The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 28, 2012

Carol Stark: Documentary a record for future journalists

By Carol Stark

— I picked up the phone last week to discover a reporter from The Columbia Tribune on the other line.

I will never get used to being on the other side of an interview. She was working on a story about the documentary on The Joplin Globe called “Deadline in Disaster.”

The film has its first screening on Thursday at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, and several of us from the paper will be traveling to see it for the first time.

The reporter asked me what I thought when I learned that the Globe was going to be the subject of a documentary. I, quite possibly, was blunt in my reply.

“Considering it was just a few days after an EF-5 tornado had hit Joplin, and our town was in chaos, I believe I just told the film crew they would need to stay out of our way,” I told the reporter honestly.

And that was the way I felt when Scott Charton, who is co-producer of the documentary, along with Doug Crews of the Missouri Press Association, called me a few days after May 22. Charton is a former Associated Press reporter and someone I know well. Still, I wasn’t jumping up and down with enthusiasm initially when he suggested the idea.

We were in shock over the death of Bruce Baillie, a newsroom page designer. We were struggling to help 33 people at the Globe who had lost their homes and cars, and we were doing our very best to help our readers cope and make sense of the worst disaster to ever hit Joplin.

And that, of course, was the reason he wanted to produce the documentary.

Looking back, I remember asking Charton how the film would be used. When I learned that, among other things, it would be presented to journalism students as a teaching tool, I was all in.

So, that began the Globe’s very personal and emotional relationship with Charton and his directors, Beth Pike and Stephen Hudnell. They documented our work and they touched our hearts with theirs.

What I didn’t tell the Tribune reporter is just how torn we are about seeing it for the first time on Thursday. We have no doubt that it will bring May 22 back to life for all of us yet again.

Accurately documenting and remembering this historic event is important for Joplin and its future generations. A free documentary film screening will be held at 7 p.m. May 24 at the Central Christian Center, 410 S. Virginia Ave., in the former historic Fox Theatre.

We hope you will mark your calendars and join all the members of The Joplin Globe for this screening. We continue to need your support.

Carol Stark is editor of The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to her, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email