Missouri State University
Sarah Teague

Sarah Teague

  • Major: Journalism
  • High School: Glendale
  • Hometown: Springfield, Mo.

Journalism in all forms

Whether it’s radio, photography or pandemic coverage, Sarah Teague has a story to tell.

Just don’t ask her to pick her favorite.

At The Standard – Missouri State’s student-run newspaper – she’s dug deep with articles on opioid overdoses and blood donation restrictions.

For radio, she loved profiling Drury University’s Stone Chapel and its organist.

While on a missionary trip with her family in West Africa for the 2018-19 school year, she expanded her storytelling with a photo series on evangelical worship (.pdf).

It was a big change.

“(Photography) was something I was afraid of when I came to college, and I would always tell people, ‘I'm not a photographer. Bring a photographer with me,’” Teague said. “When I went to Africa, I bought a Canon (camera) and I was like, ‘Get over it.’ Now, I love (photography).”

Those are just a few of the stories she’s done as a journalism major at Missouri State.

Teague served as editor-in-chief of The Standard for the 2019-20 school year. She applied for the position via Skype while living in Africa.

Teague also did three internships while in school.

She started a fourth internship at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch days after graduating from Missouri State. Her byline appeared on the front page in less than a week.

Teague has also shown she can adapt.

A big achievement

Teague accomplished something no previous editor-in-chief at The Standard could do.

She’s helped move the award-winning publication – which began in 1912 – to a digital-first format.

This means stories published online first instead of waiting for the Tuesday print edition. While print still pays the bills with its ad revenue, digital gives The Standard a daily presence.

“Digital-first is really based on immediacy. I think it’s a blessing,” Teague said. “Now, journalists can be so much more efficient and quicker at getting news to our audiences.”

Necessity brought on the digital-first move.

Changing the coverage model

In mid-March, due to coronavirus concerns, Missouri State halted in-person classes and all events. Many students moved back home.

What does the student newspaper cover when campus becomes a ghost town?

“We had to really push enterprise (story) pitching. Pitching that’s more based on data and things you can work on remotely,” she said. “Less, ‘I have to go to this event on Wednesday.’ We moved away from that and more into, ‘This is how the coronavirus is affecting people who have to work in fast food’ and things like that.”

“We’re covering the same things other local outlets are covering and going to school at the same time while living through a pandemic. 

Over the next two months, The Standard produced daily content for its audience.

Editors and reporters did stories on MSU and the Springfield community, just like the pros.

Interviews were done by Zoom, email or phone, instead of press conferences and face-to-face.

“It taught me how strong, mentally, our staff and editors are, and how strong I am,” Teague said. 

Doing journalism at MSU

If not for a journalism class she took her senior year of high school, Teague said she would have likely focused on an English degree.

She attended Glendale High School in Springfield and wanted to save money on her college education. MSU was an easy choice.

Teague credited several faculty in the media, journalism and film department for helping her learn journalism’s craft.

Faculty like Jack Dimond and Dr. Mary Jane Pardue offered support and advice.

Others, like Leonard Horton and Dr. Andy Cline, showed her the dynamics of broadcast- and documentary-style journalism.

Said Teague: “I'm really thankful for all of those people who helped me along the way.”