Friday, November 30, 2007

Meeting 11/28

Here is a clip from this week. Thanks to Katie who put this together!

We start Monday!

Just a reminder we start our series Monday. You can watch the aired packages online along with behind the scenes stories from the crew. We will also have tons of web extras like slide shows and video extras. All on

We would like all comments to come here for the blog. I hope everyone can post their comments here...This way it will foster discussions....because that is part of this new form of investigative reporting..showing you the process and being in constant communication with you the viewer.

I will post our air schedules weekly. This first week we are introducing families.

All stories will air on the morning show first...but they might not be up on the web until after the 5pm showing.

December 3rd Monday 5pm Caring Families -Everhart
December 4th Tuesday 5pm Caring Families-Will
December 5th Wednesday 5pm Caring Families-Michael
December 6th Thursday 5pm Caring Families-Jeremy
December 7th Friday 5pm Caring Families-Adam

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The crew talks

Here is a preview from the crew about our up coming series. Thanks to Meredith for putting this together!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hi! I'm New to This Blog!

Hello! My name is Maureen, and I appreciate the invitation to participate in this blog. I'm 36, and I have been recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). I have a Ph.D. in health education, so I'm excited to be involved in a project which will educate people about autism spectrum disorders. There is not much information or support for adults with an ASD, so the more we can educate this underserved population, the better!

I was always "a little different" as a kid. I started to read my first words at 2 1/2 years, but socially and emotionally, I was a bit delayed. It's amazing to get a diagnosis where everything is finally starting to make sense. I call the diagnosis a blessing and a curse. A blessing because as I mentioned, I no longer feel the need to blame myself for not being a "normal" 36-year-old woman (I know I've done everything I can do). It is a curse because other than the anticonvulsants I have been prescribed, I am confused about what I should do with my life. My current job as an instructor is extremely difficult because I am so sensitive to the lights and sounds of the room. But as I learn more about the reality of having an ASD, I also realize how much I can help to educate people. I'll post again soon! Thanks for the invitation! Maureen :)

Our open Graphic

cool huh?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Reflection

For the past week, the production team for this series took a temporary hiatus from interviews, meetings and editing, but that does not mean our work had stopped.

The Thanksgiving holiday gave us the time to return to our own homes and reflect on the progress we have made with this series.

In addition to writing scripts and preparing the web page for this series, I spent a significant amount of time this holiday replaying the interviews from the past several weeks in my memory, piecing together the stories I've heard in order to find commonalities and differences.

My mind returns to Adam in Kansas and his mom's devotion to recovering him; Michael and his dad, Andy, in Missouri and their fight to get Michael the technology he needs to communicate; and, of course, Jeremy and his mom's struggle to find the proper diagnosis.

I spent the last several days sharing with my family and friends these unique stories. I was surprised and relieved to speak with members of my family, who I initially assumed would know little about autism, were, in fact, familiar with the vaccine debate and the continual increase of children diagnosed with autism.

The amount that my family already knew about the spectrum was eye-opening; I'm positive that this series is being aired at the perfect time - before the winter holidays, forcing people to discuss the issue among their own families, much like I did at my house this past Thanksgiving.

It seems that people not in the autism community are finally asking what the spectrum is and why is it so vast. I feel the public is ready to hear, so we, as journalists, are ready to share.

How to Make a Friend by Shannon Johnson

My son Wynn has autism. As a result, his social skills are stunted. Neverless, he still longs for friendship and interaction even though he rarely knows how to properly initiate conversation. When he was 7 or 8, he went through a phase where he would approach strangers with survey-type questions: "Excuse me, Sir. Are you married or are you happy?" or "Excuse me, Lady. Have you always been so old?" or, my personal favorite, "Excuse me, girl. How did you grow up to be a fat woman?" As you can imagine, he didn't make many friends for either one of us, and I spent alot of time apologizing and embarrassed (although his questions were actually quite relevent).

Then there was also the phase when he was totally fascinated with any man with facial hair. In his attempt to interact with his subject of interest, he approached each man in need of a shave with the phrase, "My mom really likes your beard." And then he would shove me and my glowing red face in the direction of his new acquaintence. Thanks to Wynn, I have flirted with a lot of five o'clock shadows in my time.....

