Hi, blog!

It’s me again, I’ve been away for a bit.

I had to go out of town to deal with some personal things. This wasn’t a journalism teaching moment in itself, but it did teach me a lot about being able to have a work-life balance. I took care of everything I could before I left, and because of that, I could be fully present in the moment with my family. I’m feeling super thankful for what truly is my reporting family at the Missourian, especially to my fellow reporters for being so gracious and covering for me when I had to be absent.

I came back to Columbia on Saturday, just in time to make my first general assignment shift the following day. It was Super Bowl Sunday yesterday (GO CHIEFS AM I RIGHT?), and both my ACE and I were anxious to start the watch party. But it was by no means a slow day in the newsroom.

Football and stories collided as I got to write an awesome piece on Col. Charles McGee, who was a WWII veteran and a Columbia College alum. It was so cool to see someone from my college town get up and accompany the referees at the coin toss, which was nationally televised.

I got an email from a reader about a slight date correction and it was honestly so lovely and sweet. I was talking about McGee receiving his college degree after fighting in three wars, which he left another school to do. I got the information from another press release written by his airmen group, but they were off by a few years. The person who corrected me was so kind about it and was a personal friend of the colonel. So I got to learn even more about him and was so appreciative of a reader who wanted to let me know I needed to change something but was so gentle about the notification. Mistakes happen, it’s a part of the journalism lifestyle. Although it was not a major one, it was a good teaching moment.

I’m back and fully immersing myself in some other reporting things I am doing for our special sections. I’m super excited to see where my stories end up going!

That’s all for now!


Hello again!

The first week of school is officially over. We ended in the chilliest way possible, with our first snow day. But just because school was canceled, that didn’t mean that story brainstorming was.

This week I worked closely with my editor, Jeanne Abbott, on some story ideas for Boomtown. Boomtown is a magazine-style special section of the Missourian that focuses on how to live your best life over 50 in Columbia, and I am in charge of the public service section. This includes things like volunteering and other activities that lend a helping hand to the community.

Over half of my ideas were slashed right off of the bat, but they needed to go. Sometimes it’s hard not to go to the cliches or the first thoughts that pop in your head about whatever topic you’re working on. But that’s a part of the journalism process, refining your ideas from start to finish.

I’m dealing with some personal stuff this week as well, and have learned that work and life balance is important at all times of the semester. I have been working hard on my story topics, but have also been able to be communicative with my professors and editors about a sick family member who is close to the end of their life. I am thankful for my editors and professor being so understanding and willing to work with me during this uncertain and shaky time.

I just wrapped up contacting some sources for my story ideas and got a couple of great responses. When a story starts to take shape and you connect with a potential subject—that’s the stuff right there. It’s like drinking a large coffee with eight shots of espresso in it, it really gets my brain going. I find myself constantly saying thank you to the wonderful people of Columbia for being so responsive (even on a weekend).

I’m really excited to see where these stories go and look forward to reporting back with an update later this week!

Until we meet again!


Good evening internet.

The first of my final days of junior year is almost over. I polished off the evening with a hot meal enjoyed with friends and have now settled into my desk for a bit of homework. Yes, mom, they do give us homework on the first day.

One of the classes I am taking this semester is what’s known as J4450 – a.k.a. news reporting for the Columbia Missourian. Yes, I am back, and it is so weird being on the other side. But it’s also going to be fun, especially being on the community beat. It’s almost more of a magazine staff writer position, but more on that and all my future stories (eek) later.

A part of this class is to blog regularly about our experiences writing stories, thoughtful reflections on journalism, and more. So for the next sixteen weeks, watch out for those. They won’t be horribly long, I swear!

My first assignment is to give the world a little introduction, so if you don’t know me yet, then here’s a bit about myself and what I am doing for this course!

My name is Liz Goodwin and I am a junior photojournalism major from Dallas, Texas. This spring I will be a community reporter for the Columbia Missourian, which is located on Mizzou’s campus. Go tigers!

I have loved all things related to photography and writing since I was in elementary school . I still credit my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. McKay, for being my original mentor. She encouraged me to go for it, and I don’t think I could have ignored her inspiration even if I wanted to.

