Two TV producers in two days

Yesterday a TV producer contacted me by email, saying he was looking to start a show about homicide victims’ loved ones “chasing after justice,” and asked if I could refer him to any loved ones. Today another TV producer emailed me asking if he could call, and so I gave him my number, and he called, and told me he wanted to start a show about recent-ish (within the past 10-15 years) unsolved disappearance/murder cases. It would be a form of reality television where the show would bring in an experienced PI to solve them.

These two shows may be one and the same. I’m not sure. In both cases I referred the producers elsewhere.

Anyway, when I was speaking to the producer on the phone today and he was making his pitch he said something like, “We aren’t talking about victims who were involved with drugs or prostitution or anything like that, we’re not doing those people.”

I bit back an inclination to snap at him. He is, after all, just the messenger.

But still…sigh.

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Article still stuck in editorial limbo, sigh

I emailed Jeremy, the Longreads reporter, to ask where my article was as I thought it would have been out by now. He had thought so too. This is what he said:

Hey Meaghan, good to hear from you! I’m still waiting for the editor to finish her first pass. (I’ve learned that if an editor says she’ll get back to me next week, she actually means in two to three weeks.) I still anticipate an August publication date though. I’m excited to see the piece go up—and nervous, of course, since I hope you’ll like it.

I’ll keep you posted once I know more. In fact, I’ll probably check in with the editor on Monday just to see how things are going on her end.

*muttergrumbles, champs bit*

An update on those reporters who came last month

I had written about how a reporter and photographer came to my house and spent seven hours there over two days, interviewing and filming me and taking pictures, for a future piece on the Charley Project.

Well, I thought I’d update y’all on that. I contacted the reporter to ask about the progress on the story and he said it will be coming out on Longreads, which specializes in long-form journalism. He has submitted a draft to his editor and predicts a late July/early August publication date. I know he’s spoken to least six other people besides me for this story.

I’m pretty excited about it.

Reporters gone

The reporters have left again. Yesterday they were there for over three hours and today it was over four hours. Yesterday one of them interviewed me while the other took still pics. Then I guess they decided they wanted to do a video interview with me too, so they came back today and did that.

Video is kind of slow. We had to rearrange my office a bit, and lock the cats in the bedroom — they kept wanting to come inside the office, and when we shut the office door they meowed pitifully and kept shoving their paws under the door. I’m pretty sure I need to get the guy next door a Meijer gift card or something because I had to ask him to stop mowing his lawn — the sound was bleeding into the audio — and he got pretty grumpy, as well as he might have.

They asked me a bunch of questions on video and then actually had me work on updates for the site and videoed me doing that and pretending they weren’t there.

After all that was done they said they wanted an “establishment shot” of the street outside (not actually showing the house) and wanted pics of me outside also. They asked if I was too tired and I said no. I thought: how long can it take? Well, it took much longer than I thought. First we had to find a nice spot and then they took a lot of pictures of me posing this way and that and looking in this direction and that direction and so on, then while walking back to the house we found ANOTHER nice spot and they took pictures of me there too.

These were very professional guys as far as I can tell. Not that I’ve ever been through this before. But they seem super cool. I really am looking forward to their results.

An important announcement

A month or so ago a freelance magazine writer contacted me and said he wished to do a big feature article about the Charley Project for a magazine. He writes for a number of well-known, very respectable publications. He lives in California, but would be in the Chicago area in June, and he would like to take a photographer down and swing by where I lived to interview me and take pictures.

Of course I said yes. I have since spoken to this reporter several times on the phone, and checked out his website and resume and stuff. In addition to speaking to me, he wanted to interview some Charley Project Irregulars and also my dad for some reason, so I provided him with contact info. Dad says they spoke for like an hour and a half and I guess he told the reporter my whole life story.

The reporter is arriving in a couple of hours. I’ve put on makeup and a nice shirt and tried my best to clean up my train wreck of an office. At least I’m finally awake today — I was so exhausted having got home from Poland that the last several days I’ve been asleep like 18 hours a day.

I’m not sure exactly what all he’ll ask but I’d like to walk him through how I update cases — normally I’d be writing updates right now but I’m waiting till he gets here so he can see how it’s done. This article is definitely going to be a go because he says the editors of multiple magazines have expressed an interest in publishing it.

Well, that was fun

Yeah, so I’m back from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where they held an event today to honor the missing children of Ohio. Although I showed up in an unofficial capacity only, I had a blast.

I mainly came cause Gina DeJesus, one of the Cleveland kidnap survivors, was speaking. The event was at the Messiah Lutheran Church. I showed up slightly late and had to sit in the back. There were several speakers before Gina, and I spent some time trying to figure out which one of the people sitting in the audience was her. It was fairly easy because half or more of the attendees were black, and most of the rest were white. I zeroed in on two brown-skinned women in the front but couldn’t figure out which one was Gina. They turned out to be Gina and her older sister Myra.

My view from the back of the church; Gina is on the right and Myra is on the left.
My view from the back of the church during the sisters’ speeches; Gina is on the right and Myra is on the left.

Anyway, Gina read a speech off several sheets of paper about how it was important to pay attention to missing persons bulletins, and it was important to pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your neighborhood and so on because you never knew who might be hiding something. I mean, people went inside Ariel Castro’s house and had no clue about the women held captive there. I think a lot of that is because the idea that your friend, neighbor or relative might have three kidnapped women locked in his basement is just something that would not occur to most people.

Myra spoke also, and talked about what life was like having a missing family member. One of the things she mentioned was how a man known to the family told her parents, reassuringly, something like “Don’t worry, they won’t find her dead.

That man was named Ariel Castro.

There was an intermission before a middle school choir showed up to sing a song. I went around talking to people — not Gina, I was not sure whether to approach her or not at that point — and handing out business cards. There were booths about various topics set up in the lobby and an adorable remote-controlled talking boat that went around telling people about boat safety. I told the boat about the time I nearly drowned in Lake Michigan at age five, failing to mention the fact that this near-tragedy did not involve a boat, just some poorly supervised beach time.

Me and the talking robot boat.
Me and the talking robot boat.
Gina (far right) with members of the anti human trafficking group Break Every Chain.
Gina (far right) with members of the anti human trafficking group Break Every Chain.

So after all that was over we had a balloon release in the parking lot. Fortunately the wind cooperated.

Just before the balloon release.
Just before the balloon release.
Post balloon release. Each one has a missing child's name attached.
Post balloon release. Each one has a missing child’s name attached.

Just before we all left, I decided to approach Gina after seeing some other people do so. We didn’t really talk but she consented to have her photo taken with me before we parted ways. I wish I had remembered to smile in the picture. It was one of those days where it was cloudy out (it rained later) but the light hurt your eyes anyway, and I was squinting so hard I forgot about smiling.

Gina DeJesus (right) and me.
Gina DeJesus (right) and me.

And then I went home.

Altogether it was a most profitable visit. I made some contacts and hope to return next  year.