This week marked the official beginning of my team multimedia project. I am working with Emily and Margaret to cover homelessness and hunger in Columbia. It’s definitely been different in a lot of respect, both in working with a group and covering a subject that is a much weightier than my last project’s focus.
For pretty much the whole semester, I’ve been producing my own work. If something went well, I got to be proud of my own work. If something went wrong, it was my responsibility to fix it. If a situation made me uncomfortable, it was up to me to deal with that and force myself outside my comfort zone. But now that I’m doing group work, I’ve seen almost immediately how different it is. I can partially rely on other people to help me, which is definitely a stress reliever when I get a little overwhelmed by how much work I have to do. I can work on developing my strengths, writing and blog-building, while helping others work on developing theirs. And honestly, it’s been a great experience to have a couple of friends and teammates to encourage me when it does get hart to push myself outside my boundaries, which I can already tell this project is going to do a lot.
It isn’t all easy though. Being part of a group definitely causes some anxiety on my part. This week, I was responsible for contacting a pastor at Missouri United Methodist Church so we could cover a dinner that provided services to people who are homeless. In the past, even though working alone was stressful, it was easier because if something went wrong, I was the only person responsible for my work. Now if something falls through, I’m responsible for two other people as well. I have to be honest about my opinions, the ways in which things are going well and the things I think need to get fixed. It’s definitely a stretch for someone who has trouble expressing her opinions.
The subject matter for our project has been exhilarating and stretching as well. In the past week, aside from covering the Methodist church, Emily and I attended a panel of homeless teens talking about their experiences. We found out about the event that morning and covered it that evening. While making the quick turnaround was stressful, the subject matter was really eye-opening. Four young people talked to us about their experiences with homelessness. Some of their stories were tough, but some were funny and moving, even. We got in touch with the Rainbow House, which sponsored the event through their Homeless Youth Program. Overall, it was really a good way to connect with people about our story and help us really understand how complex issues like poverty and homelessness are.
This new project has definitely been a stretch. It has required a lot more creativity finding sources and has really pushed me outside my comfort zone even in the first week. I know it won’t be my easiest assignment to date, but I think it’s also teaching me to cover things that really matter. Even if it’s not getting published in the Missourian, I think it’s already started to impact me as a person and as a journalist.