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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: '48 hours of football' a fall portrait of Columbia

By Greg Bowers
October 28, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

I knew that it probably wouldn’t work.

After all, the idea was the easy part.

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Weekends in Columbia, in the fall, are about football.

With high school football on Friday nights, Missouri football on Saturdays, youth football on Sunday mornings and NFL later that afternoon,  football consumes our time, our money and our attention.

In many ways, it is Columbia.

So the idea was to send more than 30 reporters and photographers armed with notebooks, cameras and video recorders, out around Columbia throughout a football weekend. Then we’d ask them to enter into a two-step process.

First, send back “As it happens” reports from their stations that we could put online quickly.

Second, write and produce more thoughtful pieces that we could place online later and also put in the print edition of the Missourian. Put together, the dispatches would provide a picture of the community on a football weekend.

The idea was the easy part.  I was pretty sure that the project, with so many working parts, wouldn’t pan out.

Something, maybe more than one thing, would fail. Not enough stories would come in. The stories, when put together, would be spotty. We could have technological problems.

The students disagreed.

Last weekend was the first step.  The dispatches flooded in. Frank Russell, Tony Schick and I spent large parts of the weekend catching them and pushing them online.

Then, this week, the larger pieces came in. And with some more time, videos were polished and slideshows were tweaked.

Beginning Tuesday, the stories began piling up. There was reading to do, videos to watch, photos to choose, plans to be made. Print designer Rachel Schallom and web designer Sarah Morris wanted to get started.

They were pumped.

Me? I wasn’t as certain. But by now my pessimism had become the team joke.

Step Two was unveiled online  and in the print edition of the Missourian on Friday.

Please check it out.

To everyone who worked on the project, I have two things to say.

First, nice job.

And one more thing ...

I was wrong.

Greg Bowers is the sports editor of the Columbia Missourian.