Think visually

People who make a pretty good living telling reporters how to write their stories in ways that do a better job of encouraging listeners to listen sometimes tell us to “think visually.” For radio people, that means using words to create an image in the mind of the listener.

But sometimes we get stories or news releases in our newsroom that conjure mental images we have trouble passing on to our listeners although they do trigger some creative thinking that takes our minds off of covering the disaster du jour for a few minutes. .

Here’s one from Governor Nixon’s Communications Ministry:

Gov. Nixon at Cass County Fair for “virtual ground-breaking” of broadband project.

One Missourinet staffer immediately envisioned the governor with a “virtual shovel digging a virtual hole.” We wondered if the Cass County Fair also was going to hold an air-guitar contest for the governor after the event.

Also coming across our desk today is the story from the University of Missouri-Columbia that a visiting scholar will do research on creating meat without having cows or pigs or lambs. That’s right. The idea is to take animal cells and, as The Columbia Missourian reports “bathes (them) in a nutrient-rich substance where they would multiply and grow to resemble steak or other meat products.”

We and the folks at the Brownfield farm network in the other half of the room quickly conjured a future in which all of us could go to the local department store, buy a home chemistry kit, and go home and grow our own pork chops in the basement.

Interestingly, the fellow’s salary is being paid by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And that sets off another round of merry speculation in the newsroom. What if PETA adopts a position similar to some of our stronger pro-life groups positions on “cloning” that these animal cells actually are animals and raising them in laboratories for slaughter is no different from raising animals in feed lots for slaughter?

Would you like cheese with that laboratoryburger?

Just thinking visually.

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