Ticks Vacation North Towards Warmer Climate

During my first week as a Boy Scout camp counselor at Camp Decorah, WI, I broke one of the most pivotal rules we teach. For over two hours I was hiding from scouts amongst raspberry bushes and other vegetation during an activity, but forgot to put on bug-spray. After going to the medical office and having a dozen ticks removed, a bulls-eye pattern soon appeared on my arm, but I luckily did not contract Lyme’s disease.

I could not imagine being allergic to meat, but reading that tick bites have recently been causing this for some people, makes me gracious that I never have had this happen to me. Dan Kraker’s two print and podcast stories made me fear losing the ability to eat red meat as one explains how the “alpha-gal” affects those bitten by the lone star tick, and another saying that warmer climates may have these ticks move further North.

As a student with interests in both print and audio journalism, I found reading his pieces intriguing in how they both tell the same stories, but different things are taken from both.

In the tick article, Kraker starts by describing the symptoms Suzanne was experiencing from the allergic reaction, but in audio story, it begins chronologically with her going to Aurora to pick mushrooms. Both versions of the story are similar, but the audience gets more quotes in the audio form because some of what was said wasn’t mandatory to have put into print.

It is emotional to hear how she must adapt to handling her new allergy and the audio version allows the listener to feel the sadness she expresses. That’s the benefit of not having to read it, because instead of imagining how she feels about this, we hear what it has been like changing her regular routine.

The story and information that was able to get across to the audience in the tick article was even stronger in the one on climate change. What I like most is that the listener can tell that two people worked on the story, because of how the majority of the audio is conversational, but informative. This would be lost when reading it and it would be almost impossible to know two people worked on it if not for their attribution.

Before the print article begins telling the different narratives on how different citizens across Minnesota have noticed climate changes over the years, it lists off many facts about the weather, and events where the state had severe storms. The podcast makes it more engaging by having the banter between the two authors make the facts sound more interesting. Having audio of Kraker on the scene near the Whole Foods was a great bonus to include as well.

Although their interviews with different Minnesotans are great inclusion that are strengthened more by the addition of charts, the audio makes the story more appealing because of the way it’s edited to make you hear every movement that they make while in the field. It transported me to the temperature box, Crooked Lake, and forest with the people they interviewed, and made me want to hear the opinions of other amateur environmentalists across the state.

The overall story is a great blend of environmental statistics and findings with people who are concerned about the outdoors because of the attachment they have for it. Even after so many scientist have presented evidence and support that climate change is a real thing, it was fitting to add farmers and outdoors-men into the story to be interviewed. It made the story more relatable to hear it from an everyman instead of someone in a lab coat who doesn’t even live in the area they study.

Both stories by Kraker are strong for giving the average Minnesotan a reason to read or listen to it because of how it makes his subjects all feel like neighbors even though they may live on opposite sides of the state. With the stories being able to relate back to outdoor stories, it should gravitate more to the audience to feel concern for the changes being observed. The stories definitely were a great reminder to me to not go into the woods without putting on bug-spray again!