Meet Marissanne Lewis-Thompson, St. Louis Public Radio's newest newscaster
Only in her second week, Marissanne Lewis-Thompson is the newest addition to St. Louis Public Radio's news team. Marissanne has been working in broadcasting since she graduated from Mizzou in 2015, coming most recently from KRCU in Cape Girardeau. She describes herself as an avid and active learner, ready to absorb all she can at St. Louis Public Radio. You can hear her on the radio weekdays, between 3:04 and 6:36 p.m.
We sat down with Marissanne to learn more about her position and what it's like to work for STLPR.
What does it mean to be an Afternoon Newscaster?
My job is finding the stories that mean the most to my audience. I have a broad audience and that means an eclectic mix of stories and voices. It's cool to be the voice of people's news.
Tell me about your path to St. Louis Public Radio.
I came from KRCU in Cape Girardeau , with a newsroom of one — me. I worked with people at KBIA and met some people from STLPR at a news directors' meeting. It was interesting to see the dynamic of how different stations work. I saw "A Year in Ferguson" and I've always been interested in long form journalism. It opened up a broader conversation and gave contextual information to police brutality and race relations. Very few things have me like, "I need to watch that again." It featured so many voices.
Once you have chosen a story, what is the process for developing it? How does an idea become a story?
I start with data. I look at the data and then I say, "Why is that?" Then the key is finding a person that becomes the narrative who expresses the essence of an issue. It's important for me to give their story justice.
How do you find sources?
My source is key. The story needs to be an accurate reflection of what their story is.
Finding them depends on the story. Agriculture related stories are easier because there are organizations to contact. Sometimes I honestly just get lucky. I reach out to people that may be a good fit. Sometimes it's trial and error. I believe persistence pays off.
What would be your dream assignment? Is there a story you would really love to tell?
Every story is its own experience. The medium may be different. If I got to do a documentary would be- oh my god. That would be the dream. But I can't really say any story would be the dream story because stories I didn't expect I would have a strong interest in, I've gotten wrapped up in. I've learned things I didn't know.
What's next? What can members look forward to hearing from you in the coming months?
I'm still just trying to get adjusted. I want to explore some areas that aren't necessarily touched, like in St. Louis County. I'm looking into potentially St. Charles County. If people tell me 'don't do it,' I have to do it now. I'm very curious to understand the dynamic that is East St. Louis.
What is your favorite thing about working for St. Louis Public Radio?
There's so many people to learn from. I'm an active and avid learner. There's so many people with different skills and skill sets, experience lengths. Some people have been in the newspaper world and the radio world. Everyone has so much to offer. I can ask, "How can I approach this story better." I want to see how I can become a better journalist.
On to the fun questions! Who is your favorite NPR reporter?
Audie Cornish. She's the queen. I saw her in the flesh in Columbia one time. I should've skipped class but I didn't. I'm too much of a chicken to skip. I saw her coming out and the light hit her just perfectly and I was like, she's a queen! I love her voice. There's a sense of comfort when she delivers a story that's sincere.
Do you have a favorite person to follow on social media?
Maybe Kerry Washington. Her photos are great and she just doesn't care what people think of her.
Even though you're a recent transplant, what's your favorite spot in the city so far?
I'm still discovering. I really like the Forest Park area. I like to get lost in that place and find myself. It's nice to get away.
What is the last book you read?
Well I'm an avid Manga reader. This series is on hiatus, but Berserk is the best story development-wise.
My favorite book is probably Night by Elie Wiesel. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic too.
Do you have a favorite show?
"Criminal Minds." It's just a solid show.