Some personal passions of mine are cooking, the outdoors, and anything related to storytelling. I love watching movies, reading books and articles, and listening to podcasts. I’d probably want to host my own podcast if I didn’t loathe the sound of my own voice so much. Why is it that listening to it on a recording can sound so different from what I hear in real life? Is that an unbreakable curse that 99% of the population faces?

So, I choose to tell stories in a different way: through words and photographs. I am excited to see where this semester takes me and glad to be back in the newsroom.

Bye for now!



Sup blogosphere.

It’s 2020. It’s a new year, a new decade, and a fresh start for many of us. Personally, I am not looking for a blank slate, but to build on the life I built for myself in 2019.

I did a lot of cool things and experienced a ton of personal growth last year. I traveled across the country with the people I care about most, published my first big story at the Missourian while working as a staff photographer, and worked my butt off at an internship at D Magazine. As much fun (with some tears shed) that I had in my professional and personal life, I also prioritized myself and honoring my emotional state. I voiced my opinion more than ever, spoke up when I wanted something, and let myself feel things in their entirety, even the not so fun things. It made me a better-rounded person who was more capable of being open and caring for others.

Looking forward to this new year, I want to dive deeper into the trends I set in 2019. I don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions, but I do have a word that pretty much sums up my “2020 vision” (there it is baby!): nourish.

In order to grow, you need to nourish yourself. I plan on nourishing my new found love for different mediums, my desire for new experiences with people I love, and my body.

I’m aiming to transition to a plant-based diet (plant BASED people – ain’t no way a Texan is giving up queso and BBQ permanently) and haven’t eaten meat in a WHOPPING three days! Huge! I like the idea of a plant-based diet because it gives me the freedom to eat meat and dairy sometimes, just less. There’s no way I could go vegan, but I am interested in the health benefits of cutting down on animal product consumption and if that works for my body. I am even hoping to add a food photography section to my website because I LOVE food, and those who know me really know that. It deserves a presence here once I move into my house and have access to a kitchen!

I want to try new things and honor my desires, even if I am not good at them at first. My main thing with that is video. I discovered how much I liked it on spring break last year (that video is posted a few blog entries down) and I want to pursue it as a hobby. I often forget how much fun it is to be creative with my camera (and with my writing), and I don’t want to forget that. That’s what makes this whole thing fun, being able to do things on both sides.

I kind of started this whole “honoring my desires” trend off at the end of 2019 by chopping five inches off of my hair.

chippity chop

I have always wanted to go short but was too scared to do it. I guess hair and change don’t go together naturally for me. But I did it! And I have NO REGRETS at all. I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. 

And that’s the kind of energy I want in 2020! Going for it, full-sending it as the kids say. Because why not?




Hi all,

I am currently writing this holed up in my room as it snows relentlessly. This is the first big Missouri snow of the semester and I am not mentally prepared to have to bundle up in layers before heading outside.

If you can believe it, it was sixty degrees and sunny for most of the weekend. I had a little senior shoot with my good friend’s sister, and it felt good to be behind the lens again in a creative way. I told myself that year 21 would be the “year of the creative.” I guess I am working on it.

I just wanted to do a little photo dump. Please enjoy!


Hi friends,

It’s finally time for me to write about something I have been working on for the past two months. To those who are close to me, thank you for listening to me cry and worry about this story and how others would interpret it. I hope this blog post gives you a little insight to where my brain was at during the process of investigating this topic and how I had to do a little soul searching of my own.

Let’s talk about faith.

I was raised in the United Methodist Church since I was little. I always felt like it was the right fit for me based on how open and accepting the church was and I loved all of the staff and people I made close relationships with. My experience in my youth group really lead to me coming to terms with what I believed and how I saw the world.

Fast forwarding to Christmas break, I was back at my home church for the usual Sunday service with my parents. One of the pastors brought up an event called the General Conference 2019, where the topics of LGBTQ people and ministry would be voted on. I was very taken aback to hear those words spoken aloud in a worship space. In my experience, the topic of human sexuality is never explicitly discussed through sermons, the reason being that so many people believe different things.

After I got back to school and the conference began, I was frequently checking the hashtags and browsing the chatter about what was happening. I even hopped on the live stream to listen to people debate about where the denomination should go as far as including LGBTQ persons.

