Posts Tagged ‘university of missouri’

As a freelance writer, I never let anything keep me from completing an assignment — not even a 10 1/2-hour time difference for one source or an unreliable internet connection for another source.

For this piece, I interviewed one person via email, because her training schedule in Pune, India, kept her from making our appointments to talk via Skype. I interviewed a source in Rwanda via Skype text messages because her internet wasn’t fast enough to touch base by Skype.

No matter. I got the story — and my client the International Center at the University of Missouri got the news they wanted for their website.

Read the piece below:

Study abroad paves the way for post-graduation opportunities — The way to Dubai, a master’s degree and a position as news director at Rwanda’s first private television station started with study-abroad programs for these three University of Missouri graduates.

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As a freelance writer, I’m learning all the time. For this article, I needed to study up on art, academic success backlash and dairy cow reproduction. The result is an article that highlights the benefits of scholars going to abroad for the scholars themselves , their students and the University of Missouri.

I also learned that Fulbright scholars are open to a wide range of study, literally from the fields of Ireland to ancient cities. The use of the amazing photographs and several subheads make the article super accessible on the website of the International Center of the University of Missouri. Take a peek at the article: Bringing it back to MU.

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Should cultural diversity be considered an economic development tool? Perhaps.

In this article about Rising Tide and the Asian Equity Research Institute (AERI), a research center at the University of Missouri, Alex LaBrunerie, one of the principals behind both of these organizations, credited Columbia’s cultural diversity for making both of these businesses a reality.

That’s because it was through a connection with a Chinese national who was working for a friend of his that he made contact with one of the major players in the Chinese equity information business. That’s how a small city in mid-Missouri (Columbia, population 100,000) has developed two local organizations to tap into the growing powerhouse of the Chinese economy.

Read the entire article here: Jan. 7, 2011, LaBrunerie’s Leverage, Columbia Business Times. How a small financial services company in Columbia landed major players for a Chinese equity research center to help investors understand the world’s second largest economy.

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What I love about journalism is the learning never ends. Here’s an article from one of my favorite resources, the Poynter Institute, an organization dedicated to teaching journalism.

This article is on investigative journalism and cites another of my favorite organizations, IRE, which is located at the University of Missouri in my hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

The article notes that while there have been cutbacks in journalistic organizations, investigative journalism has continued to thrive.

In fact, it’s my opinion that all journalism should be considered investigative. No article should rely just on whatever the sources says. And today, with the internet, social media and other tools of the trade, there’s no need for reporters like me to rely simply on the word of a source. For example, when I interviewed Russ Potterfield and asked him if he was concerned about the possibility of his products being produced in inhumane conditions, he said since there was a labor shortage, he believed that anyone unhappy with working conditions could simply leave their job. Years ago, I would have had to take his word for it or had to attempt to find an expert in Chinese labor trends. Today, I could review several international publications documenting the lack of skilled workers in China.

That is not strictly investigative journalism, but it does show that today journalists can do their jobs better than ever. And that’s good news for journalism and people who want to stay informed.

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 One of the things I love about being a reporter is the opportunity to take complex ideas and write about them in ways that ordinary people — like me — can understand.

What makes that even nicer is when I get to work with someone who understands that examples make abstract ideas more concrete, which makes them easier to understand.

When I was asked to write about this $6.8 million, two-year award to the University of Missouri from the federal government, at first I thought, “Oh, no.” The awarding agency’s name took up nearly a paragraph, which is usually a bad sign for being able to make something complex clear and easy to understand in an article.

But I lucked out — I interviewed Grant Savage, Ph.D., head of the University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Informatics.

He was willing and able to explain the award in simple terms, with examples. The problem  is physicians’ records are all in paper, so if you want to know something  you have to read through a file and might or might not find what you need to know. Savage’s project will help physicians find out how to use software and hardware to go digital. It’s more than just plopping a laptop onto a doctor’s desk.

Read about Savage’s project and how it will help people like me — patients — and Missouri doctors in this article in the Columbia Business Times.

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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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