Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Man gets 28 years for rape.

I don't even know if I'm supposed to be posting this or if anyone is going to read it. Oh well. I was reading the Columbus Dispatch and came across this story. The story is a basic story about a man getting convicted of rape. Happens all the time right? Well, considering the ages of the victims and suspect, I thought that there could be more written by the author. I was expecting a longer article that goes in depth and talks about their lives. Maybe that's just the approach I would have taken? 

The author also mentioned the judge talking about medical care in prison for prisoners that are above the age of 50 years old. I think it would have been interesting to understand what exactly takes place in the prison to make it more expensive. Once again, maybe it's just me but I would have made the story more interesting. Overall though I think that the author did a good job of telling the essential facts to the audience. What do you guys think?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Former Berea schools treasurer accused of bilking district out of more than $28,000


I decided to pick this article because it actually deals with the high school I attended (Berea High). I heard about this conflict earlier in the week from former classmates on social media and found the actual article while searching The Plain Dealer.

Berea City School District's former treasurer, Randal Scherf, has been accused of taking over $28,000 dollars from the district. He managed to do this by submitting fake documents of medical co-pays for reimbursements, as well as forging documents for his wife's reimbursements. The article also mentions that Scherf was formerly involved in a similar case with Fairborn School District. However, sources say he agreed to repay the district, avoiding any criminal charges that could have been filed against him.

I think this was a pretty decent article, although I feel like it was kind of confusing. I had to reread many parts to fully understand what was going on and who exactly the writer was referring to/talking about. What do you guys think? Did you like the format/way it was written? Do you find this article newsworthy?

Case Western Reserve team finds cure


Some scientists at Case Western Reserve University, a school located in Cleveland, Ohio, have been studying how to turn the skin cells of mice into types of brain cells. This is valuable because these cells, once converted, would be able to treat severe illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy.

They found out how to convert these cells, now their next step is to see whether or not it is possible to do with humans. The cells they are trying to replace are the cells that would help repair the myelin sheath. So far, the only cells that the medical industry is aware of that could cure this disease are embryonic cells and those used in stem cell research.

How big of an impact would this have on the medical industry if they could find a human equivalent to these mice cells? Will this have an impact on the common person's view of the morals around stem cell research?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

 Sons of Gamauf Hardware owner recall his legacy:


I picked this story out of the Akron Beacon Journal, which is the local newspaper in Copley, where I am from. I chose to write about this story because the topic is about a Copley man, Addie Gamauf who just died a little over a week ago. If you live in Copley, and if your parents grew up in Copley, the chances are, you knew who Addie Gamauf was. I also picked  this story because I thought that it was relevant to class and what we learned about obituaries. Being close to the subject, I can vouch that story is very accurate to who Addie was. What I like about this story is that not only does it focus on who Addie was, but it also focuses what the future will be like after his death. Also I think that the legacy talk, and the future of the store makes this story relevant to more than just a few people. Another thing that I like is that the writer got a lot of the communities input. He incorporated quotes from six different people and might have talked to even more people. My only complaint about this story -- and I will say it is not a big complaint -- is that I am not sure if the writer got deep enough into who Addie was, but maybe that is just because I knew him. Maybe to someone who does not know him, they would think differently. So, with that I am interested in what you guys think about that. Do you think that the author described him well enough? Also how relevant do you think this story is to a wider audience? And, finally, what are your overall thoughts on this piece?

Friday, March 29, 2013

What can you say in 300 words?

Sometimes, you can say an awful lot.

Case-in-point: Brady Dennis, former night cops reporter for the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times (which is now known as the Tampa Times).

Dennis, who is now with the Washington Post, decided he wanted to highlight some people who never found their way into the newspaper. So he and photographer Chris Zuppa began a monthly series called “300 Words,” in which they set out to tell the stories of toll booth operators, dads in jail, rodeo clowns and others. The series won national acclaim.
In a 2006 interview, Dennis said he wanted to take on the project because “I believe that each person not only has a story to tell, but that each person has a story that matters. I’ve always felt humbled in the presence of everyday, ‘ordinary’ people who are willing to share their lives with us.”