When the decision came out that the Traditional Plan was passed, I couldn’t shake a feeling that came over me. It was like a thousand pound weight sitting on my chest and it wouldn’t let me sleep. Shortly after 3:00 a.m., I was determined to write a story about it.

Something about telling stories through words and photos is so cathartic to me. Some people find it difficult to sit down and read through an entire news article or a full documentary, but I can’t tear myself away. I feel so attached to the subjects for just a few moments: I cry with them. Granted I cry at the Extra Gum commercials (you know the ones I’m talking about. If you don’t look them up), but there is something so raw about realizing the humanity of other people that just makes my tear ducts get a little over-excited. I feel like I know them for just a second, and that’s what I want other people to feel when they read or look at work of mine.

I probably sent over thirty emails and facebook messages to people in the Columbia, Missouri area to try and talk to them about the decision and what it meant to them. To everyone that reached back out to me, thank you for pushing through the undoubtable pain and confusion you were feeling at the time. Craig, Jen, Kimberly, Madi and Jacob, the entire congregation of Hallsville UMC, MUMC, and Community United Methodist, thank you for letting me into your lives and your sanctuaries for a short moment. Your voices will hopefully echo across many towns, and be heard by people who are also struggling with this decision.

I want to say that I still love the Methodist church despite this decision made at the General Conference. I feel lucky to be a member of a faith where people can have different opinions.

Writing this article wasn’t about how I feel about the decision, but about how the decision was affecting the community I live in. There is real pain here. I think it’s easy for so many people to dismiss this issue as something that doesn’t affect them. But once you know someone that feels less than because of this, it breaks your heart in half. I don’t know a lot of people in the LGBTQ community, especially older adults. But as I got to know Kimberly and Jen it struck me how insanely great parents they were. They love their kids, they love each other, they want to make people happy and do good for the world. They remind me of my parents or my grandparents. And after talking to them about some of the struggles they have endured both internally and externally, I cried in my car on the way home.

There is also real hope here. Madi Denton and many of the other pastors I spoke to are gifted with patience and understanding, and promoting honest and open discussion over something I know Christians struggle with every day. This story goes way beyond my article and is something I know many congregations are grappling with.

My hope is that Methodism can overcome this. I know the God that I believe in is one that ultimately believes in love, and that love is for everyone. This story is not to shame anyone or present the Christian faith in a negative light. The Methodist church does amazing things for this world, maybe just as a denomination it has a little more soul searching as to what Jesus and John Wesley would tell them to do.

This entire experience is a prime example of what makes me feel fulfilled. I genuinely connected with my sources and gave people a way to share their voices with the rest of the community, and that’s what journalism is all about at the end of the day.

To close this absurdly long blog post I want to include a quote that I read somewhere in the literal hundreds of tweets I read about this decision.

“I would rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude.”

Read my story here. A special thank you to Jeanne Abbott and Brian Kratzer, as well as my hero Liv Paggiarino for spending hours helping me edit this story.

That’s all for now!


When being tired and overwhelmed becomes your normal state of being, that’s your body telling you to slow down.

I had been experiencing that for the past couple of weeks. Meetings and midterms and long-term stories (more on this later, very exciting and scary) were forming a small mountain in my planner, and I just didn’t know where I was going to fit it all in. I felt a little lump in my stomach forming as I planned out my days and definitely had a few stress cries.

Thank you to whoever plans Mizzou’s break schedule, because having a week off after an extremely intense school schedule was the greatest gift ever.

I went to Kiawah, South Carolina with my group of girl friends for a week and made this video (video? what? a new medium?), so watch it if you’d like. It is definitely a little cheesy but I had a ton of fun making it. I can’t wait to share my upcoming blog post about a long-term story I am working on that should be published soon, so stay tuned for that!


Everyone has someone they turn to when they’re in a tough spot. For me, that’s my dad.

My dad is nothing short of a hero and I am so fortunate to have a father figure that is my number one fan. Over the last twenty years he has also learned to be the best source of comfort to my restless and self-doubting soul. He always tells me the same thing when I believe I am miserably failing at my goals – “be a sponge.”

