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MU student writes for CNN Web site

Monday, March 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:00 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chris Blank is a freshman at MU — and he’s already working for CNN.

Since the sixth grade, Blank has steadily hiked the path toward his dream job as a newspaper war correspondent. He has gone from writer to editor and back again as he moved from school newspaper to newspaper.

This fall, Blank got the nod from CNN.com to be a student correspondent covering the presidential election for its new weekly feature, “Campus Vibe.”

“To see one of our best writers get that kind of experience on a national scale was pretty exciting,” said Tim Elfrink, editor-in-chief of MU’s student newspaper The Maneater. Elfrink suggested Blank last semester when CNN.com came calling in search of a writer.

Campus Vibe works with college newspapers around the country to offer student perspectives on the 2004 presidential race. Blank and a CNN.com editor collaborate to come up with story ideas. Blank’s first story appeared last month — about campus groups campaigning for presidential hopefuls in the primaries — and he will publish three more stories in the months leading to the Nov. 2 election. Blank’s stories and other news can be accessed at www.CNN.com.

Blank, 19, arrived in Columbia from Menominee Falls, Wis., last fall to study journalism and history. At The Maneater, Blank mostly covers politics in Jefferson City. “I think that any opportunity that someone has in order to write a story, no matter what level it’s on, gives you an opportunity just to improve your basic skills and gives you a chance to meet different people,” Blank said.

At a pre-primary press conference in Kansas City, Blank was given the opportunity to ask the last question, privately, of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

“That was something I’ll remember for a long time,” Blank said.


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