Newsrooms and deep dish: A recap of ONA Mizzou's trip to Chicago

By Andrew Gibson
This has been a year of firsts for the Online News Association at Mizzou.

In November, we brought our first out-of-state speaker to campus: then-New York Times reporter Brian Stelter (he's now CNN's senior media correspondent). Later that month, we teamed up with the MU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists for the on-campus UNITY conference, which focuses on diversity in the media. And this past weekend, we went on our first school-sponsored trip.

Where to, you ask (unless you read the headline)?

Chicago. Although we did our share of touristy activities, we did have a good reason to be in the Windy City. In about 24 hours, we toured four newsrooms.

This online and weekly print publication covers business in Chicago. That means everything from food to health care to housing. Restaurants writer Lorene Yue and health care writer Andrew Wang were kind enough to show us around the newsroom and share their insight on the changing nature of the industry.

Housed in Tribune Tower, this station is the radio pulse of Chicago. If you tune your dial to 720 AM, you'll find programs on everything from home improvement to the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Cubs. We met some talented journalists during the tour, but the group agreed it was an unexpected encounter that made the experience what it was.

Listen to this jingle:

Now, get this: We met the man who wrote and voiced it. And countless other jingles you hear during WGN commercial breaks. His name is Jason Skaggs, an award-winning radio commercial producer.

Let me say this more concisely. We met the jingle guy. How often do you meet the jingle guy?

3. Chicago Tribune

Meet ONA Mizzou adviser Amy Simons. She's from Chicago and helped us find some spectacularly good deep dish pizza.

Amy also worked for the Tribune Co. for more than a decade. That meant she had no problem getting us into the Chicago Tribune newsroom and introducing us to all kinds of people. After attending the 3 p.m. editorial meaning, reporter Bob Secter led us around the room so we could bombard all kinds of people with questions only eager journalism students would ask. Our victims included Kurt Gessler, senior digital news editor, and David Eads, news application developer.


This was our final newsroom tour. Anna Burkhart, a 2013 MU journalism graduate and ONA Mizzou student leader who now works at the station, and Chicago Tribune politics reporter Rick Pearson showed us around the facility. I think I speak for the whole group when I say the highlight was seeing the studio where "The Bozo Show" (starring Bozo the Clown) used to be filmed. Seeing the desk of legendary meteorologist Tom Skilling was cool, too.

Our last official activity was lunch with the combined Society of Professional Journalists-ONA club from DePaul University. The conversation was as marvelous as the Portillo's chocolate cake shakes and Italian beef we consumed.
The trip was a perfect way to conclude this executive board's tenure. Now, we're looking for a new batch of leaders. Here's the lowdown on how to run for an ONA Mizzou office. The election is Thursday, May 1.

1 comment:

  1. Ridiculously excited to see several alums (and one soon-to-be alum) of J4502 on the trip.