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Community service award entry Missouri Press Association 2013

A 100 Ages party for the community

One of the goals of a news organization is to help people feel more connected to each other and therefore to their communities. The Missourian undertook a huge multimedia project last year, interviewing community members of each age, 1 to 100, on video. (The project can be found at We got tremendous feedback from readers about the project, and we wanted to invite our 100+ celebrities and readers to celebrate their community together. We wanted people to connect in person, not just remotely through the consumption of the stories. So we threw a party. We personally invited all the interview subjects by phone or email. Forty-four of them were able to attend. Many others sent their regrets. We heard back with positive interest from the majority of them. (One needed a ride to the party, so we gave her one.)

Two of the 100 Ages interview subjects pose with the decade representing people in their 20s. interview subjects you met and take a picture with someone born in the decade before you. Partygoers who turned in a completed bingo card were entered in drawing, and people across age ranges participated. Set up stations around the room with information about how to be involved with the Columbia Missourian. That included tables dedicated to sharing story ideas, contributing your own story and learning about subscriptions. Collected donations for a community nonprofit project related to photography (the PhotoVoice project at Central Missouri Community Action, which invites teenagers to document their lives ). Offered two activities to get kids involved (a photo scavenger hunt with disposable cameras and a coloring page themed around the number 100). Joy Mayer, for the Columbia Missourian community outreach team

We also invited readers, and we estimate a total attendance at the party of about 200. A favorite restaurant of longtime Columbians, Jacks Gourmet, donated the space, and the newspaper paid for appetizers. We set up 10 stations around the restaurant, with computers showing each decades videos. We also displayed still portraits of each of the subjects, and we noticed several of them taking a picture next to their decade. We also wanted to invite interaction with the journalism, but more importantly between partygoers. To accomplish that, we: Created a bingo card (see attachment) inviting people to complete a row or column of the activities listed. They were things like: meet the photojournalists behind the project, tally how many