Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Student Debt Hits Home

By Jeremy St. Clair                       

An article in the New York Times about the danger of the new normal in college debt caught my interest because I’m a college student.

The author of the article, Charles M. Blow, believes that college students are reaching a crisis point in the United States college education system; with the price of tuition rising, many students have a large amount of debt. This has serious implications for our society and the economy.

A report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Associations says the debt of college student is coming dangerously close to becoming the new normal. Because of this, healthcare and retirement compete with education over limited resources. Also the new normal does not expect there to be a recovery of the declined funding for higher education. It expects families to make great financial risks in order for college students to have a better life after their education. It also puts expectations on schools and college to find ways to increase their productivity.

The cost of tuition at community college has increased dramatically and has risen 40 percent to $3,122, according to the College Board, which runs the SAT Exam.  At four year public universities, the cost has risen 68 percent to $7,692  a year.  A September census report, meanwhile, shows median household incomes fell nearly 7 percent from 2001 to 2011 and more Americans are living in poverty. This causes more and more students to borrow money.

An analysis done by Donghoon Lee, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found “student debt is the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession.”  This is now the second largest household debt after mortgage debt. He calculates loan debt is approaching a trillion dollars, up from less than four billion in 2004.  The average balance of borrowers increased by 70 percent between 2004 and 2012. A Pew Research Report said student loan debt as a share of household income was 24 percent for families in the lowest income bracket.

The Pew report stated “The relative burden of student loan debt is greatest for households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum.” Many of the graduates can’t find work or jobs and then are unable to pay back the money they owe. A report from January from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity found “48 percent of employed US college graduates are in jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests requires less than a four year college education.”

The United States needs a more knowledgeable work force to be competitive, Charles Blow argues. “While the number of college graduates in America is increasing, that number is growing even faster in some other countries,” he wrote. All of this relates to me because I am a college student and this may become an issue for me.

Life’s Unforeseen Turns

By Alyssa Ramirez

How would you feel if you knew that you couldn’t save your child from everything in this world? That the least expected could happen to even you and there was no way you could protect him from a danger that you didn’t even know was there? These are the thoughts that ran through the minds of two parents from Atlanta, GA after they learned that their perfect little two-year-old boy would never be the same after one morning.

On the morning of October 29, 2012, Stacy Halstead dropped her little boy off at daycare and within a few hours was alerted that there was a terrible accident. Her son, Tripp, had been playing in the playground when a large tree limb fell onto his head and shattered his skull completely. He was immediately sent to the hospital where his parents would soon find that after that day his chances of surviving were slim to none. Tripp had sustained traumatic brain injuries from the accident and for the next five months his home would be Eagleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, where he would be enduring countless brain surgeries and fighting illnesses such as E-Coli, the flu, and meningitis. The Halstead’s whole world would change.

Prior to the accident, Tripp was known for his vivacity and charm. He was a bright child with a personality that would light up the room. He blessed everyone around him with his beautiful smile and his ability to make you laugh at even two years of age. After years of failed pregnancies and suffering from numerous complications, when Stacy finally had Tripp, there was not a day that went by where she wouldn’t thank God for being blessed with her only perfect child. Two and a half years later, Tripp can no longer be the bright boy he used to be; he is incapable of achieving normal behaviors such as walking, talking, eating solids, or smiling and his chances of surviving are still unknown and doubted by his doctors. 

Although Tripp is confronted with a new obstacle to overcome each day, he is a strong child with the heart of a lion. He keeps fighting to stay alive through these terrible conditions and just when his doctors feel that he might not pull through, he proves everyone wrong. Children are so fragile at a young age that it is a miracle that this little boy is able to come this far under his conditions.

His parents are fighters too. Both Stacy and Bill have remained in the hospital with Tripp each day that passes and they hope to stay by his side until that very day that they are able to go home. Stacy has developed a blog via Facebook titled “Tripp Updates” where she shares her story and experiences with thousands of strangers around the world. Each day she will update everyone on Tripp’s recovery situation as well as share her fears, struggles, and hopes. Stacy has won over the hearts of thousands of people who send her and Tripp their sentiments and prayers. 

The Halsteads have dedicated a website to their son titled “Team Boom 4 Tripp” where they ask for donations in order to help keep Stacy by Tripp’s bedside at the hospital. This unexpected tragedy has forever changed the lives of this small family, which in reality could happen to anyone.

