The Student News Site of Flora High School

Flora High School Howler

The Student News Site of Flora High School

Flora High School Howler

The Student News Site of Flora High School

Flora High School Howler

Video, Publications students to tour KMOV studios with former student


By Courtney Petty

Field trips add to the education of students by providing a hands-on, interesting look into the topics they study.  Flora High School’s video and publications classes are planning take such a field trip to visit the KMOV television station in St. Louis.  The excursion is set to take place on March 19 and students will tour the station to learn about the different aspects of news reporting.

The trip, set up by Mrs. Massie and Mrs. Hemrich, is largely thanks to former FHS student Laura Hettiger. Hettiger, who substitute taught as well, followed her dream to become a reporter and traveled the country before landing back in the Midwest.

Hettiger grew up wanting to be a lawyer, she even studied political science. She soon realized that her calling was in another field.

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She explains, “I have always been a reporter by nature. When I was a little girl, my parents would take my sister and me shopping at St. Clair or in St. Louis. I hated it! I would do whatever I could to not try on clothes! Instead, I would make a fake microphone and interview people on what they were buying. Did they get a good deal? Did they eat at the food court? I was so nosey and I am still that way!”

She feels that God had much to do with her path, she tells, “I never said “I want to be a reporter.” God needed me to be a reporter. He gave me the skills to ask questions and to really listen to people. I just followed his plan by somehow always being at the right place at the right time.”

She studied print journalism at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and stayed there to obtain her Master’s in broadcast journalism

After school she worked in Charleston, South Carolina before taking a job in St. Louis.

The St. Louis job appealed to Hettiger because it’s a large market, ranking 21 out of 210.  She also says it’s her home market, having grown up watching St. Louis news.  She also wanted to be closer to her sister, who she knew would be getting engaged and wanted to be close for the wedding.

She shares the secret to getting a job that she learned in journalism school. That secret is  “to show up. Already, you beat everyone else who doesn’t. I walked into both of my stations and said, ‘I want to work here. Here is my resume. Can I talk to you about a job?’ Hey, it worked!!”

Hettiger feels that growing up in Flora has given her a different perspective on her stories.

She says, “Growing up in an area where the saying, “everybody knows everybody,” is the truth definitely taught me to care about everybody. I have worked with people from all walks of life—some from big cities, some from other countries—and I feel that I truly care about people. I cover a lot of crime and to me, the victim is someone’s brother. It is someone’s son. Someone’s grandson. These are people. They are not just names to me.”

Hettiger recalls one of her oddest stories of a thousand pound alligator found in a South Carolina lake that kids use for swimming.

She remembers her saddest story as the Willow Long case.

“Any time I cover a story where a child dies, it is sad. Any time I cover a story where someone dies who shouldn’t, it is sad.”

She related the town to Xenia, a town where it’s often assumed that everyone is good. The story deeply affected her and she thinks about the little girl often.

“On Christmas Eve, I got very worked up because I kept thinking that 7-year-old should be excited thinking that Santa will be bringing her a Barbie. Instead, her alleged killer was sitting in jail—the same jail her mother was sitting in after being arrested for drugs and obstructing a peace officer. The way an entire family imploded and the impact it has on that entire area is devastating.”

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