I am privileged enough to go to one of the best journalism schools in the world with thousands of talented students just as hungry for success as I am. While being surrounded by equally motivated peers is inspiring, it also puts a TON of pressure on you to be the best – all the time.

This statement obviously extends far beyond journalism and into just about every facet of life. But I think this constant standard of perfection can distract from the true purpose of college – to learn. A huge part of being a student or working your way through anything is making mistakes and learning from them. Absorbing those lessons and keeping them with you will make you a better photographer, writer, and human!

I lose sight of this all the time and just tend to get down on myself when I know I did a shoot that wasn’t my best, and my editors tell me they know I can do better. My habitually negative brain says “Why did you do that? Maybe you aren’t good enough to make it out there in the real world.”

Here’s a good example of this from Sunday. I was on shift at the Missourian (which is the hardest yet most amazing experience I have ever had so far), and I was having an off day. We have been experiencing some crazy winter weather up here in CoMo and I was “feature hunting”, aka exploring the city looking for good scenes to photograph. I saw the moments but the shots just weren’t as good as I had hoped, I needed to explore different angles, etc. My editors told me the shots were close, but not all the way there. I left for my final assignment, photographing a roller derby team in near by Hallsville, feeling discouraged.

When I showed up at the warehouse they practiced in, I was focused on working my angles and exploring that extra step to get the most visually interesting frame. I started out a little timid, but by the end I was having lively conversations with the members of the team and sprawling myself all over the floor to get that money shot. I came back with horribly dirty jeans and a really satisfied feeling – I had absorbed my failure from earlier shoots and turned it into something good. I was “sponge-ing”.

You will fail. I have failed so many times at so many things. But it will make you into a better shooter, better writer, better friend and better person. I know my dad is right when he says the best thing you can do is soak in everything happening around you, every lecture, every experience. The path that waits before you can only be navigated by trial and error, so let the error happen and try and appreciate it even when it hurts. Maybe we should listen to the successful people we look up to when they say failure is the first step to success.

(Thanks, dad.)



WOAH. It has been a long time since I last blogged. But I am happy to say this year I will be back to some (semi) regularly scheduled programming.

The last semester has been, well, amazing and rough. I was taking challenging courses, getting used to living in my sorority house, and busy trying to figure my life out. So I told myself, “I don’t have time to write or focus on creativity. That comes second in my life, I am just too busy with more important things.”

Looking back on this I kind of want to slap myself. We live in a society that preaches self-care and I am a huge believer in that. But it’s not just about remembering to wash your face and eat your vegetables, it’s taking care of your soul as well. Being creative is a big part of me and I am going to try and prioritize caring about that part of me more. More photos, more blog posts, more adventures.

With all this being said, I will be shooting much more this semester since I will be on staff at the Columbia Missourian which I am PUMPED about. I am hoping that once I get back into my photo-mode I will be addicted and inspired again. I’ve definitely experienced “photographers block” these past few months, so I am looking forward to breaking out of that funk.

Life update = over. Now I would like to share a story I wrote in my news writing class that I am really proud of. Happy reading!


See and Be Seen: Representation in Columbia’s Film Community

Nathan Wright works tirelessly to turn his stories of personal turmoil into artistic triumphs.

Wright is a local African American film maker who is set to graduate from MU next week. Since receiving his first camera for Christmas during his junior year, he has fallen in love with making movies. He wants to make it big but needs the channel to get there.

Although recent cultural movements have put a spotlight on the inequalities in film present for women and people of color, there are still areas for improvement. A 2016 study by the University of Southern California found that only 28.3 percent of speaking characters across various media platforms were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Columbia, Missouri is seeking to close this gap.

Pulling others up

Wright is encouraged by the amount of local and national attention representation is receiving. He is happy to see shows such as Atlanta created by Donald Glover, who have all black writers and black lead characters, breaking into new cultural territory.

“From a kid’s perspective growing up, you never see yourself in the main story line. Black people are always the supporting character,” Wright said. “It seeps into them, what they see is what they believe.”

Looking towards his future, he is pursuing a career in narrative film making. His goal as a producer and director is to provide a helping hand to others.

“Stories I tell will vary, but I want to pull people up to the top if I get there,” Wright said. “That’s the only way for people of color to get up there, is with connections.”