The Legacy of Steve Jobs

By Elizabeth Flores                                        

You never know how big something is until you hear a number thrown at you: how does 5 million iPhones 5’s sold sound to you? Not a lot, you say? Well, that changes when you hear that that figure is based on sales in a weekend’s timespan. It is amazing how one simple device can change the way we do everyday activities, such as waking up by using it as your alarm clock. 

We are all familiar with Apple and its revolutionary products, but how well do we know the man who was behind the brand. Steve Jobs was a man driven by passion and the idea that he could change the world one chip at a time; his accomplishments have helped shape technology to its very best.

Steve Jobs was blessed with many things in his life, but from the beginning he was given a lot to deal with. Steve was born February 24, 1955 in Golden Gate Bridge-beautiful San Francisco, California. His parents, Joanne and Abdulfattah (John), were recent graduate students of Wisconsin university and decided to give Steve up for adoption. Luckily for Steve, he was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs, a loving middle class family who resided in the silicon valley of California. 

Steve’s favorite pastime was rebuilding electronics with his father, which says a lot about how his love for electronics came to be. Although he was extremely bright and gifted, just like any kid his age he loved to play pranks on people, especially on his teachers. Imogene Hill, his 4th grade teacher, once said that in order for her to get him to study she would have to bribe him with $5 bills and candy.

Steve was offered the possibility to go into high school at an earlier age but his parents denied the offer, so when Steve finally reached Homestead High School, he met his future business partner, Steve Wozniack, someone instrumental to his huge success. Steve wasn’t much for college as he dropped out and decided to travel to India to find some kind of enlightenment. It wasn’t until he was 21 years old that he started Apple Computers in his garage. What’s more impressive was that he began this company with very little money. Steve sold his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak sold his scientific calculator to front the money for the business. Can you imagine running your own business at that age? Talk about dedication.

After many years Steve resigned from Apple after he built the company to its maximum and began his own software and hardware company called NeXt. After he didn’t see the results he expected, he bought Pixar, which we all know due to movies like “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story.” He later returned to Apple and went on to introduce new products such as the MacBook Air, IPod and IPhone, all of which revolutionized electronics. 

Steve was sick with pancreatic cancer but wasn’t prepared to publicly announce it due to fear of Apple stock plummeting, but that didn’t stop him, it made him stronger. And his dedication for Apple just increased, all the while bringing to us products that some of us can’t live with out today.

After a long battle Steve passed away in 2011 at the age of 56 years old, leaving behind his legacy in technology and allowing aspiring technology lovers to follow in his footsteps. Steve once said, “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do,” an inspirational quote from an inspirational man who not only changed technology but changed the way we do things at every moment.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A College Student’s Guide to Survival

By Cinterra Lucas

Transitioning from high school to
college can be one of the greatest milestones in a teenager’s life. Most students decide to live on campus so they can have the independence they have been longing for ever since they turned the legal age of eighteen. College is all about independence, but it is also about making the right choices.
When students first enter college, their questions focus on the social aspect such as meeting friends, on-campus activities, on-campus clubs, dorm life and parties. Their parents, on the other hand, ask the questions concerning academics, simply because that is what they are focused on for their child. After talks and arguments about which college you should go to, the decision is made. Parents are deeply saddened because their babies are going to be away from them, while students are counting down until move in day.
Move in day is finally here and you have basically left your room at home completely bare, even though your mom tells you not to take everything because she knows you are not the only one living in the dorm room. After attempting to set yourself up in your college home, you see each roommate come in one by one. You begin to realize that each roommate is the complete opposite from you; one may be loud, messy, and another quiet. The student then feels as if she has made a big mistake of choosing to leave her one bedroom home where it was just her and her alone. 