Currently, at age 12, Wynn has become much more direct in his social initiations. He is methodical and to the point as he follows this simple two-step formula: first give compliment, then ask a short, personal question. More specifically, he bluntly says, "I like you. Why are you so weird?". No matter your age, color or size, he uses the same formula.."I like you. Why are you so weird?"....It is amazing how effective such an approach has proven to be. I have watched countless people be totally taken off guard and become completely real in just a matter of seconds.....Usually, the individual of interest laughs first and then proceeds to explain their particular "weirdness". It's humbling to be witness to such confessions but it is also heartwarming to see the walls come down and the bonding begin. And now, my son with autism has many, many friends. I think he may be on to something.

Life should be so simple.

Written 10/07

Will-First View

Here is a sneak peek for our bloggers about our shoot at the Miles. Thanks to Meredith for putting this together!

Will- Meredith

I am so glad to have gotten the opportunity to meet the Miles family and their 3 year old son Will. Watching Will run circles around the KOMU car just after we pulled in and set up some of our equipment showed me just how cute and fun he is.

I really enjoyed being able to observe Will’s occupational therapy, it was a great way for me to see how Will is able to communicate as well as some things that he enjoys doing such as puzzles. I have been on one other shoot with a family and I believe that the combination of the two have really started to open my eyes to what it is really like to be affected in some way by autism.

I felt that the interviews with Will’s parents, Tim and Dee, went extremely well. I loved being able to hear about what his parents hoped for Will years down the line and some of his therapies, as well as about their lives and how Will is such a big part of them. Tim Miles made a point that his son is not bad and they did not do anything wrong, he’s just different, just like some people are right handed and some are left.

As we were doing the interviews Will was occupied with other activities such as his dinner and games on the computer, although there were times that he would come into the living room to see the interview, just out of curiosity. Being able to see just how interested Will was about everything around him was very neat and I enjoyed the visit to his home very much.

I can’t wait to share more of Will and the Miles’ family story with you.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Series Graphics Example

Here is a sneak peek for our bloggers. Here is how the walls look for the intro and closings to our packages (stories). I am standing on the left side of the screen. This is the format we are using for the series...Here is an example...This is Michael's story.
Our opening is almost done. I will post it on here once we get it compressed....Thanks to Brad Hale. He is doing all....and I mean ALL of our graphics for the series.

Senator Champion

I am glad we got Senator Champion on board with our series. While the 6 hour trip was long, it's beneficial we have her for our stories. She pushed Missouri's mercury bill into law. Missouri is one of the few states that has a mercury law. We wanted a political perspective for the series.

Ryan was our photog for the shoot. Meredith and Jessica came along for our blog and web content. Meredith setup the interview.

One of the most compelling comments Champion gave us is the reason behind the law. She says there is enough reason to be concerned about the safety of mercury in vaccines. While the law does have an emergency clause, Champion says this is a way to move forward.

Senator Champion Pictures

YouTube video of the day

Got a video? Email me the link-

Thanksgiving Break=edit bay

I spent the entire week getting the families we are featuring done. I have their basic stories scripted...3 are edited. I wanted to get them all edited this week, but I rather take my time and do it right. The three that I have done, if I say so...look really good.

I have script approved about 5 stories this week from the research assistants. Everything is coming along...Slowly but surely... We are all very anxious to air.
I shot the walls last night (intro and tags) for the families....I am shooting walls in parts. This way, I don't shoot 23 shots at once. Last night, I got ten done. We started shooting at 1am and finished around 3. I was at the station till 7 this morning working on things. The graphics for the series look amazing.....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dr. Miles--Robert

After Ashley interviewed Dr. Miles in the summer of 2007, the flood of emails she received is what started this whole series. Getting an interview with Dr. Miles was difficult but it was also imperative to the series, so we headed over to the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodeveopmental Disorders here in Columbia, where she works.

When Dr. Miles was ready for us, we followed her back to her office where we set up for the interview. We talked to Dr. Miles about what the Thompson Center offers, and numerous studies, including one she did, among other things.

After we finished speaking to Dr. Miles, we shot some footage of her working in her office and then some footage of the Thompson Center. When we were done there, we drove back to the newsroom at KOMU.

The series starts soon, I can't wait for you all to see it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Really! I wounder.