Although Columbia is just a stop on his trek to a bigger film scene, he appreciates the growing community of creatives here.

“It’s great and it’s underestimated. The support you get from such a tight knit community is great,” Wright said.

He has experienced success here, working at SXSW film festival in Austin through a local connection and receiving the grand prize in a visual art and design exhibition for one of his films.

“It was really validating to go through all that pain and receive that,” Wright said.

Over, under, and around

Stacy Woelfel, a documentary film professor and enthusiast, is encouraged by the growing representation in the films showcased at the local film festival True/False.

Woelfel teaches at the MU School of Journalism and is the director of the Johnathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism. He is hooked on the storytelling ability of cinematic nonfiction and cultivates the same passion in his students. Outside of his work at MU, he screens films for True/False. He has seen a sharp uptick in film submissions by minorities and women in the last few years and believes representation in the arts is an essential factor in accurate storytelling.

In the classroom, Woelfel teaches his students to represent people accurately and to creatively tell true stories about themselves and others. Showing his students work by people with different levels of education and socioeconomic statuses is just one of the ways he lets all voices be heard.

“The white male has been the center of media, and documentary journalism has given people the ability to go over, under and around that,” Woelfel said. “True/False puts a lot of effort into making sure different channels are highlighted.”

Inclusion is for everyone

Ragtag Cinema in downtown Columbia works closely with True/False, the two of them together making up Ragtag Film Society. Ragtag aims to show films that inspire conversation and display new perspectives.

Barbie Banks is the managing film director of Ragtag Cinema.  She believes representation is essential in the world of film and is dedicated to providing channels of dialogue on how film institutions can be more inclusive.

“Film creates empathy towards a larger issue you may never experience,” Banks said.

After working in film for years, Banks has a clear picture on what challenges exist for equal representation in film. One of these challenges is getting major film institutions who traditionally show mainstream movies by white men to support female filmmakers and filmmakers of color.

“Most people who go to the movies are women, but they don’t see themselves represented on screen… And men need to want to see women on film,” Banks said. “They don’t have that pull, we need bigger film industries to commit to the idea of representation.”

A seat at the table

Another challenge the film industry faces is showing films for different types of people while also being financially stable.

“We want to program films people will come to, but we also want to program new and innovative movies as well,” Banks said.

Banks has found that Ragtag’s donations spike when they showcase more diverse films, which helps balance the books if they don’t draw as large of an audience with a particular type of film.

Banks says the root of inclusion is the decisions being made behind the scenes. Ragtag picks the films they show with everyone’s opinion in mind.

“Make sure people are at the table. I always remember this quote, if you’re not invited to the table, pull up a chair,” Banks said.

New Territory

            Donna Kozloskie has also taken notice of Columbia’s shift towards inclusion. She is the director of programming at Citizen Jane, an all-female film festival hosted at Stephens College every year. This past year they received submissions from 24 countries.

A New Jersey native, she feels privileged to have grown up in a diverse community. She was shocked to see that the diversity she loved and knew at home effectively disappeared once she began her career in the arts.

“They were basically invisible,” Kozloskie said.

She is determined to widen the lens in her role at Citizen Jane. Her main goal is to represent all types of women in all different genres.

Kozloskie is encouraged by streaming services such as Netflix that are telling more diverse stories and providing more opportunities for women to break into previously unexplored areas of film. She believes it’s a necessity to give women a chance in all film types from horror to drama and beyond.

“People need to be able to recognize themselves on screen and know what their opportunities are. It’s not just for rich white boys anymore,” Kozloskie said. “We want to represent as many genres as possible to these directors.”


In Conclusion – Skills Development J2150

Throughout this class we have had the opportunity to develop many skills in reporting through multimedia. I am most confident in the skills of photo editing, audio gathering, and conversing with subjects during interviews.

I have a lot of previous experience with photography, but am fairly new to journalistic photography. I developed a good sense of planning to get wide, medium, and tight shots and I was able to edit my photos for the five photo project and the real person photo assignment to where every photo had a solid storytelling composition and looked good with the rest of the work in the piece. My real person photo project is the one I am most proud of, because all of the colors flowed very well and they were all framed in a visually pleasing way.