Believe it or not, many people have issues with their room situation. The only way to solve this problem is to meet with your Resident Assistant; that individual will be your number one help at college because they have been through the same thing you are experiencing.
The next difficult part of college is the work load and the professors. The work given out in high school does not compare to the work given in college. From the ten page papers to the calculus teacher you do not understand; it is all there. If you are having difficulty in classes, make friends with the individual in the class who understands everything and have study sessions with him or her. Colleges provide tutors as well; free tutors, you can not beat that, so students should take full advantage of that if they find academics too difficult. The library will become your best friend, so take advantage; there are people who want to help you, but let’s not forget you have to help yourself as well.
There are a lot of events and extracurricular activities on college campus; it is up to you as a student to make sure that your social life does not interfere with your academics. For example, if you have a work study job and you also have a paper due that night, you can not attend the Spring Fest event that is being held. Your main priority is going to work and finishing the paper correctly. Time management is a skill that students have to teach themselves. Speaking from experience, one way I learned time management was with the help of creating a planner, to create balance between my academics and social life, because you do need to make time for yourself as a college student.
The list for preparing for college can go on and on, but I am afraid there is not enough time in a day. The most important advice I want to leave incoming students with is to do what is necessary and focus on what you are paying for. Higher education is very costly and ten years from now, a private education may cost up to $100,000! While you are in college, make it a memorable experience, but do not forget what you came to do at college and that is to get a degree. 

Better This Time Around

By Alyssa Hamilton

Most children remember doing Flat Stanley projects, sending cut-outs of the character to relatives, but most weren’t interviewed by ABC News because of it. This was the case when Julie DeCristofaro was in the second grade.

“My mom suggested that we send it to my uncle because he was an editor for ABC News,” she remembers. After her uncle received it, he showed it to his boss, who then suggested that Julie be interviewed and shown what her uncle does for a living. This, however, didn’t go as well as planned.

“Mom, I can’t do this! I need to go to bed!” Julie recalls telling her mother as she was being taken to be interviewed. Since her uncle worked the night shift, she went in at around 10 p.m. Once she got there, and the nerves began to set in, she tried to take off her coat, but found that she couldn’t. Her uncle tried to help her get her arm of her sleeve, and as he bent over, she accidentally poked him in the eye.

“I felt really bad. He screamed,” she remembers.

He then gave her a tour of his office and showed her his most recent editing project--the trailer for Spiderman. “I got to see the trailer before anyone else did. I was really excited,” she reminisces. Then it was time to prepare for the interview.

After getting make-up put on her and her hair braided on each side of her head, she went to the studio. Liz Cho was her interviewer, and Julie recalls her being “enthusiastic.” Being an already tired and slightly intimidated seven year old, Julie saw the camera and froze.

“I just wouldn’t speak,” she laughs as she recollects the interview. “I would just nod when the questions wouldn’t be yes or no questions.”

After a while, though, Liz Cho caught on to Julie’s nerves and started to ask yes or no questions. This went on for a short while, and then the interview was over.

Julie’s mother still has the tape of the interview, and Julie refuses to let anyone watch it. “Every time I do something wrong, she goes, ‘We could always watch the video again.’ And I say, ‘Don’t you dare,’ ” Julie explains. And since the interview was aired around four o’clock in the morning, not many people have seen it.

Nowadays, Julie is an early childhood education major with a concentration in math at Saint Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, NY. “Remembering how innocent I was at the time has inspired me to want to work with children in the future,” she says. Will she have her future students do their own Flat Stanley projects?

“Yes, I love Flat Stanley,” she said. “It just goes to show that the most unexpected things can create memories which last a lifetime.”