Later in the same interview, he discussed how the series – specifically the rigid word limit – made him a better journalist (read on after the jump):

“300 Words” made me a better reporter by forcing me to rely almost primarily on observation. Notice that most pieces contain almost no quotes. I didn’t interview people as much as I simply shut my mouth and watched and listened. We don’t do that enough.
 It also made me a more economical writer. With only 300 words to spare, each one had to matter. I've tried to apply that rule to the other stories I do, even the long ones. The idea is to cut away the fat and leave only the muscle. As my editor, Neville Green, repeated again and again: "Less is more." It's true for most stories we write.
Dennis’ series is proof positive that you don’t need pages and pages of copy to tell a beautiful story. He wasn’t writing to win awards or attract fans (although he did both). He simply wanted to paint pictures of fleeting moments, and all the sights, sounds and emotions that went with them. These moments surround us every day. They are stories that most of us can relate to at some level. Good storytellers like Dennis recognize the universal nature of those moments, and put them in perspective for us.

All of the stories in the series are very good. Two of my favorites are “One hour at a time” and “After the sky fell.” Those two articles are not “feel good” stories, as are some other stories in the series. So check out a few of the articles (they are all very quick reads). Which ones spoke to you the loudest? Why? What techniques did the writers use to put readers into these scenes? What can we as writers learn from them?

For some reason, the Times has taken down the “splash page” that used to have links to all the installments in this series. However, I was able to recover several of them through Google – enough to give you a sense of what the series was like. These are the headlines – the hyperlinks should take you to the stories.

One hour at a time

After the sky fell

One minute and 123 dollars

Beautiful noise

The accordion man

Looking for a laugh

The man in the mirror

The end is the beginning

For the first time

City dreams

A cross for Carlos

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scientists Seek to Bring Back Extinct Species


Stanford Professor Hank Greely, recently spoke to a New York Times reporter about the advent of bringing extinct species back to life. Scientists around the world are trying to use new DNA technology to bring back extinct species, such as the wooly mammoth, the saber tooth tiger and the passenger pigeon. The article talks about innovations in DNA science and the different theories surrounding the successfulness of this process. Scientists note that it could be many years before we see the results of these endeavors, and there are ethical, moral and legal issues surrounding the nature of this type of science. 

This article caught my attention because of the nature of this controversial subject. The article does a good job drawing from many different sources and reporting the essential conversation points around bringing a species back into existence. Additionally, I like the use of the media to listen to Greely speak in depth about the subject. Even though we have seen many stories in the past about emerging science that does not come to fruition, I still think that this type of article stands a good purpose. Do you think this is newsworthy? Moreover, I appreciate science and new technology, but I disagree with the actions of the scientists trying to attempt this endeavor. How do you feel about the concept of bringing species back into existence? Did the author throughly cover all the legal, moral and ethical issues?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Teen Charged With Assault in Officer Shoot-off

18 year old Dante Bonner of Pittsburgh, PA has been charged with assault after shooting a police officer early Sunday morning. After a somewhat unclear turn of events with Bonner, his friends and the police officers, it resulted in Officer Christopher Ketris sustaining a leg injury. Ketris and his partners are currently being paid on administrative leave until the incident is further investigated. 

This article is informative and detailed, which is good since it is discussing a crime. However I do have a few issues with how it was written. Specifically, (because it has been throughly discussed in class ) inverted style pyramid writing. The author laid out facts in a disorderly manner. The first two paragraphs discuss what happened, with the most important content. After that the current condition of the shot officer is stated. Then, the past criminal history of Bonner is explained, despite it not being relevant to this shooting (especially because it is an open case). Quotes from any type of source as also lacking.

Do you think this article is too descriptive? Would a shorter, more straight to the point piece have been easier to read?

Obama's Energy Security Trust


President Obama proposed a plan to divert $200 million dollars annually for a decade from federal oil and gas royalties to fund research on alternative vehicles powered by electricity, bio fuel and natural gas. This idea stemmed from the fact that Obama couldn't get any climate change legislative to pass through the Congress and now he is attempting smaller projects that can change United States's energy track.

I think this alternative energy plan is small step forward on United States's long journey to energy sustainability. I'm glad to read that Obama is finding alternatives to addressing our energy dependence other than attempting to get legislation through the Congress. This article has good quotes from the president and gives specifics on what Obama has planned for the funding. Does anyone think that investing in alternative energy for transportation is a good idea or should the federal government invest their money elsewhere?         

Ohio High School Football Players Found Guilty


In Steubenville, Ohio, two teen football players were found guilty for raping a a drunken 16 year old girl at a party last August. The football players, ages 16 and 17 were said to have attacked the girl at the party late that summer night. The boys allegedly first raped the girl in the backseat of their moving car and then once again in the basement of a house. The case shocked the Steubenville community and definitely raised questions about the influence of the football team in the community. The girl testified that she was heavily under the influence that night and even suspected being drugged. Photos later surfaced that showed the girl with the football players in a picture taken from the night of the party. Some people from the party testified in the players' favor saying and some testified against them.

