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Behind the Stories

Often when researching a beat, a reporter finds stories behind the stories. On this page, reporters will blog about the other important, relevant facts that have been left out of the published final product.

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1. Faces of Unemployment - April 10, 2009

The idea for the Faces of Unemployment series came about when we realized we were hearing a lot about unemployment numbers, but we weren’t actually hearing much from the unemployed. I originally wanted to wait with people as they collected their unemployment checks, but the convenience of direct deposit lured people away from actually waiting in line. That’s when I found the Missouri Career Center, which is run through the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.

The Columbia Career Center, which helps umemployed workers find jobs, is located inside a Resource Center off Vandiver Drive. During the two hours I spent talking with people inside the center, the lobby was never empty. Sometimes 15 people waited around large, circular tables, sometimes four people spread out around the lobby. But I was never alone.

Most people waited to check in with counselors, a meeting they have at least once a month. Other people worked at computers that surrounded the lobby, getting instructions from center employees on how to write cover letters and resumes. A binder full of jobs sat in the middle of one round table with dozens of job listings, most of which required or recommended a bachelor’s degree.

Wes Winberry was the first person I spoke to that Thursday afternoon. I was surprised at his continued optimism and resilience as he worked to find a job and avoid more financial troubles. Keep watching for more stories in this series.

~Courtney Flatt, KBIA News

2. Another Day at the Career Center - May 15, 2009

On my second trip to the Columbia Career Center, I met a woman as I was interviewing Bob Hine, whose story you can hear on this blog. The woman did not want to be interviewed, nor did she want to be recorded.

But after she finished meeting with a counselor at the center, she walked up to me and poured out her story before dashing to the door.

As a woman in her 50s, she had been let go from her job as a clerical worker and had been searching for another job for months. Later that afternoon she had an interview at a fast food chain, but she was worried about how that would work out because of her age.

She said she and her husband were keeping strong through their faith. That is one thing that I’ve noticed talking to people looking for work. Most everyone who shares their stories–no matter how they talk to me–is staying positive during hard times.

Look for more stories this summer.

~Courtney Flatt, KBIA News


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