On Saturday and Sunday June 20-21, two reporters from KBIA public radio in Columbia, Missouri visited Cuba to view the murals, interview locals involved in the project, and get an overview of the mural project.
The two reporters, John-JJ- Stankevitz and LaurieAnn Wojnowski are convergence journalism majors at the university. Convergence journalism majors produce print, on-air, and online stories for the school’s principal news organizations: KBIA-FM, KOMU-TV and the Columbia Missourian. The convergence journalism major is the first new major introduced at the university in over 50 years.
It was a hot Missouri weekend in the 90s, but the young reporters interviewed, photographed, and gathered info that they would edit into their piece that was due the next Thursday. On Saturday, Viva Cuba members Jane Reed and Joyce Stewart met the reporters at the Visitor Center, gave them a tour of the murals, introduced them to local citizens, and joined them for lunch at Frisco’s Grill & Pub.
On Saturday, they interviewed Wilbur Vaughn on his role in the Bette Davis mural and set up an appointment to take photos with him on Sunday. Chip Lange spoke with them in front of the Civil War Murals that was part of his Eagle Scout Project when he was 15. They also interviewed Virginia Watson and Jeff Bouse as business owners in the area. They took photos of the guest book at the Fanning Rt. 66 Outpost that showed signatures of people who travel Route 66. The two pages that the book opened to showed visitors from four countries. Of course, they got shots of the rocker and the Rt. 66 mural at the Outpost. At the end of their day on Saturday, they drove back to Columbia but would return to Cuba on Sunday.
On Sunday, the reporters were on their own gathering information. They interviewed Shelly Smith Steiger at her home about her mural painting. They ate lunch at Missouri Hickory BBQ and photographed the guest book there. They also talked to Missouri Hick owner Dennis Meiser. In a later email, Stankevitz declared that the sweet and smoky BBQ sauce was the best that he had ever had. They also visited with a couple from Monroe, LA who were in town visiting the murals.
Both reporters who are from the Chicago area enjoyed visiting small town Cuba and commented on the sense of history that pervades the town. Hopefully, we will soon be able to add the clip of their piece to the mural website.
Stankevitz, as a White Sox fan, also blogs on the www.examiner.com/x-425-Chicago-White-Sox-Examiner.
See the results of the student work here.