Final: From this Earth

Copy Block Walking on our family land feels like walking through history. I can feel myself move through layers of memories and stories, typically told by my dad. Here is where we had our Easter picnics... My great-grandparents lived here... I remember walking back through this field every day... I wonder if Winfield and Pearl Reed knew this place would mean so much to us when they bought the first eighty-acre section in 1916. I don’t know much about them, except that they lived on the hill where Jan and Denny do now. They raised seven kids, one of them my great-grandfather,...

Work in progress continued: From this Earth

Without classes last week, I was able to spend three days on the farm in Rich Hill working on my project. I went down with my dad, which was helpful because he knows the area well and spent a lot of time there as a kid. It was pretty dark by the time we got to the farm on the first day, so I spent it finding old pictures and planning the next few days of photographing. The second day, Dad and I revisited my great-grandpa's old house, since I didn't take much time there during my first trip. It's almost like a time capsule, everything just as it was left when my grandpa moved...

Work in progress: From this Earth

I was finally able to get down to Rich Hill a few days ago to get started on my project. I took some photos, but the trip was more of an information-gathering trip than photo-making one. I first stopped at my great-grandpa's old house, which has mold on the inside and out. After that, I talked with my great-aunt and great-uncle and we found some old land titles and abstracts, which helped make a timeline of the ownership of the land. The first 80-acre section of land was purchased by my great-great-grandfather in January 1917. I always knew it was in the family for a long time, but...

Work in progress: Final Project

I haven't started photographing my final project, but I've done most of the planning. All of the photography will take place on family land in Rich Hill, Mo., and while that isn't super far away (3.5 hours), I haven't had the time to make it down there yet. Hopefully I can one weekend before Thanksgiving break. My grandfather recently built a new house on the land that I am photographing, so I plan on staying there most of break and then just documenting what my family is doing then. I talked to my aunt who is very active on the land, and she said she'd love to be...

Final: Mid-Missouri Conservation

Today, my capstone group finished our project about bird conservation in mid-Missouri. Here is the link to our project, which focuses on members of the Columbia Audubon Society and their efforts to conserve the natural environment and wildlife here in mid-Missouri. I really enjoyed being able to get out in nature and photograph people doing really interesting work. I am a big bird nerd, so I was excited to work on this project about birds and especially to go out and photograph birds at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in Columbia.

Final: Unified

Unified uni·fied   |   \   ˈyü-nÉ™-ËŒfā«d  \ : brought together as one A whole object is hard to notice. We expect our things to be complete and unbroken. A wall without a crack. An arm without a scar. A plant without a tear. Though these objects are uniform , they are not quite unified . The definition of unified places emphasis on the state of being brought together as one. This definition requires separate pieces, a break, a tear or a whole. This essay focuses on this idea of wholeness by centering objects that had once been complete but were...

Work in progress: Mid-Missouri conservation

We have finally started to make progress on our group multimedia project. After being without a source or a focus for a few days, I found an event hosted by the Columbia Audubon Society for us to cover to break the seal on our project. The society was having volunteers come out to the Wild Haven Nature Area to remove invasive bush honeysuckle from the timber. Yanchen and I went on the hike with Roxie Cambell, the leader, and four other volunteers. Yanchen took video while I made photographs of the hike and honeysuckle cutting. We also interviewed Roxie to use for our video and text pieces....

Work in progress: Unified

Next up in class, I am working on a photo essay. Each of us in my capstone class was given a random word to center our essay around. I received Unified. Merriam-Webster defines unified as the state of being brought together as one. I initially had a difficult time conceptualizing ways to visualize unified. I wanted it to be about the community here in Columbia, but couldn't think of a way we were all unified, or brought together as one, in a visual sense. One idea I had was about the face masks we wear, but those are often divisive and not everybody wears one. So I started to think...

Work in progress: Birding in mid-Missouri

Our group has had a bit of a slow start to our multimedia project. I emailed our original contact for the Brown-headed Nuthatch reintroduction story last week, but didn't get a response until this week because she was out of town. It turns out that the reintroduction is happening in the Ozarks, 3.5 hours away. While all of us are really into the idea and the story, we don't really have time in our schedules to block off 7+ hours of driving and shooting for the story. We've decided to move to a more local version of a birding story using contacts Kate's grandma has. We...

