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My Story

I wrote the following story for an assignment that required reporting on a local government meeting. I first researched online for a city counsel meeting. I located at time for a special worksession that sounded interesting to me. I downloaded the meeting's agenda and highlighted the points I thought a story could develop out of.

A few days later I attended the council meeting, took some notes, and received some quotes. From the information I attained at the meeting, I changed my story idea to something new. I then tried contacting three of the more vocal council members for interviews. I continued to call them for the next fews days with little luck. Finally one called me back and wanted me to send her my questions in an e-mail. So I did, but she didn't give me her answers until after I had handed in my story.

In the meantime, I spent an afternoon walking through some of Burnsville's neighborhoods and interviewing some residents.

I then compiled all my information and wrote my story.

I think that my main challenge in writing the story was the inability of people to pick up the phone and call me back. Interviews with the directors of this program would have immediately helped me understand where this story was going and would have helped me find an angle quicker. Nonetheless, I continued to call people and leave messages in voicemail and e-mail. Luckily, I had taken some notes at the meeting and quoted people directly. I didn't know their name at the time, but with today's technology I had no problem finding out who they were so I could put a name with a quote.

The paragraphs talking specifically about the idea of the project and the objections to it could have benefited greatly by more people calling me back. If I had another couple of days to work on the project, I think I could have gotten interviews from more people and this really would have filled out these paragraphs and the story as a whole.

I would have loved to of shot this story throughout the course of it. I would have taken photos of the people that I interviewed. I would have also tape recorded them for uploading to the web. I also think it would of been neat to video the council meeting and upload that to the web so that anyone that wanted to could take a look at how my story came out of the meeting. I also think it would have been neat to take photographs of some neighborhoods in the Burnsville area, specifically ones that seemed to need a little TLC. The way that I incorporated the television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, would have also provided a cool twist to the story online by playing a little clip of that show or incorporating their theme song into the webpage.

BURNSVILLE—Extreme Makeover: Home Edition may not be coming to Burnsville, but city officials are taking the idea of the hit ABC show and transforming it into something of their own.
They’re aiming for an extreme makeover neighborhood contest.
Spinning off the reality TV show’s popular concept – where contractors transform a dump into a designer’s dream in a week – Burnsville officials are tossing around the idea of a competition, where neighborhoods would apply for the chance to get a one-year, all expenses paid makeover.
Neighborhood improvements could include street and sidewalk repairs, new paint for houses, updated street lights, local parks and yard cleanup, and landscaping.
“It sounds like a good idea to me,? said Joanna Cardena, a resident of Burnsville. “Some of the neighborhoods around here could really use it.?
At a work session to discuss the idea on Tuesday, city officials raised concerns on what exactly the improvements would be, how staff would choose the “winning? neighborhood, and of course what it would cost and who would be responsible to pay.
Before applying for the contest, some Burnsville residents want to know who would make the decisions on the improvements and who would pay—really, Cardena said.
As of today, estimates of the neighborhood makeover are unknown, but city staff said they would explore the idea of corporate sponsorship to lower the burden on city finances.
The lack of neighbors grouping together and forming a true neighborhood identity was also addressed as an issue by the Deputy City Manager, Tom Hansen.
Burnsville residents also voiced this concern.
“It’s kind of a silly idea,? Burnsville resident Mike Hamling said. “I don’t even know or talk to any of my neighbors.?
The idea of an extreme neighborhood makeover contest came from the ABC reality show and from the thought that neighborhoods might be offended if the city picked their neighborhood for improvements.
At the work session Tuesday, the idea of pilot projects was first discussed. For these projects, the city would assess neighborhoods and then pick one they felt needed visual improvements.
City Council Member, Liz Workman objected to the projects because she felt neighborhoods would be offended by being picked. From this discussion, the push for a contest-orientated clean up emerged.
The City’s work session also looked at other ways to improve area neighborhoods such as a city-sponsored clean up day, where residents could bring trash to a specific location for removal.
The cost effectiveness of the makeover contest and the clean up day will be addressed at a future council meeting.