Video blog: Candidates closing remarks at Board of Realtors meeting


During the last few minutes of the Board of Realtors forum, city council candidates were given the chance to discuss their reasons for running and their platforms.

Andrew Hutchinson, an MU student, and Pat Kelley, a community activist, are vying for incumbent Clyde Ruffin’s, who is also running, First Ward seat. Matt Pitzer and Arthur Jago are competing for the Fifth Ward seat.

I was able to capture these remarks and put together a short video with each of their statements, the video can be found here.

And check out my previous post and Missourian story for more information on the forum.


Board of Realtors kick off city council race with first candidate forum


The Board of Realtors held the first candidate forum of the upcoming city council election. Three candidates are running for spots in the First Ward and two are running in the Fifth.

Pat Kelley and Andrew Hutchinson are vying for incumbent Clyde Ruffin’s seat in the First Ward and Matt Pitzer and Arthur Jago are competing for the Fifth Ward spot.

Kelley is the co-founder and treasurer of the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association, and Hutchinson is an MU senior and former outreach coordinator for the Columbia Housing Authority’s Moving Ahead program. Jago is a business management professor at MU, and Pitzer is a portfolio manager at Shelter Insurance.

Thursday’s discussion focused on the Unified Development Ordinance, a new set of development regulations to be considered by the city council in the coming weeks, and the city’s recent deal with Aurora Organic Dairy Farm to bring a plant and over 100 jobs to Columbia.

The discussion remained positive, the candidates focused on their platforms and the changes they want hope to make if elected.

I have been assigned to cover Kelley’s race, and I look forward to the experience I will gain in campaign and election coverage.

Here is a link to the story:

Developments and more developments


At last week’s city council meeting, there were a couple agenda items that intended to rezone plats of land for residential use. Two of them were controversial and highly debated, but they were all approved unanimously.

Councilman Michael Trapp commented that while he supported these new developments, he wanted to see more affordable housing made available in Columbia.

His comments and the development proposals made me wonder is there a housing shortage in Columbia? If so, will these developments meet those needs, or is the shortage within the affordable housing market? Finally, what is being done to bring in more affordable housing?

These are question that I would like to look into, while addressing the broader issues of affordable housing in Columbia.

Columbia City Council’s Monday Meeting


The city of Columbia meets today to consider a handful of contentious land deals and bringing a dairy farm into town.

I will be covering one landowner’s third attempt to rezone a 43-acre plot of land into residential plots.

The first two times were unsuccessful after developers pitched ideas for student-oriented housing in 2914 and 2015.

This proposal includes 10 single-family homes and 14 apartment complexes.

This item was tabled at the last meeting, as the neighborhood association for the residents who live next to the parcel said they needed more time to discuss.

Attached to the meeting’s agenda was an amendment to the deal that increased the size of the green space between the current residents and the new developments.

While this does address one of the concerns residents had with the proposal, it did not address all of them.

Two other concerns were increased traffic flow and the fate of some of Columbia’s last urban forest, according to the residents.

Despite these issues, I still expect the item to pass.

David Remnick and Ben Smith on how the media should cover the president


One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is “The New Yorker: Politics and More,” which is put on by the staff at The New Yorker and discusses one relevant topic during each 20-30 minute episodes.

In a recent episode, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker and one of my favorite journalists, discussed the very important and widely debated topic of how the media should be covering President Trump with Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith.

Remnick starts off by asking Smith about Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the Russian dossier, a set of documents filed with unverified allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia, and the disclaimer put out asking readers to form their own opinion about the allegations.

They talked about the reporting process and how a handful of Buzzfeed reporters had tried to and struggled with verifying the claims put forth in the documents.

Smith explained that publishing the documents was a mix of competitive, moral and journalistic decisions when CNN shared reported that the dossier had been shared with then President Obama and then President-elect Trump.

They went on to ponder the differences between the choices they both make as editors for two different publications.

They talk about a “generational difference,” meaning that while they both produce good journalism, The New Yorker has been around much longer and is considered a member of the legacy media, while Buzzfeed is a child of the internet and acts and treats news in a different way.

Smith argues that as the times have changed and society has evolved, the media needs to change alongside it.

For example, Smith explains that unverified tips should never be published without there being an attempt at proving if they’re true. However, in the case of the dossier, Buzzfeed reporters worked for months on trying to verify the allegations and didn’t succeed. But, their decision to publish them anyways came when CNN shared that the president had been briefed on the dossier, making their content something the public should know about and form their own opinions about their content.

Smith talks about how covering the White House has gone beyond just writing about what the administration shares and says at press conference, but always remain skeptical of what they say and present it in a way that

But at the end of the day, Smith explains that we are in uncharted waters with Trump’s administration, and must be vigilant about the falsehoods they try to present as fact.

I found their discussion to be incredibly insightful and I saw it as something that aspiring journalists like myself need to listen to and understand the points they put forward.