Friday Night Sights is a weekly photo project at the Columbia Missourian that takes a step away from the field, covering high school football from the stands and the sidelines. I produced 17 issues of FNS as part of a dedicated team of photo editors. By semester's end, we had dispatched 31 photographers to 18 stadiums across mid-Missouri. We coached newbies and experienced staffers alike, ensuring that they felt comfortable and inspired making photos.
This was especially important to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic: some teams had stringent restrictions for fans and journalists, and others turned a blind eye to masks and social distancing. A key part of managing this project was making sure journalists felt safe and supported through an unclear and unsafe time.
I was one of the primary coordinators of the Missourian's Election Day 2020 visuals coverage. Editor Elizabeth Underwood and I sent staffers and volunteers to polling places as early as 5 a.m., ensuring visuals-driven focus on local impact. We also embedded photographers at watch parties around Missouri, from the gubernatorial candidates to local Democrat and Republican organizations.
On that fateful Tuesday, the team produced three running longform galleries — local voting, local results and national reactions — as well as a video, a series of portraits and audiograms and an in-depth, black-and-white look into the county clerk's office. By the end of my 18-hour shift, I had taken lead on editing and strategy to get our content turned around for print and web without losing quality or attention to detail.
This story on how teachers manage virtual learning environments, photographed and written by Trenton Almgren-Davis, took more than two months to put together. Eight months after the pandemic reached Missouri, school districts and administrations were still creating safety guidelines and best practices — including with news media. I coached Trenton on obtaining access to four local elementary and high school teachers, photographing from inside their home offices and through their classroom windows. We worked with faculty editor Liz Brixey to hone the story's angle and approach, and we eventually produced an A1 print design, a photo-heavy inside page, and a longform web display.
HIGH SCHOOL BANDS
I worked closely with photographer Grace Noteboom and co-editor Tristen Rouse on this exploration of a high school band season cut off almost entirely by COVID-19. Grace went to multiple rehearsals and performances for all three Columbia public high schools, and we produced a print page and a thorough online longform about these students' first, last, and only performance of the year.
Photographer Hana Kellenberger went to longtime local anchor Jim Riek's final three broadcasts over the span of two days. Because of the long and unusual hours of the broadcasts, this story was a product of massive collaboration. Editor Emmalee Reed and I worked together on the edit, and assistant director of photography Jacob Moscovitch and I created the page design. I then put together a web longform centerpiece with the accompanying 1,500-word story.