Angels and Demons: A Reflection of Alexander McQueen

By Alyssa Hamilton

The buzz of murmurs filled the room all the way to its high ceiling, the gold molding opulence refracting the echoing sounds. The mirror on the far wall reflected the faces of the fashion industry’s most elite members. They sat on cubes and faced one another across the room, excitedly waiting. Then, as they heard the first sounds of high heels click against the riffed and quartered wooden floor, they became silent.
Thus began the final collection that Lee Alexander McQueen ever worked on: Angels and Demons.
Shortly before the collection for Autumn/Winter 2010 was shown, McQueen took his own life on February 11, 2010. An accurate reflection of the themes and techniques McQueen used during his career and inspired by Byzantine art, the collected array of fabric and thread was ornate, Gothic, intricate, and overall stunning. In all sixteen pieces of wearable art, the life of the late designer lurked.
The very first dress set the tone for the rest of the show and followed in the footsteps of past works. An above-knee length dress tailored to the model’s torso featured highly detailed gold embroidered brocade on rich scarlet fabric until the skirt, which was heavily pleated at its dropped waist. The luxurious embroidery was a trademark of McQueen, as was the tailored nature of the piece and the experimentation with the female form. The overall effect was romantic and impressive, two feelings that were carried throughout the collection.
The next dress bore the same dropped waist and pleated skirt as the first dress, but this time, the tone turned slightly more Gothic as the red was no longer prominent, but instead black. The torso of the dress, while tailored as the first dress, instead was printed with paintings of Byzantine origin and gold modern brocade. While still romantic, this piece was slightly darker in tone, something done by McQueen in many of his past collections, one of which was even inspired by the work of Tim Burton.
The experimentation with feminine form was prominent in the next dress of the collection, which returned to the red fabric and gold brocade. The embroidery this time mimicked the hourglass figure of the ideal woman, and the fabric was worked in such a way that it exaggerated the hips of the model, something which McQueen often did, sometimes even using hip pads to give a piece a more motherly feel.
The next three dresses, shorter than the first few, were golden or red and featured both the painting and elegant prints seen earlier in the show, with two using belts to draw attention to the waist. The following piece, a pantsuit took a turn in form from the dresses. While still gold and elaborate in print, the top of the piece created a sharp hourglass in the way the fabric had been worked. The long pants changed the tone of the show and prepared the audience for the change of length of the following dresses--from above the knee to reaching the floor.
The next two pieces, one a cape and the other a dress, brought back the darker tone from earlier in the collection because of their dark coloring, but this time also a sense of austerity in its richness as the fabric is heavy and sculpted. But then, the tone is made lighter with the next four dresses, as all were white with prints of religious paintings and begin to use chiffon, a light and flowing material, in addition to the slightly rigid fabric that is sculpted to experiment with the body shapes of the models. The overall effect is a whimsical taste of elegance. The sudden switch in tone is reminiscent of a previous collection of McQueen’s, The Girl Who Lived in a Tree for Autumn/Winter 2008, when the lighting suddenly changed, making the scene go from peasant-like to regal. 
The final three pieces were a culmination of the materials and techniques used throughout the collection as well as McQueen’s career. The first of the three was a floor-length red dress and cape, both with gold brocade, but this time beading to accent the stitched designs was used. Sequins were also used on the skirt where the lower half the legs would be to add interest to the simple silhouette of the dress. The next dress used the same pleated skirt seen earlier in the collection and the familiar black and gold color scheme. Again, the brocade is beaded, but this time on the shoulders and long sleeves that adds an edge to the overall conservative style.
Then, the last dress appeared.
Feather-work had always been a favored technique of McQueen to display his craftsmanship, and the last dress ever seen designed by the late designer was a perfect example of this talent. Gold feathers were molded to fit the hourglass of the model’s body and created an avant-garde yet classical high collar. At the knees, white tulle flared onto the floor where gold beading glimmered by its edges. This piece later went on to be displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition Savage Beauty, which was dedicated to the work of McQueen.
Angels and Demons was a perfect example of the work of McQueen, as it was imaginative, elaborate, and overall beautifully crafted. Since his death, Sarah Burton took over House of McQueen as its creative director, and the brand has continued to create annual collections. But even still, Lee Alexander McQueen is dearly missed by members of the fashion community and fans alike, and his final collection was a masterpiece to remember him by.

To see the pieces, visit the archives of 2010 at the following link:,en_US,sf.html

A Night To Remember

By Colleen Pagnani

This story is about my mother, Mary Anne Pagnani’s memories of a massive family reunion, which celebrated her Irish heritage in the homeland. I also happened to attend the event. This is her account of the night.

With a mother who was born the second oldest of fifteen children, it is obvious that Mary Anne Pagnani has a massive family. As one of 64 grandchildren, many of whom went on to have their own kids, one can say family gatherings were huge, yet hard because it was almost impossible to get everyone under one roof. That all changed in August of 2000 when the Maher family met up in County May, Ireland for a two-week stay, including a night they would never forget.

