Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Thoughts On Journalism

Journalism. Defined as the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media, the public press, or an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium, by Merriam-Webster. 

I would have never guessed in a thousand years that I would be a part of a newspaper staff, or even interested in journalism whatsoever. 

When I was in high school I began writing in a word document whenever I had something on my mind. It was my own personal computer journal. I would write about everything and anything that was going on in my life. It was my "safe place" where I could talk about anything and no one would judge me. I used to try to write a book about this boy I met before I went to high school named Jake Adams. He had a "Lifetime Movie" sort of life, full of drama and I used to want to write a book about my experiences with him as a friend. I got to page 2 and I was done. I was bored of writing about the same topic in such depth; I didn't like only having one subject, one person to write about. I needed to have numerous things to talk about, so I just continued to journal on a regular basis. I decided that writing about one subject wasn't my thing, writing about numerous subjects and life experiences was. 

So I continued writing until college, but when I got to school I started writing less and less. Only writing when I was bored or had something very interesting happen to me that I never wanted to forget. 

I have over 80 pages of text about my life; they are full of secrets, dreams and aspirations. They are about me. 

When I learned I had to take newspaper as part of my major, I looked at it as a learning experience. I thought I would be able to have my own column where I could help other people with their life experiences because that is what I have always enjoyed doing, but I was soon disappointed. I would have to write about something every two weeks that I wasn't necessarily interested in. I was not excited about this at first, but once I got my first story topic I became more intrigued. I was going to broaden my mind by writing. I was going to learn about things I had never had much of an interest in and actually enjoy it. 

I wanted to enjoy it and also be good at it, so I enrolled in Advanced Reporting and Editing. It probably wasn't smart to get into the advanced class before taking the regular one, but I did it anyways. I was out of my element! I was so behind compared to some of my other classmates, so I had to adapt. Although it wasn't easy, by the end of the semester, I had more of a feel for what I was doing. I really felt like a journalist. 

The classes I've taken that include journalism have made me respect journalist a lot more. It's not as easy as I thought to write a really great, intriguing story. It takes a lot of time and effort, as well as knowledge about journalism and grammar. 

My future in journalism probably won't go past college, but I plan on using everything I've learned over the next two years of school. I hope to one day get my own "Ask Alice" column in the school newspaper and really do what I love; help others and hear personal stories. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Time To Upgrade's my job to make a website for a newspaper, and I need to make it innovative and exciting! I need to make it unlike other any other website...I need for it to appeal to all my readers. How am I going to do this? 

First, I am going to look through some of the most famous and "looked at" newspaper websites, including:,,,,,,,, and to see what catches my eye, and what makes me want to look away.  

So what caught my eye? What intrigued me? What looked new and hip? What were some common themes? 
One common theme was a BIG PICTURE in the middle of the screen of the "Breaking News". This look isn't necessarily bad, it's showing me what the most important thing, in their eyes, that is going on in the world. 
How would I put the "Breaking News" on my website? I would do it in the same way, with BIG BOLD lettering, but I would make sure to make it in a easy to read font, that was also interesting and eye catching. There are many fonts out there that are much more interesting than TIMES NEW ROMAN and if they are readable, I think they should be used. 

Also, with that "Breaking News" I would make sure it had a link posted on it where you could click to see photos along with a different link where you could read the full story. Making it more innovative then just having words to read.  

I would also use color coordination, like USA Today does. Each one of their tabs at the top of their website has a different color, News is blue, Sports is red, Life is purple, and so on making it easy to know what part of the paper you are looking at. 

To be honest, I would do pretty much what USA Today does all together. 
  • They have quick links on the left side of the page taking you to Sudoku and Crosswords and in the middle is all the most recent, most important news.  
  • Each story is in a block with a picture inside of it with the story title on the bottom of the photo and the name & color of what part of the paper it is under on the left upper corner. When you hover over the picture you get a small blurb about the story and who wrote it.  
  • They have a photo gallery at the bottom of the page with scroll options so you don't have to click on each individual photo to see what they look like larger  
  • Down the right side of the page the have "Right Now" news that is updated with other, interesting "new" news stories. Even though they're not "World Breaking News" they're still important stories that should be read 
My website would be different and stand apart from other area newspaper websites because even if I had the same news as the other sites, I would have it in a more colorful, aesthetically pleasing way that was innovative and hip.   

