A New York Times story came out after the Jan. 21 Women’s March that focused on a town in New Jersey and how many dads were left to take care of their kids while their wives went out to march.
The story, “How Vital Are Women? This Town Found Out as They Left to March,” details the fathers’ “struggle” to keep up with the usual weekend routines of sports practices, birthday parties and play dates.
They were left to handle the various weekend chores that needed attention, all while juggling the family’s schedule.
In a country where there are many households where dads are either stay-at-home while their wives are the breadwinners, are single parents themselves, or share the family responsibilities with their spouses, this story is both not newsworthy and an archaic perspective on familial roles.
Slate had a similar reaction to mine in their story: “Dads, Who are Parents, Do Not Deserve Praise for Parenting While Moms Marched.”
The story mocked the Times’ piece by praising dads for spending time with their own children.
Last Thursday, I attended a meeting in Columbia’s north neighborhood that focused on ways to improve life in the community. Columbia city officials determined that three neighborhoods, north, central and east, experienced higher rates of crime, poverty and unemployment than the rest of the city.
So, a three-year strategic plan that started in 2016 aims to address and fix these disparities by first hearing from the residents themselves about the issues they face in their community.
As I am relatively new to this story and the situation in this neighborhood, I had parachuted in on this meeting and these people’s lives without a lot of background on what really went on.
While I did read previous Missourian stories to have some grasp on the story, I feel like there is more for me to find and a deeper level to the reporting I can do on this community.
For my first assignment at the Missourian, I covered a Columbia city council meeting agenda item on a rezoning 43-acre plot of land to be built into apartment complexes and single-family homes.
To the current residents next to the parcel, which is named “Kelly Farms,” this proposal will take from Columbia’s natural forestry and add traffic to the quiet neighborhood.
The neighborhood association wanted more time to discuss their position, and the city council agreed and tabled the item.
The last time I covered a municipal meeting was for my summer internship at Voice of OC, a non-profit politics and government newsroom in Orange County, Calif.
While still new to the issue and the politics of Columbia, I look forward to broadening my reporting, being able to go deeper into such discussions and understand people’s motivations and positions.
Here’s a link to my story:
Greetings and salutations,
My name is Kaitlin Washburn and I am an investigative journalism student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This semester, I am a public life reporter for the Columbia Missourian, a daily morning newspaper for the city of Columbia and the University of Missouri and is run by journalism school’s faculty.
My beat focuses on covering city and county government for the city of Columbia and Boone County. I cover municipal meetings, public policy and community issues. It’s an important beat that serves to keep residents informed about their government’s practices and encourages them to get involved in local politics.