On Tuesday January 21st, a Purdue student is suspected of bringing a knife and a gun to an electrical engineering lab, and killed a fellow teaching assistant.
21-year-old Andrew Boldt was described as a brilliant stand out student. In the newsroom Tuesday, we were of course aware of what was going on down in Indiana. It became OUR responsibility to cover the story when we learned his hometown, was West Bend, Wisconsin.
I am very proud our station decided traveling to Purdue was important. We could have picked up stories from our affiliate in Indianapolis, but I don't feel we would have truly grasped the impact his death.
It was clear early on that Andrew was a special kid, and his story deserved telling. He seemed to be a kid made the right choices in life and had such a bright future.
My news director called me Tuesday (while working on my story for the day) and informed me I would be heading out the next morning. Off we went.
I had a different view of "business trips" before actually being employed by someone. It seemed like an adventure to travel to new places on the companies dime. I can't speak for other professions, but when news bosses say "we're sending you to XYZ" it means long days, little sleep, lots of stress, and hard work.
Our first day in Indiana was a 15 hour day. We made the trip, captured enough video, and collected enough sound for 4 stories. (5,6,9,and 10).
We then went to sleep, and had another 10 hour day to turn stories for Thursday.
I am happy we went to campus, to truly grasp the impact of Andrew's death. No other Milwaukee station chose to do so. I believe it is a story worth telling.
We were the first station to speak to Andrew's professor who hired him as a teaching assistant.
We were the only station to get former governor, now Purdue President Mitch Daniels, touring the electrical engineering building for the first time.
Most importantly we were able to talk to students recovering from their emotions.
Some will return to class, virtually unaffected. Others, especially those who knew Andrew will be changed forever. I'm glad by covering this story I was able to learn so much about a great young man. Too bad it had to be this way.