WJI 2017 Blog Day 10 PM: Building community through journalism

May 23, 2017

Stories and Coffee Connoisseurs

Kara Johnson

Moody Bible Institute 


There’s always a story no matter where you look. People, places, and things have a history and it becomes a part of what can inspire us or even change our world. It’s just a drink but there are so many ways coffee changes a person. It offers community, conversation, and new friends. I’ve always known this, but today it struck me. 

While I was hoping to do my video project on rescue dogs, the story didn’t work out. So, in the crazy turn of events, my partner and I decided to do our story on The Fruited Plain, a local coffee shop here in Sioux Center, Iowa. Even though my heart was set on petting dogs, looking back on the day, I’m thankful for our story.  We captured what kind of impact a local coffee shop with good coffee can make on a small town like Sioux Center. The owner had told us about how he had seen community come in and out of his shop, and how one cup of coffee or a smile can change the course of someone’s day. 

What a true statement that is. I must say, throughout the entire day, I learned that no matter how small the town, there is still room for impact. A coffee connoisseur had a vision and he went for it. While the startup may have been a hard process, in the end, it turned into something great. Being able to spark a conversation and learn about someone else's story was an experience I’ll never forget. It showed me that journalism can make a difference not only in the reader’s lives but in the journalists life as well. 

Capturing a story on video is powerful. I believe that the one we captured today was one that will stick with me as I continue down the path of journalism. We bonded with the owner as he spoke about his love for coffee and community, and then afterward, my partner and I stayed for more than an hour getting to know each other over a latte. It may seem silly and predictable coming from me, but it’s true that coffee brings people together. But it wasn’t just the coffee; it was the stories that were shared between a coffee connoisseur and two new friends getting to know each other.

We didn’t get to pet dogs or hang out with them, but instead, we got to do something that captured the heart and inspiration in small town Iowa. The Fruited Café isn’t just about the coffee or the homey atmosphere. It’s about bringing people together, building community, and if you stay long enough, you’ll learn a story or two.

For more information:

World Journalism Institute