I would catch their eye, I would use a font they've never seen before, I would give them something new and fresh instead of your typical TIMES NEW ROMAN I would make them want to come back for more and make them want to see what each colored tab meant, and what stories were under each tab. I would make them want to comment on how easy it was to find the newest stories as well as the most important, "Breaking News" stories. I would give them what they were interested in & the stories that influenced them the most. 

I would make sure that there were lots of visuals and videos as well as well written stories, but if the story needs visuals to make it more clear and concise, I would make sure to have them. I would make a story as realistic and as "feeling like you were there" as I could.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wanna Hear a Secret? My Personal Experience

A personal experience that I want all my classmates to know…hmm…let me think about this so it doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt. Alright, how much do you guys want to know about me? Well, sorry, but this story might not interest you, but it was a very big turning point in my life. 

High school, sophomore year; I was just getting in the swing of things. I had made my core group of friends and was enjoying my classes for the most part. But the part of my classes I wasn’t enjoying was the grades I was receiving. C’s, D’s and an occasional F mocked my report card. Although that F was in French class which I already didn’t understand, I obviously didn’t want to get an F in it for goodness sakes! So I was starting to get worried, “my parents are going to be so pissed off when they see my report card.” That is pretty much all I could think about. I was dead. I studied so hard with my dad for all my tests, I did all my homework (for the most part) and I even had a math tutor. What was going on? Why did I suck at school so much? 

So one day my geometry teacher came up to me and asked me if I had been tested for ADD. I was dumbfounded that a teacher just came up to me and asked me something so personal and heartbreaking. Was something really wrong with my brain? Was this the reason that I was so prepared for a test and then when I finally took the test, I didn’t know a dang thing that was on it? 

So I went home and told my mom and dad what my nice teacher had told me that day. They weren’t too surprised (ouch that hurt to write that) because they had been noticing me not getting the grades that they thought I should have been earning.
So we made an appointment with a specialist who could test me for ADD.
I was one of those kids who kept a journal in school, make fun of me all you want, but I love to remember things, and this was my way of doing so. Here is an entry I put in after I took the test for ADD:

“Trying to raise the grades is something I have always tried to do, but it never works. My parents decided to see if there is a reason to why my grades aren’t so good, and there may be a possibility which is ADHD. I have a 52/100 which means that I have 52% ADD, which could be the reason why it is hard for me to focus and not do random things, and to be able to do better on tests. I don’t know what else to do other than study and try to stay focused but it’s hard for me to even do those two easy tasks.” 

After taking the test consisting of sitting on a computer and was told to click every time I saw a certain letter on the screen, my results came back with the obvious; I not only had ADD, I had ADHD. 

This was hard for me to grasp. I didn’t understand why I had yet another health problem. The other ones I have are for another time…maybe. But it just didn’t seem fair. Another pill to help me get through the day; just another pill to rely on to seem normal, I couldn’t believe I was one of “those kids” with a learning disorder. 

So I started taking my medication for ADHD, and let me tell you. The first day I took my medication, I was walking on air! I have never been high before or under the influence of any drug, but I am guessing that is what it feels like to be on them. I didn’t really know even more than before what was going on around me. I wasn’t hungry anymore, and I just wanted to be alone. 

Gladly, that didn’t last long. In another journal entry of mine I wrote:
“Speaking of school, we are getting our grades soon & I am quite nervous! I am going to make some guesses of what I have so far and when I get my grade card we will see how close I was to being correct. I hope my ADHD medication is working... =3.14 (highest GPA I would have ever gotten so far).”

 A 3.14 as the highest GPA I have ever received…now that’s sad to read. On my previous grade card, I had a whopping 1.9 GPA. Yes, you read that right. And what did that 1.9 GPA get me? It got my kicked off my high school golf team for a semester because I was on academic probation. That didn’t make my dad or me too happy. That GPA kept me from going to state that year. It was one of the most devastating things I had ever had to go through. 

Because of that 1.9 GPA and me feeling like my grades weren’t changing fast enough, I was worried that one day no college would ever want me because I wasn’t smart enough, or that I wouldn’t have the grades in general to even attend school. In another journal entry, I wrote about my college dreams. 