The Maher family reunion was one for the ages, and for those in attendance, like Mary Anne, a moment she would “remember forever.” Fortunately, in 2000, all fifteen children were still alive and healthy, so it could not have been scripted more perfectly.
While I was talking with Mary Anne, she could not help but struggle when she tried counting all of her first cousins. It’s typical for an outsider to lose track over the unbelievable number, but for a member of the family to do it just shows its size. “Over 400 people showed up that night” to celebrate the clan Maher, “not just grandchildren, but an endless number of first and second cousins as well. And that was not even everyone,” she recalled.
A nice dinner, skits performed by family members of all ages acting out the family’s history, and hired entertainers, like a magician for the young ones, all made the event that more special. “Even though I was already very knowledgeable regarding my family’s heritage, watching it play out in front of me, with my own kids, was the perfect way to celebrate,” Mary Anne said.

It is almost thirteen years later and Mary Anne still cannot seem to get that night out of her head. In short, she summarized the memory by saying, “The celebration lasted two weeks, but that one night in particular was a once in a lifetime event that brought one family together from all over the world. Nothing made me happier than seeing my own mother, and all fourteen of her siblings, in one room at the same time. Thanks to the impeccable planning done by my Uncle, what we thought would be impossible exceeded our expectations.”

From Ireland to England, to the U.S. and Canada, fifteen siblings got together to take one picture as one family for the first time in years. It also happened to be the last time. Sadly, few have passed since then, but on that one night in August, the Maher family appeared perfect.

“The intention of the whole night was to get the siblings together one last time before they grew unable to travel, and also to teach the younger generations the family’s culture and religion so they could continue the traditions. I feel as we did just that, and I could not be more proud to be a part of something so extraordinary,” said Mary Anne.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dream Job

By Cinterra Lucas

Tanise Cannonier is a 19 year old from Liberty, NY. Her hard work and dedication is surely recognized even now as a sophomore in college. Tanise desires to become a Certified Public Accountant, and based on the interview I had with her she is well on her way:

Good Afternoon Tanise, how are you? Thank you for taking time out of your day to sit and talk with me.
Tanise: Good Afternoon, Cinterra, It is my pleasure to sit down with you this evening.

Okay, so tell me a little about yourself.

Tanise: I grew up in a small town upstate in Sullivan County; I always had the desire to become successful in anything I do. It was not until High School when I took an accounting class and realized that this is something I want to do for the rest of my life. I then found my passion for business.

That’s good; so basically your upbringing allowed you to want something better and greater for your life?

Tanise: (smiles) yea, pretty much.

What are you doing now to try and work towards your goals?

Tanise: I am currently a sophomore at St Thomas Aquinas College pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

How has school been going for you and what made you choose St Thomas Aquinas College?
Tanise: School is well, at times it can be difficult, but what college student doesn’t find it to be difficult (chuckles). While searching for colleges I was looking for a medium that was not too far from home and not necessarily too close. Small class sizes created an intimate setting which was a plus. I was intrigued by the accounting program here because I have the ability to connect with successful graduates and experienced professors who were very knowledgeable in the field of accounting.

I agree with you, college has the tendency to get the best of you, and it is indeed very difficult. It seems that academically you are determined to do very well, but what do you do besides academics that may be beneficial for your career?
Tanise: I am currently employed at St Thomas Aquinas College’s Alumni Affairs; which allows me to connect personally with successful people. I work very closely with the President and Vice President of the College, as well as the board of directors. My job title is to prepare events and provide help for funding for the school; they’re always reassuring in my future; if I need assisting with networking they are always available. I feel very privileged to have these opportunities outside my academics.

That is really impressive--not a lot of people are granted the honor to be able to work so close to such successful people. So you say you are a sophomore?  

Tanise: (Laughs loudly) Yea, it’s amazing how all these opportunities came to me so fast. I thought this opportunity would come to me in junior year or senior year, if that. See when you go to these large universities, it doesn’t always work out like that.

You are absolutely right; so say it was the year 2015, what would your ideal year look like?
Tanise: Ideally I hope to have graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and have a job as an accounting associate (pauses)--KPMG would be nice; I would hope to be further in my goal to become a CPA by starting my master’s degree in accounting that summer.

What is KPMG?
 Tanise: It is a very well-known accounting firm stationed in New Jersey; there is opportunity for growth and they support recent graduates.

Thank you for clarifying; I would also like to thank you once again for taking the time out of your busy day to sit and talk with me, it was greatly appreciated. I wish you nothing but success and greatness in your future; even though it is evident that you are well on your way to the top.
Tanise: It was a pleasure to sit and talk to you; I hope we have the chance to sit down and talk again at a later date to see how my goals have transpired.

