Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of “Meet the Tribune,” a series of columns designed to help you get to know our staff better. The series will air on Sundays and Wednesdays until we fully make our way into the editorial office.
As sports broadcaster Jim Nantz says, “Hi friends”.
Although, if you provide our sports section, there is a very good chance that you know who they are.
I am coming to my one year anniversary since I moved to Columbia, and I have grown in so many ways since I moved from the West.
I barely recognize the writing I first put on paper in sophomore at Bradley University in 2013, which passed so many trials and tests through a degree from Northwestern University, covering an Olympics, moving to Mississippi and Utah and finally arriving in Missouri.
Here’s a little more about me:
Why did you dedicate yourself to journalism?
At first I wanted to become a sports broadcaster. The idea of talking about sports for fans on a large scale attracted me to the way I grew up listening to WBBM radio calling the Chicago Bears games with my dad on Sundays.
When I got to college, that desire vanished. Not out of lack of ambition, but because a friend of Bradley’s convinced me to write for the student newspaper, The Bradley Scout. I found it was more fun to write about sports than to talk about it. I liked choosing my words instead of inventing them on the fly.
This has led me to a career that has taken me across the country and abroad.
Columbia’s favorite thing?
I love a nice walk. It’s part of my writing process when I have a great story that I want to organize in my head.
Columbia is a perfect place for this.
I can go in any direction and have a coffee, which is the second most important part of my writing process. There’s a big chance the bartenders around town have had enough of me.
Favorite time at work?
I woke up at 6am on March 22 hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Dennis Gates was rumored to be the next men’s basketball head coach in Missouri, and a meeting of the Unified Messaging System Board of Trustees was scheduled for 7:00 am. It had to be approved by 8 a.m., or my Zoom interview with Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton (Gates’ former boss) couldn’t happen.
It all worked out. Gates became the next coach of the MU. Our staff covered it from every angle just as I had planned. I started my day at 6am and finished it at 6pm, ending the day at dinner with my visiting dad who was in town.
That was my favorite day. So far, this is it. We arrive at the second year.
Favorite story you’ve ever written?
This goes back to my last stop.
As a sports reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News in St. George, Utah, I would cover the annual IRONMAN triathlon that ran all day. In 2021 the race ended with a fatality. There were almost two.
I wrote about how Bruce Paddy died on the triathlon bike course, only to be revived by his running mates. I talked to those runners and told Paddy the story over the phone of how those runners administered CPR and found their heartbeat within minutes.
I will never forget the stunned silence. “What are you saying too?” he asked me.
That story was honored by Associated Press Sports Editors last spring.
Favorite pastime outside the office?
In another life, I am a chef.
Seriously, I told my mom I was going to be a cook when I was 10.
I still spend time throughout the week planning specific meals. I start on Tuesday, I find inspiration and by Sunday I buy the necessary ingredients. It’s a hobby that takes my attention away from everything else and puts it on dinner. After all, there is nothing worse than spoiling Sunday dinner.
Chris Kwiecinski is the sports editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune, which oversees sports coverage of the University of Missouri and Boone County. Follow him on Twitter @OchoK_ and contact him at [email protected] or 573-815-1857.