My first personal, emotional reaction to a news event

Hello, all. Welcome back. I posted on my blog approximately zero times over the duration of the summer. But school is back in session and in full swing! So you’ll get a weekly post from me once again. Possibly even more, if something sparks my fancy.

So I’m in my capstone class for journalism. Meaning I’m nearing the end of my college career which is terrifyingly exciting. I’ll continue The Questions Project , but before that gets going once again (I already have some people lined up, so yay!) I want to take a moment to do some reflecting.

Most people are aware of the incredibly tragic shooting of reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward during a live report Wednesday morning. It was horrifying, and the Internet has been collecting several articles commenting on the event ever since (such as this and this).

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A Happy Life Update

Friends, family, visitors, etc. –

You may (or may not) be familiar with a piece I worked quite hard on with two of my 4804 peers, Bell Johnson and Lauren Slome, last summer about sex offenders living too closely to schools in the Columbia, Mo., area.

Well, believe it or not, that piece can now claim the title of “award-winning.”

Yes, yes, that is correct! “Five sex offenders living illegally next to Columbia schools” won the Korva Coleman Excellence award for the online print division, which is sponsored by SPOT 127 and KJZZ 91.5 FM in Phoenix, Ariz., my place of birth, so it’s actually super fitting and makes for a great miniature narrative. The J-school even wrote a little thing about it.

sex offenders slide

I’m quite happy for my little attempt at investigative journalism. But mostly, I just wanted to acknowledge it. I’m so incredibly grateful to go to a school that gives me the opportunity to work on journalistic pieces such as this  (I’m looking at you, 4804). I mean, I did this for a class. I got a grade on this! I paid to do this!!! (jk, not actually, but, like… sort of… you know what I mean…). Really though, if I didn’t have professors that pushed me outside of my comfort zone (“Yes, Shelby, you have to be a reporter sometimes, you can’t always be a producer.”) and made me feel like I’m actually capable of doing more than just simply completing a bare-minimum project by 6 pm on deadline day, none of this would have happened. At all.

So, many thanks to SPOT 127, KJZZ, the J school, my professors, and 4804.

The emotional recap of studying abroad

Note: I wrote this while in a museum in France in December 2014, so it is not recent. 

This semester was romantic. Europe encompasses the word in every sense – the architecture, the landscape, the cities, the countryside, the mountains, the ocean, the fashion, the European men to swoon over, and the ones you long for back across the ocean.

This semester will forever remain in my mind as the “bubble semester.” It feels as if I’ve been in a happy bubble for the past three and a half months. Even when “the worst” seemed to happen, good normally came as a result. I’ve learned how to be a happier, more accepting human being (but I’ve still maintained my selective cynical side – have no fear).

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Thank you, Europe

Yes, yes, I know – I’ve been AWOL. MIA. Gone. Vanished – but really just awful at documenting my life. Since I’m sure you’re all pining for an Update on Shelby Mann’s Life: for those who don’t know, I’m not on my normal continent. I’m interning (and sort of studying) in Brussels for the semester. And I’m having lots of fun and never, ever want to come back. Farewell, U-S-of-A. It’s been nice living in you.

Since lots has happened, I will briefly describe my adventures and then eventually bombard this blog with pictures because pictures are worth a thousand words, yada, yada, yada.

Things that have happened:

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Something – Shelby Mann

Save/or is run by one (some?) of my friends, who are wonderful people, and I went out on a limb and decided to write something for them. Thom (his website) and Aaron (Thom’s bff/an editor for the website) were quite encouraging and only told me the 7 million horrible titles I came up with were “god-awful” and “mundane.” (They could’ve said a lot worse. Title generating is not my thing.) Very grateful for these grand individuals. May good things come to them and this website. But seriously, Save/or is a fantastic concept and there are some really, really good pieces on there.


A uniform of black marched down the street. Black dress, black tights, black shoes, black socks, black coat. Light brown hair and too-pale skin diverged from the sea of black. Grey eyes blended into the grey landscape of a city with seemingly never-ending rain; seemingly never-ending rain that accompanied seemingly never-ending fretful thoughts and a new desire for consuming copious amounts of vodka. She had stayed up all night listening to the sound of her heart, beating too quickly, as it traveled through fabric and bed springs to where her ear pressed down on the mattress. She had stayed up all night listening to and sorting through those never-ending thoughts that made her heart race and thud in her chest. The wind tugged at the hood that was protecting her face from the rain. She tugged in return, bringing the worries and anxiety back, her protective shield.

Lost imaginary fingertips…

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