I feel like this is a well-written article and is very relevant in journalism right now. This story has been all over the news recently and FOX News broke the verdict this morning. It was an easy read and contained a lot of background facts relevant to the case. How did you all like the article? And based on the facts from the case, do you think there was sufficient evidence to incriminate the two teens in the trial?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Conclave to elect new pope set to begin


"The Cardinal Angelo Sodano calls for love, unity and cooperation with the next pontiff." They pray for guidance in choosing the next pope during a pre-conclave Mass. There are 115 cardinals and they will choose the next spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The Cardinals don't really have to vote on Tuesday but probably will, a Vatican spokesman says. I think this article is interesting even though it doesn't really have anything to do with me. I am more of a visual person and the photography that goes along with the story is a tremendous help to the tell the story visually. I just think that a tradition as old as the Pope is an interesting topic and thought it would be good to share with the class. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kelley Williams-Bolar’s Long, Winding Fight to Educate Her Daughters

Kelley Williams-Bolar’s Long, Winding Fight to Educate Her Daughters


Before this class I was guilty of not being the most informed person on current events based off of newspapers. I usually paid attention more to television news stations such as MSNBC or CNN, or would find out about recent news by word-of-mouth. Over this past spring break while working I was catching up with my favorite coworker who happens to be the Assistant Manager at my job and a mother of two relatively young kids. During our conversation we were discussing where her son and daughter were going to go to school next year. She brought up the story of Kelly Williams-Bolar, a woman who last year was brought on the national state for being indicted and sent to jail for nine days after illegally enrolling her daughters in a neighboring public school district.

This 42-year-old single mother from Akron, OH, who had never had trouble with the law prior to this, is currently serving two years on probation all for using her father's address to send her daughters to the Copley-Fairlawn School District instead of Akron Public Schools. In the article you will read what dangerous incidents and tough circumstances prompted the mother to use her father's address to begin with. You will also read how Copley-Fairlawn School District were able to find about about Williams-Bolar's falsified documents, what legal, political and social support she had during the incident and what life after her sentence has been like as she has now become a activist for school reform.

I thought this article was very well written and newsworthy. It's pretty extensive, but there was a lot of background to cover and questions to answer. This story and article stuck out to me because I personally thought she shouldn't have falsified on documents, but I understood why she did and thought actual criminal prosecution was extreme. I also believe it brought to light the school reform issue, which to me isn't discussed enough at times. So I pose the question: Do you think Kelly Williams-Bolar's story was newsworthy and did she receive the appropriate punishment for her actions? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Name Calling - The New Yorker


As far as written publications go, the New Yorker is probably my favorite; it consists of some of the most  perceptive, skillful, and cogent writers I've ever read. Though it isn't without its flaws - its leftist political bent is barely concealed, and some of its features are weaker than others - the New Yorker brings extraordinarily unique insight to a wide variety of topics every day, and for that I love it. 
Today is no different. Columnist Steve Coll tackles the issue of Al Qaeda and America, of the so-called war against 'Al Qaeda and "associated forces."' It is, he suggests, a worryingly vague, conceivably indefinite conflict. "The conflict presents a problem of definition: as long as there are bands of violent Islamic radicals anywhere in the world who find it attractive to call themselves Al Qaeda, a formal state of war may exist between Al Qaeda and America," he writes. And worse, it's a war without cause. Coll presents evidence that terrorist cells loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda in name only - Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, for instance, or Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - in most cases are at best geographically constrained, and at worst mundanely criminal. He concludes, "[…] the empirical case for a worldwide state of war against a corporeal thing called Al Qaeda looks increasingly threadbare."  
"Name Calling" is an excellent example of what makes the New Yorker so compelling. The headline is poignant and double-meaning. The lede is really intriguing. ("We can infer [...] that bin Laden’s comradeseither couldn’t come up with a better idea or didn’t want to annoy him by questioning his brainstorm.") And the writing is of the highest quality. I certainly can't complain about the subject matter and the author's arguments, either. I, personally, was persuaded by Coll's logic: to fight a war in name is to justify its perpetuity by pointing to hypotheticals. (Concededly, I'm almost always persuaded by New Yorker staff writers.) 
What opinions have you all on this article? Did you like the writing style? Do you agree with Coll's point, or disagree? 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A gift for Africa

A gift for Africa was not only a touching story but a well written one.  I chose to look through the Columbus Dispatch because it is my hometown paper.  I was taken to this story because of the headline and picture that caught my eye.  I like how this story is written with facts and quotes.  The topic is already a story any age group can enjoy.  But the quote from one of the men and an OSU professor supports the facts and emotions throughout the story.  The map of the specific location on the side gave some background on the area and throughout the article, history on young children's struggles are told.  Without the background, the readers would not understand how vital medicine and other drugs are needed in Piol, Africa.  

