Letters Home: Chris Mycoskie

The following letter was submitted Aug. 20, 2012

Chris Mycoskie, right, is the Southland Conference's
assistant commissioner for television and electronic
media. He attended the University of Missouri in the
late 1990s.
Dear Young Tigers,

I’m honestly surprised that I’ve been asked to participate in this letters home project. First of all, I’m not a graduate of the University of Missouri, much less the Missouri School of Journalism. I’ve been told, though, that I’m an honorary member of the Mizzou Mafia, and I’m proud to call myself a Tiger.

One of the main reasons I chose Missouri was the existence of KOMU. While some
people told me I’d need to wait until my junior year (after being accepted into the
broadcast sequence) to do anything there, I didn’t listen. I drove out to the building
on Highway 63 during my first week on campus and wound up being there nearly
every day after that until I left school.

That first day, I was there for a meeting about the Friday night high school football
show. I may have been the only freshman in the room, and I probably looked scared
and out of place. But being there allowed me to help with the show, be part of the
team and to start making friends I still have to this day. In addition to that work,
I ended up working the assignment desk, running the teleprompter and doing
whatever other odd jobs were available to an eager freshman.

Pretty soon, I felt like a KOMU veteran. By my sophomore year, I had juniors and
seniors asking me for advice. I was given the opportunity to report on weekends
and anchor some mornings. It had nothing to do with my classification, my courses
or my sequence. I was willing to do anything and everything, plus I showed a little
bit of talent and a head for news, so I was put into some great roles where I learned
more than I probably ever would in a classroom.

When I wasn’t at KOMU, I was at KCOU. I shared sports director duties, co-hosted a
talk show, did play-by-play and took DJ shifts whenever I could.

You could generally find me at one of three places: KOMU, KCOU or the Heidelberg.

That said, you could almost never find me studying at the library.

Here’s why I’m only an honorary member of the Mizzou Mafia: I was an awful
student. If I could have been graded based on my time at the TV and radio stations,
I would have graduated with honors. Studying and going to class were very low

When it came time to apply to the Missouri School of Journalism at the end of my
sophomore year, I didn’t even bother trying. I knew my grades were not good
enough. I switched to political science. Thankfully, I had made myself a valuable
member of the KOMU team and was told that as long as I was in Columbia, I had a
job there.

If I could go back and change things, I’d manage my time much better. I’d use the
same focus and dedication I had toward becoming a better journalist and put it
toward my studies, as well. I’d take better notes, I’d use my professors’ office hours
and I’d get tutoring. And, if it meant I could do well on a test, I’d probably even skip a
shift at the TV or radio station.

While I shared a lot of great experiences with my friends at KOMU and KCOU, most
of them have something I don’t: a degree from Missouri.

After my junior year, I started sending my tape out in search of a full-time reporting
gig. School just wasn’t important to me. I was offered a job at WOI-TV, the ABC
affiliate in Des Moines, and I took it.

More than a decade later, I went back to school at Southeastern Louisiana University
and took my own advice. I had the same intensity toward my studies as I did
toward broadcasting my first time around. That allowed me to make the Dean’s List
every term (including a 4.0 GPA my final semester) and finally earn my bachelor’s

I’m sure there are plenty of freshmen stepping on campus this semester that are a
lot like I was in August 1997. Don’t be intimidated, and don’t let anyone make you
think something’s not possible because you’re too young or too inexperienced. But
also remember that being a big-time journalist is not the only goal. I am proud to call
myself a Mizzou Tiger, but I wish I could call myself a Mizzou graduate.

Chris Mycoskie
A&S ’00 (University of Missouri)
BGS ’10 (Southeastern Louisiana)
Assistant commissioner for television and electronic media, Southland Conference

Check out the rest of the Letters Home series

Editor's note: If you're a Mizzou journalism alum and would like to contribute to the Letters Home series, send us an email at onamizzou@gmail.com with your letter, name, sequence, graduation year, current job and contact information.

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