During audio, I was apprehensive at first. The new equipment overwhelmed me and I was nervous about interviewing. But I was able to get clear audio and edit my interviews down into concise thoughts that all contributed to my Vidwest piece, and I was very proud of it. I do wish I had gathered more of scene setting nat sound and that my reporting had established a place, but I know now to do that in the future!

Finally, I grew in my abilities to interview people. At the beginning I felt like my interviews were very clinical, a get what I want and get out type of situation. But this class taught me to really listen to and engage with my subjects, and I made many connections with the people I met and it inspired me to hear their stories. I also could formulate new questions based off of their answers,. which was really useful in composing a good story that seemed connected and seamless.

Af far as skills I would like to improve on, I would love to be able to feel more comfortable with the mobile video kit. I liked my TV style video piece but I did feel uncomfortable getting so close for tight shots, and I feel like that element would have added to the piece. I also want to improve on finding unique stories. I felt like I only covered events that were occurring around town, which are still newsworthy, but I wish I had found an interesting subject to do a profile piece on. I love those kind of stories and want to be able to execute one myself one day. I also want to improve on my caption skills in my photos. On my real person assignment I felt like my captions were very surface level and I had some AP errors. I feel like sometimes I just put the bare minimum of information for captions, the who what when where. But if I could work on gathering fun facts or compelling quotes from the subject that would really enhance my photos.


Blog Four – Water in Context

Link to Video: https://nowthisnews.com/videos/news/why-is-cape-town-running-out-of-water

For this assignment, I analyzed a digital news video by NowThis over the water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa. This video used well beyond four sources to build the story, most notably aerial photographic data from NASA, information directly from the government of Cape Town over rainfall levels, data analyzed by academic scholars from the University of Cape Town, and demographic data from both the national government of South Africa and the local government of Cape Town. Additionally, they used other articles published by the New York Times and BBC.

The technical data provided by NASA and the rainfall levels provided by officials at the Cape Town Airport provided excellent ways to help the audience visualize how drastic the change in water levels has been over the last few years. This emphasizes how dire the situation is in Cape Town and how quickly time is running out for the government and its citizens to make a plan to provide enough water for people to drink and use for showering.

But, this water crisis is about much more than the forces of mother nature. The use of articles from other news publications and the political information provided by the national government of South Africa adds a deeper level of understanding of the politics behind providing relief and funding for Cape Town and its governing party. The potential implications and shifts in political power that could result in acknowledgement of the crisis play a huge role in how the situation is being handled.

This video used very reliable sources in all facets, choosing reliable and resourceful news publications to draw facts from. The combination of all of these sources paints a complete picture of the different factors playing into the scarcity of water in Cape Town in just a concise six minutes and thirty seconds, making the information both interesting and impactful. It was an extremely successful piece that kept the audience engaged while learning about such a dire situation.

Vidwest music video festival: recognition and celebration of an underrepresented artistic medium

The list of summer music and film festivals is nearly endless, but what about celebrations of music videos? Creatives are pushing to commend this shorter artistic medium, and it’s not in Hollywood or the Big Apple, but right here in Columbia, Missouri. 21-50’s Liz Goodwin reports on the first festival of its kind, Vidwest, and how this showcase is bringing artists together.




Filmmakers and musicians around the world have numerous opportunities to showcase their work, but now music videos are getting their shot. A new festival celebrating the arts debuted this weekend here in Columbia, with several stores and local shops hosting film screenings and live musical performances.


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Gabby Galarza works with other executives to host this unique event for the local community to come together and appreciate pieces from around the country. A Columbia native, she sees something special in a smaller creative community.


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Beyond viewing original works, this festival represents something greater for mid-Missouri. Melissa Lion Lewis, founder and director of Vidwest, hopes the event will help artists forge new connections.


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The benefits of a thriving artistic community are enormous. Aside from new musical pieces for the locals to enjoy, it promotes cultural awareness and recognition of other people’s lived experiences. Writer and director Juston Gaddis sees these effects firsthand.


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Creators and creatives alike now have a new channel to appreciate and collaborate on works in Columbia, with many more events just like it soon to come.

For 21-50, I’m Liz Goodwin.