After reading the article I realized that philanthropy articles can be very popular.  It is an international dilemma that local citizens are doing something for.  Covering stories that are making a difference across the globe is something any reader can emotionally relate too.  I am sure this story will create a positive image for the newspaper and will support the cause.  I did not know about "the lost boys" cause and i’m sure others did not either till this article.  The author placed a link to the lost boys foundation and a place to donate, which is helpful to the cause.  Overall I am pleased with this article because of the easy-to-read structure, topic and facts.  This was a win-win for the newspaper and the cause!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Two-day bail hearing for Pistorius to start Tuesday


The article was about Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius from South Africa.  In the London Olympics, he became the first double-amputee track runner to appear in the Olympics.  He soon became known as "The Blade Runner" which refers to the fiber blades he uses when he runs.  Pistorius began dating a South African celebrity named Reeva Steenkamp.  Steenkamp was shot on Feb. 14 at Pistorius' home.  Police recovered a gun and have taken Pistorius into custody.  He is scheduled to have a bail hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I found this story to be very interesting.  At first I was confused about the layout of the article.  It is not one continuous story, but instead is divided up into sections with different headings.  After reading, I liked this set up.  It gave you a brief introduction then told backgrounds of both Pistorius and Steenkamp then told the police report followed by what the trial will be like and South Africa's judicial policies.  All of these divisions gave me more insight in order to analyze every component of the story.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Russian Meteor

     I thought this was rather fascinating and very newsworthy. The article is very good at giving facts in a straightforward way, but almost too straightforward. There aren't any interviews that add much of anything to the story, and I'm curious as to why there aren't many published witness accounts or even if more people were interviewed.

     I'm wondering if anyone else was late hearing about this like me. I thought this would be a huge topic of discussion around me but I didn't hear anything from people around me or through any other media source. The scary thing to me is that it seems like the Russian people were completely uninformed about the possibility of a huge fireball rocketing across the sky at 19 miles per second. The article seems to imply that everyone was caught off their guard, but it makes me wonder if the government kept it under wraps in the hope that it would burn up in the atmosphere. What do you think?


video of the meteor

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pomeroy mayor quits over report of gay slurs


I found this story while looking on the Columbus Dispatch website.  This article was about how the mayor of Pomeroy was using gay slurs and trying to get an officer fired because of his sexuality.  Overall I really enjoyed this piece. I think it was well written and I really enjoyed the quote the writer used to finish off the piece.  I think that while it is sad that people are still so un-accepting, it sheds light on those who are accepting and how the accepting people seem to be be rising in numbers and trying to stop such hatred from continuing.

I thought it was to be expected that the mayor would not comment and in my opinion it makes her look worse.  What do you think the lack of her perspective takes away from the piece if anything?  How do you feel about the hook the writer used and the overall style of writing? I was confused about how the mayors actions could get the whole village sued. Besides making her look even more evil than she is what was the purpose of including that? It seemed out of place to me.

Justice’s Plans for Event Tied to Pepsi Stir Outcry by Yale Alumni


   I stumbled upon this article while scanning through the New York Times website, and thought the headline was peculiar. The article describes Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreeing to speak at a conference for the women of her Alma mater, Yale University. The controversy of this article is that PepsiCo (who has been a supporter/sponsor of the campus for years) is sponsoring the event and some alumni worry. They find it unsettling that a company that has questionable public health concerns is sponsoring the event. One source referred to the event as a “PepsiCo event” not a Yale University one. Sotomayor is not being paid, endorsed, or receiving any benefits from PepsiCo or Yale to speak at the event, nor does her appearance violate any legal ethics laws.
    Does this count as a valid political article? When I started reading it, the article seemed off topic, and, frankly, not important. The layout of the article itself was jumbled and its sources didn’t complement each other. One source began talking about the health consequences of PepsiCo’s products, while another was speaking about PepsiCo’s plans to open a research facility near campus. The actual Yale conference and Justice Sotomayor’s appearance at the conference were spoken of very little. Does the Justice’s participation in an event sponsored by PepsiCo seem like a conflict of interest? Does the hype about PepsiCo’s sponsorship seem unimportant and blown out of proportion?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Obama skeet-shooting photo spurs debate ahead of gun-control talk


In light of all of the recent shootings and our 'blue-hooded bandit' (as we named him in an article in The Post yesterday: http://thepost.ohiou.edu/content/many-oupd-crime-alerts-stay-active) that we had a discussion about in class last Thursday, I found this Plain Dealer story to be interesting.