“My grades are starting to blemish in a way… I know that I at least got an 80% on the Geometry test, but French and English are the classes that I am very, very worried about. I know I need to do better to be able to play golf in college, but honestly the sad thing about this, is that I am trying. I really want to go to NC State, but we will have to see how this summer goes & see if any colleges want to even consider having me play for them.” 

Here’s a side note. My dad is really into golf and all during high school my dad didn’t think that any college would want me with the scores I was shooting. This only pushed me harder to get a college golf scholarship. 

So the day came where my grades came out, and thankfully, my medication was working and I raised my grades, tremendously. I had also found out that my school gave out help for finals for students with learning disabilities. All of the students who had these disabilities got to take all their finals in a separate room than everyone else where we got to take as long as we wanted on the final. This was a blessing! Even though I usually finished in the regular allotted time, it was so much less stressful and a huge relief.

By the end of high school, I had gone from a 1.9 GPA, to a 3.8 GPA. I ended up on the Dean’s Honor Roll and I had received a 24 on my ACT. I had gone from nothing, to something. I also got to go to my junior and senior golf state championships, where my team finished first and I finished in the top 10 both years.  With this, I got many college golf scholarship offers and was happy to have proven my dad wrong. 

I choose Ottawa University in a way because of my ADHD because I sometimes still struggle, and with the small class sizes I felt like it would be much easier for me to concentrate in class. This ended up being VERY TRUE! I ended my freshman year of college with a cumulative GPA above a 3.5, broke a school record with golf, and received my first 4.0 this last fall. Although this isn’t a hard thing for many people, this is one of the biggest accomplishments I have ever achieved. 

Although many people don’t understand why people should get special treatment because of a learning disability; they think that they are getting special treatment by taking their tests in separate rooms with X amount of time to take a test, they need to understand that if they were in the shoes of someone with a learning disability they wouldn’t be whining about it so much. 

It is a very hard thing to live with and I am very grateful that I have a family who actually cared enough to get me tested and to get me the medications I needed to get better.
Now enough sappy stuff; yes this was a very “traumatic” personal experience that I went through, but I got through it and it made me who I am today. 

So now that I finally got to blog about myself, you’re probably bored. So I apologize, but I didn’t grow up with an easy life and I like being able to relate with people who are afraid to tell their friends about problems like this, so if anyone wants to talk to me, just hit me up!

Thanks for listening guys!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

National News Story...Ban of Gays in the Boy Scouts of America

Who do people talk to, to find out more about the ban of gays in the Boy Scouts of America? I did some research to find out where different news mediums got their information and how they presented it. 

Beginning with the New York Times, they site the United States Supreme Court, which is a very reliable source when talking about an end to the national ban. They talk about the supporters along with scout leaders and the national Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board. Also, talking about a national poll that was released by Quinnipiac University, which I personally have never heard of, makes it harder for me to relate to. They also end with the quote “Correction: February 6, 2013; an earlier version of this article misstated the color of the uniform worn by Boy Scouts. It is tan, not green.” 

Then, the Los Angeles Times begin with the Scouts’ national board and an interview with an Eagle Scout. Then, they tossed in some talk about religion, which the New York Times did as well. But the Los Angeles times talked to an Austin-based conservative advocacy group called Texas Values; and then they continue to talk about people they have interviewed regarding the religion side of the situation. They mostly talked about religion and the bias of each religion in whole. 

Lastly, The Washington Post started out with comments from both sides of the debate, making bias seem less. They had a spokesperson from the Boy Scouts of America, and also the president of Texas Values, which was written about in the Los Angeles Times. They continue on with comments from President Obama, a mother of a Cub Scout who was ousted as a leader because she was lesbian, a Scoutmaster, the campaign director of Scouts for Equality, a male Scout Leader, an Eagle Scout and also Scout Leader, and lastly the associated director of Concerned Women of America. 

Boy Scouts Postpone Decision on Gays, Boy Scouts are expected to address gay ban, Reaction to the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to keep debating ban on gays. Are these young boys in the military? Is this the new “don’t ask, don’t tell” when these boys are just learning skills of responsible citizenship, character development, and through outdoor activities, work towards career orientated programs with community organizations? 

So decide for yourself...does it matter to you if you have a gay who is extremely educated on the outdoors and also has exceptional character and has learned extreme leadership skills...or can you not handle that?

Here are the web addresses of the news articles.