An Experiment in Experience Journalism

JUPITER, Fla. — During my senior year at Mizzou, I finally got to take a class I’d been eying since entering the School of Journalism. I don’t recall the number — it was somewhere in the 300s — but I do remember the unofficial title we had for it: our immersion project.

An exercise in long-form journalism, the semester’s assignment was to plant yourself inside a story, wallow in it for more than a month, and then emerge with a deep, penetrating and, in some cases, personal story about the experience. In short, the idea was to immerse yourself in the story. Today, we might call this embedding. Students would work at shelters. They would ride along with a high school team for a season. They’d go through a round of cancer treatments with the family of a patient. I spent my semester entrenched in the Kenny Hulshof campaign for Congress, and by the end I was able to chronicle from behind closed doors how a Republican won Missouri’s ninth district for the first time in more than Continue reading

Walking Around the World Without Moving

DOWNTOWN — Four of the most recognizable walkers in St. Louis have apparently been on quite the journey since they came town, and they’ve covered so much ground without moving an inch from their original location.

In yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Doug Moore had one of those stories that stands out for its inventiveness and its unexpectedness.

Moore revisits Citygarden, a walking area in downtown St. Louis that is a wonderful jumble of artwork. Two of the more captivating — and, for some, unnerving — pieces at Citygarden are the digital walkers.  “This is Kiera and Julian Walking” and “This is Bruce and Sara Walking” are digital boards that show four figures, two in each frame, striding ever smoothly toward nowhere. The figures are faceless, they’re clothes are yin-yang opposites, and yet their gait is so eerily real and relentlessly rhythmic that the artist, Julian Opie, has made the casual stroll into a work of art.

Here’s where Moore’s creativity comes in. Continue reading