment I chose for myself for the “listening post” back in news class. I am continually fascinated by public transportation; it offers the best opportunities for people watching. On the bus, one thing I saw was a women in a power chair get stuck in a storm grate at the corner of a sidewalk when she was trying to get on the bus. Since we cover so much sidewalk improvement, I was a little amazed to see that. I’m also interested in looking into how many vacant or abandoned or abandoned buildings are currently in Columbia, is the number going up or down? Those were just two things I thought about, but it certainly prompted a lot of thought.
Overall, I had the greatest time exploring Columbia for this assignment.