Multimedia Musings

by Christopher J. Spurlock

Tag Archives: Science

Another ‘Crappy’ Story

I’ve run across some bad luck recently, and it involves the stories I’ve been covering. Somehow, each of my last two radio stories for KBIA radio have in some way involved…poop. Defecation. Excretory functions. CRAP.

My last story involved fish that ate algae and secreted it, which allowed scientists to harvest the algae and extract biofuel from it. Cool, but also disgusting.

In my most recent radio piece, I covered another Mizzou scientist doing some unique research that also involved feces. Keith Goyne, a professor in Mizzou’s School of Natural Resources, found a way to keep veterinary antibiotics out of drinking water.

You see, when farm animals eat food that contains antibiotics, most of the antibiotics in the food aren’t absorbed into their bodies. Instead, they excrete them. And when that animal manure is used for fertilizer, it seeps into the soil. And then when it rains, the antibiotics in the manure wash out and end up in streams, rivers, lakes, etc.

So Goyne is putting ‘buffer strips’ of strategically grown grass and/or plants around the farmland to keep those antibiotics from contaminating the drinking water. You can listen to my story about it below…

Click on the link to listen —> BUFFERS0216.mp3

In other news, this was officially my final story for the radio station, as I worked my last shift Wednesday. I’ll be moving on to the Columbia Missourian in a few weeks, so keep on the lookout for either a print story or some type of multimedia piece.

Thanks for reading!

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Bill Nye, Where Are You When I Need You?

This week was another “team story” week in reporting class, which means I was placed in a group with two of my fellow convergence journos and assigned a story. The story we pitched and were selected to cover was about a researcher here at Mizzou by the name of David Brune. He’s doing some really interesting research with algae and, with the help of some sea creatures, has figured out how to extract oil from the algae to make biofuel. Cool, no? The only problem was…I hate science.

I’ve always been a very right-brained guy, interested in music and art and words. And when it came to math and science, I wanted nothing to do with it. The Bill Nye videos were about the only things that could get me to understand and be interested in science. So as you can imagine, this was a difficult story for me to work on. Not only were the concepts and terms involved in the story complex, but we had to figure out a way to write our radio script in a way that the average person would understand…because in radio, you only get to hear it once. There’s no rereading like in newspaper, so if you don’t get it the first time, you’re screwed confused.

We worked really hard on the story, and I think the end result is something I can be proud of. It’s definitely an improvement over my first team story, so that’s encouraging. Below is the link to the audio story, as well as some pictures we took.


Click the link to listen! –> algaeasbiofuel.mp3