Final: Early to Rise

The streets are empty and quiet, save for the echoes of parties winding down and the trio of girls wandering home. It is 3:43, Sunday morning, in downtown Columbia. Emily Leiker is ready for work. Leiker has worked for the past year at Harold’s doughnuts as a customer service worker and barista. She goes into the shop at 4 a.m. five days a week to prep doughnuts for the early risers ready for their fixing of sweets. Of course, Leiker rises even earlier than they do. Recently, Leiker’s close friend Christina Long started working at Harold’s. The pair work the same shift...

Work in progress: Early to Rise

For the first assignment in my capstone photojournalism course, my classmates and I were tasked with making a quick picture story that showcases the personality of the subject. We all pitched three ideas, decided on one and started making pictures. My first story idea fell through a few days after pitching, though, so I began work on my backup idea the next day. At 3:43 a.m. Emily Leiker is a doughnut decorator, and barista at Harold's Doughnuts, a shop local to Columbia. She is the subject of my new story. Despite being a full-time student, she works around four morning shifts each...

On getting it right

On Sunday, I covered a gun violence prevention forum hosted by student group Students Demand Action. This story was fun to work on because I got to talk to high schoolers that are very involved in activism and really interesting to talk to. It was also a challenge to report on the forum because I wrote about it and photographed it. A delicate balance of tasks. But it went well! And I am happy to have reported a piece by myself. I just looked back at the article to link it in this post and noticed that it has 26 comments, which is nerve-wracking. Since gun violence prevention is such a...

School Board No. 1

Last week, I covered my first school board meeting. It was intimidating, but went well, and I hope to cover more school board meetings in the future. I have a lot of room to grow. I teamed up with Evan, another education reporter, to cover the meeting. I am glad that he was there with me because there was a lot of content in the meeting and it would have been difficult to cover all of it by myself, especially during my first meeting. I am still getting in the swing of writing instead of photographing, and knew that it would take me a while to get my words down. I made sure to stay in the...

Prepping for the big day

On Monday, Feb. 10, I cover my first big event as a reporter: a school board meeting. I have been studying the agenda for the past few days. There is a lot to look over. It seems like there is a story to be found in every item of the agenda. And a few stories not on the agenda, too. I have found several Facebook posts of parents online talking about things they want to discuss at the board meeting. The posts have over 60, over 100 comments, and quite a few shares each. The concerns seem to be very important, so I am thankful that I caught them and can prepare. I have done as much research...


This week, I started on interviews for my first big story. I had two interviews on Monday, back-to-back. The interviews went well, and I was able to get lots of good information for the story that I am working on. The people I interviewed were really nice and easy to talk to, so it made for a very comfortable and enjoyable time. After working on transcribing the interviews and going over the notes that I took, I have found some holes were I should have asked more questions. One thing I need to work on in the future is asking follow-up questions to answers that are intriguing. I make...

Second reporting shift

On Wednesday, I worked my second GA shift, covering for another reporter. It was a pretty slow day in the newsroom. I worked mostly on getting ideas organized and planning my story—the one I started on Tuesday. I had a lot of ideas about where I wanted the story to go, but I know now that I need to focus and keep my ideas specific. Toward the end of the shift, I worked with Fred to write a brief about Lucky's Market: ....

"In the field"

On Tuesday, I started working on my first story that isn't a brief. I was nervous to go to this group meeting and talk to the people there. It wasn't so much being nervous to talk, but to get all the information I needed to get the story right; I am still getting comfortable reporting stories instead of photographing them. While both writing and photographs tell stories, I am learning that each medium requires a different way of thinking about the information required and how to gather it. I don't want to say exactly what story I'm working on because I don't think I...

First day reporting

Today was my first reporting shift at the Missourian. I was nervous about starting because I am more comfortable photographing than writing, but it went a lot better than expected. I wrote my first story, a brief written from a press release sent from the Office of the U.S. Attorney Western District of Missouri: . The writing process for this was a bit difficult because I haven't written in a while, and it was tricky to write the story in a way...


Hi, Welcome to my blog. I'll be writing about my experiences as an education reporter for the Columbia Missourian in the next few months, as well as some photo thoughts and work. Thanks for reading!
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Emmalee Reed

Emmalee Reed is a photo editor and photographer based in Columbia, Missouri. She specializes in documentary photography and photojournalism.
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