Gun control is obviously a huge concern in politics today. I would argue that President Obama is one of the presidents that has had to deal with this issue the most (if not, the president that has had to deal with this issue the most). However, two days before he promotes his gun control proposals, Obama was photographed aiming a gun at a shooting range, obviously stirring controversy.

I chose this article, as I said above, because gun control is a dominant issue in society today. From a journalistic standpoint, I wanted to share this article with you guys because I thought that it was well-written and included some interesting points of views (I found the NRA interesting in particular) and I think the photo was great and is an awesome action shot for those of you with any desire to pursue photojournalism. However, I think that what makes web stories really engaging is when they include video interviews, pull out quotes, and other visuals to catch the reader's attention. Today, many people just read fast facts on the go and things like that, but with a controversial story (many people have strong feelings about gun control one way or the other these days), I think it can really help to draw the reader in to look at everything on the page.

On an unrelated note, sorry this wasn't up sooner, guys!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Freedom, gratitude now fill lives of wrongly convicted ex-inmates


This article by the Columbus Dispatch follows the lives of five wrongly convicted men who were recently found not guilty due to new DNA testing.  The article goes on to talk about the Ohio Innocence Project that worked along side the dispatch to review over 300 cases of possible wrongful imprisonment and chronicles the inmates transition back to society.

I chose this article because of how well put together it is. It gets you straight to the facts and displays them accurately.  I also like how in the end the author gives each person their own mini story and talks about the different aspects of their lives.  The article could have used more pictures of the released inmates or other types of multi media, but other than that I think it was a pretty good article.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Home invasion suspect dies of gunshot wound


This is a story about a death. On the 28th, five men invaded a home of some Wright State students with a plastic weapon and managed to force one of the students to the ground. During the struggle, the student called to his roommate, who entered the room with a real gun and shot two of the invaders, one of whom this story directly speaks about. That man has died.

I only have a few small complaints about this story. For one thing, the headline talks exclusively about the man who died, but the story dwells longer on the previous story about the break-in. It is good to have the context, but the way this is written, the story seems slightly misleading about its content. The only other comment that I have is that they might have included more about the man who died - the hospital, maybe, or where he was from. The article, perhaps out of respect for the deceased, also does not include a picture of the man that the article is written about.

Otherwise, I applaud the use of multiple platforms to tell the story - the page includes text, images, and video to tell the story. And, in slightly more nit-picky praise, I applaud the correct grammar in the first sentence.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Joe vs. Hil in 2016

Blog Post: “Jocular Joe vs. hard-charging Hil”
Clare Palo

In this article the author discusses the hot topic of who will be the next “Barack Obama” in 2016. The media has created a tight “race” between what they think are the next top 2 candidates: Hilary Clinton, former Secretary of State and Vice President, Joe Biden. Hilary has stated numerous times in press interviews that she is not planning to run again in 2016, and she has retired from the political business. So why does the media insist she is the next controversial presidential runner? Is the media creating their own news? Are they basing their hunches on actual evidence or assumptions? Does this Huffington Post have factual evidence, and is it relevant to the current political issues? It seems the article is highlighting the “what-ifs” because there is a lack of political news, with the 2012 election being over, and Obama being inaugurated last week. The country has just elected a president into office, and the media is already discussing a new one. Does this article present a form of bias, by telling the public that Hilary Clinton is in the running for the next president of the United States? The headline also states “Joe vs. Hil,” but mentions little about Joe and why they believe he is Hilary’s competition. Is this fair journalism, or sloppy speculation?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Welcome to our class blog

Hello everyone, and welcome to the class blog for Clay Carey’s section of Journalism 231a (News Writing). I hope this blog will become a place where we can read, discuss and learn from excellent journalism.

For that to happen, the class must populate it with good stories. I want those stories to come from a variety of sources, and I hope that in the process of seeking them out we all discover high quality news sources that we didn’t know about prior to this class.

In this post, I will share some of the outlets that I turn to for good journalism. I will also set up some ground rules for blog posts that should keep all of us on the same page as we look for stories to post.