I know how this man feels not only can we see the pain in his face but the pain in his heart.I too have a young child w/an illness.Not only are we not equip to deal w/such a thing that hits hard and sleep is the only rest from the unbelievable.But as people there is no where to turn for ourselves except inword as the life we once lived falls around us without pause.Our minds spin.
and in time the spinning stops we find we have lost our minds.Not even relizing the real storm has yet to hit.My son is seven now and we have came a long way as well he.I can see the sun will shine again and in time I will be able to get my home and myself back the beauity we once had.It's just going to take time and energy.What I am wondering is will we ever cry about the pain?I mean really.
Or will lifes getting better take the place of the tears we really had no time to express?And is crying really that important?Are we as people stronger then we think we are?And with hard work and determanation are we able to over come hurt/Or is it going to be a thing we will someday have to deal with? Is there going to be another storm?This time within ourselves!

Series Promo

Here is a sneak peek for our bloggers...This is promoting our entire series....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Senator Champion-Meredith

On Tuesday we traveled to Springfield, Missouri to interview Senator Norma Champion about mercury laws relating to vaccines in the state of Missouri.

As a part of the investigative portion of this series reporting on the vaccine debate; It's important for us to have a legislator talking about why mercury laws have been passed. Senator Champion takes the political approach to the issue. She says she doesn't pick a side to support whether vaccines cause autism.... but says she is an advocate for the children and their safety.

During our interview she stressed that there is still much research to be done, but in the meantime there is enough concern to eliminate the mercury from vaccines for the safety of Missouri's children in the future. Senator Champion was very good at articulating the reason for the mercury law in Missouri. She wants to be cautious until further research is done.

Not to slip into the gutter w/getting hateful

This world is made up of people that can turn a good thing bad and I am sure Ashley started this investagion with the best of heart.Myself, I wish things would change for the better so later people w/any disability would be able to live a life in a clear light.Meaning others leanding a supportive hand.Frist we need to understand ourselves and our intentions with what we put out there for others to see.I want to apologize to Ashley for slipping into the gutter w/the way I answered a comment left about a video. To Ashley and the rest of those that support this helpful and much needed investagion. showing kindness to all afected by this illness. please over look my raw feelings that from time to time get in the way. Thank you for all you do and for all you are doing..

What a hateful thing to say/comment

Self pity.It has been called by you.You are the person w/this thinking I warn my children to stay away from.As harmful as drugs, poision to the mind. Not kindness but a small put down.As if you are talking to a dog you pushed in the back yard and forget to feed.Again what a small mind.

Senator Champion First View

This is our first view from Senator Champion. Thanks to Jessica for doing this!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Video of the day Nov,14.What a Small mind!

Not a thank you video to the person that takes care of her child while she is able to study for hours and carry on her life. Insted a video of herself and how she thinks, other mothers should wish we were her. As well I'am sure she watches that video and feels no shame about how she has came across to others that have no help babysitting,others that now live a much smaller income,others that have no time to cry over the hurt.others that to make ends meet now work 12/16 hours at a time go home for 8 and do it again.She feels for no one and has little respect for others over now we should have seen a thank you video from her!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dr. Miles

We had our shoot with Dr. Miles at the Thompson Center in Columbia. We will have blogs, first view video, and more pictures within the next few days.

Senator Champion

We went to Springfield to talk with Senator Champion about Missouri's Mercury Law. In a few days we will have blogs, first view video, and more pictures.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pictures from Will's shoot

Meeting 11/14


We went to the Miles family on Thursday. This is our last family shoot. Will is three years old and has autism. He is such a cute boy. We went to Will's house and got video and pictures of a therapy session. I think this will add a lot to our series, because we have not attended a session yet. There is a separate room in the house for Will's therapy.

The Miles are a local family here in Columbia, MO. Tim Miles, Will's Dad has blogged on here about Will. It was neat to talk to a family that has been watching this series unfold.

Will is the center of Tim and Dee's world. Dee and Tim are beyond dedicated for their son's needs. The house is setup to accommodate Will to help him improve developments.

The most compelling part of the shoot is when I was interviewing Tim. He told me he hopes someday he can hear Will tell his Mom he loves her. I can't wait to share their story with you in just a few weeks!

YouTube video of the day

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Will Shoot

Here are some pictures from our shoot. We will have blogs, video, and more pictures up within the next few days....