Posts Tagged ‘dianna obrien’

I always love my job, but sometimes it is even fun, unadulterated fun, like the kind you used to have as a kid.

For example, when I was doing this article on Landmark Bank, I found out the bank had done several rap videos, which were posted on YouTube. I went there and looked at the videos and watched several of them, well, several times. They were hilarious. What other job could you have where you get to look at funny videos as part of your work?

That’s why I love being  a reporter and writer.

Even better, the article, a sidebar to a bigger piece, highlights two other things that are great — the willingness of some publications including the Columbia Business Times to have some fun with what they publish.

Another thing this article highlighted was the serendipity of reporting, especially of good reporting. When I started writing the piece on Jeff MacLellan, I didn’t know about these videos, but when I was interviewing Sabrina McDonnell of Landmark Bank, she mentioned the video which included a clip of Jeff MacLellan doing his best to stay on the beat. When she mentioned the video, I followed up asking why a bank would be doing rap videos. The result was an interesting sidebar that accompanied the larger, more serious piece, about Jeff MacLellan.

The end result? A good sidebar, some fun and an opportunity to listen to a rap video while on the job.


Take a look yourself. 

Real Estate Rap
Man, It Feels Good to be a Banker

Chamber of Commerce Rap

Jeff MacLellan Retirement Rap

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I loved writing this article because I got to learn about a famous person who lived in my own city — John William “Blind” Boone. He died in 1927, but at one time he was one of the most famous people from Missouri, black or white. But until 1971 his grave didn’t even have a marker and at one point, his home on Fourth Street was poised for demolition.

Now, through the efforts of many people, his grave now has a marker and his home is set to become a museum.

Learn more about Blind Boone in this Columbia Home & Lifestyle publication.

Housing a Legacy – Blind Boone Home

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For more than a year, I’ve been doing a different kind of journalism; working with Charles W. Gehrke writing a book about his life and his times. While his name might not be a household word, his work is basic to something we take for granted: there is no lif e on the moon. Before Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, there were concerns that there might be life on the moon and bringing back moon samples could lead to epidemics from microbes to which we had no immunity. A NASA news release from 1968 outlines the precautions taken to ensure if there was life on the moon, any pathogens would be contained so the Earth wouldn’t be contaminated.

But once Charles analyzed the moon samples brought back, it was certain there was no life on the moon.

How could he be so certain? Charles had been doing groundbreaking work using gas liquid chromatography to detect amino acids in agricultural products such as wheat and soil samples. His peer-reviewed publications showed he could analyze samples for amino acids with a confidence level significantly greater than that required by NASA.

That’s why Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma tapped him to be a co-investigator to analyze the moon samples when they were brought back from the July 20, 1969 moon landing by Apollo.

So, without Charles’ work, we might still be wondering if there was life on the moon. But he’ll tell you with an exclamation mark included, there are no life molecules on the moon!

Thanks, Charles.

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My first 10 years at work were spent as a secretary, time served before computers. I even fetched a cup of coffee or two for an executive. Finally, I returned to college and attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where I received a degree in journalism and in women’s studies.

I found my first job as a reporter with the Gaffney Ledger in Gaffney, South Carolina, where I covered everything from the Peach Festival to the school district. I then went to South Korea for a year and taught conversational English at Pusan National University, where I learned that teaching, like soccer, is more difficult than it looks.

I returned to the United States to attend graduate school at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where I fell in love with the hands-on Missouri Method and journalism all over again.

I received my master’s degree in 1993 and went to work for the Columbia Missourian as an editor and then for two daily newspapers before returning to Columbia to oversee the public outreach portion of a federally funded arthritis project at the University of Missouri

Then I moved to Moscow, Russia, for a year where I began my freelance career by writing for English-language publications there.

My Russian sojourn came courtesy of my husband’s Fulbright Scholarship award for 2003-2004, and we lived in a Soviet-style apartment of three tiny rooms and from there, I wrote for PASSPORT Moscow magazine and The Moscow News.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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