This past Friday, October 14, was one of my general assignment shifts for the Missourian. I arrived at 8 a.m. and tinkered around with some in-progress stories until daily stories were assigned. I began writing the Life Story (the Missourian’s term for our deeper-dive version of a family’s obituary) of Clara Anne Tomlin, a Columbia woman who died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 93, and had recently celebrated 56 years of marriage with her third husband. I’d begun writing the preliminary details in a document when I was suddenly asked to work on a breaking story from the night before.
Liz Loutfi, an advanced reporting student on my beat and someone I’d worked with previously at The Maneater, where she was editor-in-chief, filled me in. I’d read the story by the Columbia Tribune earlier that morning, so I knew many of the details: Delta Upsilon, lately Mizzou’s most troubled fraternity, was facing 18 sanctions since August 2015. Not to be outdone by the Trib, we launched into a deep dive of the more than 80 documents that detailed these sanctions. They included MUPD reports, letters from the Office of Student Conduct and, most troubling, a letter from Title IX Administrator Ellen Eardley, informing the fraternity of “disturbing allegations” against them that had been formerly reported to the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX.
Liz and Katie Pohlman, another advanced reporting student and former Maneater editor-in-chief, took the lead in writing the story, and with some contributions I got a shared byline with the two of them, which I consider an honor. Ruth Serven and Taylor Blatchford contributed as well, most notably a fantastic timeline of the sanctions against Delta Upsilon. I was the only non-advanced reporting student to work on the story, which meant I got an education in reporting on breaking news. I can’t say I did everything with ease, but I greatly enjoyed myself. It was even a little thrilling watching that story come together through the talent and skill of the four women I had the privilege of reporting an important story with on Friday.