The Troubles of the Post-Collegiate Job Hunt

By Faye Forman                                                                       

As the spring semester draws to a close, the only thing more stressful than finals week is anticipating the bleak summer job or internship market ahead.

While some students have the luxury of traveling abroad, enrolling in pricey summer courses, or have employment waiting for them, it is often the case that many students must search far and wide for a simple entry-level job. Even so, after exploring the potential market, many students find extreme competition where current employees throw out applications, or refuse to accept any at all.

It has also become increasingly common to see adults competing for these entry-level and part-time jobs as well. The same goes for internships, especially unpaid ones, where employers take advantage of interns by assigning them menial tasks. Whether it be a paid summer job, or internship experience, the fact remains: with the U.S. economy in such a slow turn-around, the prospective college or graduate student is likely to be underemployed and competing for employment in McDonalds before they have any hope of entering their studied career field.

Forbes recently published an article by William Baldwin questioning the necessity of the undergraduate college degree. Baldwin states that while it is true that college graduates typically make $1 million more than a non-college grad, the mentality that everyone should attend college specifically to obtain a higher paying job is wrong.

One interesting statistic Baldwin points out is that 115,000 janitorial jobs in the U.S. are held by people with bachelor’s degrees. The “everyone-goes system” is a huge waste of money. Richard Vedder, an economist from Ohio State, explains this janitorial statistic might not be so high if the government didn’t give out Pell grants to all candidates, removing them from the workforce to receive schooling.

While Vedder’s idea is extremely controversial, it should be noted that he speaks from a strictly economic standpoint, not necessarily knocking a well-educated society, but rather supporting a specialized one. For example, Vedder suggests replacing the bachelor degree with a certification degree, especially for those studying liberal arts. Students have the ability to move directly onto nursing, car mechanics, or software specialization rather than spend their time in classes that don’t supply valuable job skills.

As more people with similar qualifications are churned out of colleges, the job market will only continue to become more competitive, and in turn lessen the degree value.

While it is true that some college students and graduates have a smoother job search than others, particularly those with Ivy degrees or students of other especially prestigious schools, it is not always the case. In one instance, Baldwin’s article cites a recent Harvard grad searching for babysitting jobs in the New York City area. After graduating with a Psychology degree in 2011, it would seem as though a college degree can’t guarantee a high paying job, but can it guarantee a job at all?

Abigail Johnson and Tammy Nicastro of Forbes choose to focus on a different aspect of the job crisis. While acknowledging the lack of jobs in recent years, Johnson and Nicastro also point out their frustration with the term “underemployment.” Exactly what the Harvard graduate is experiencing, underemployment, according to both women, is a term used only to facilitate entitlement among young people. Johnson and Nicastro claim it’s arrogant for any young person to assume he or she will get a profitable position upon graduation.

Of course it is necessary to work one’s way up in any employment environment, but I also think after spending over 4 years in an academic setting it’s not unreasonable for a graduate to want a job of their choosing.

Justin Timberlake Joins SNL’s Five-Timers Club

By Toni Ann Buchalski                                               

On March 9, the famous live comedy show Saturday Night Live added singer/performer Justin Timberlake to their Five-Timers Club. This club is exclusively for performers who have had the privilege of hosting the show at least five times or more. According to SNL history, this club was first mentioned during Tom Hanks’ fifth time hosting, which occurred on December 8, 1990. Since then, several elite guests have joined this club. This includes both hosting and musical appearances.

What makes Justin Timberlake so appealing to have him back on SNL so many times? Well, first off his looks are extremely noted by the ladies who make up a majority of his fan base. Second, he is a very talented singer and songwriter. Justin is also known to perform exceptionally well during a live set. Third, Justin has a very comedic personality. His acting skills are as flawless as his musical performances. Justin’s popularity on previous episodes is what makes the SNL production team desire his talent again and again.

Justin’s first appearance on SNL occurred on March 11, 2000. He performed with the boy-band N’Sync. This group is what gave Justin his start to fame. Since then, Justin has appeared on SNL numerous times. He appeared as a host two times, as a musical guest one time and as both guest and host three times. Overall, it took Mr. Timberlake approximately eleven years and seventy one days to become an official member of the Five-Timers Club.

Justin Timberlake has joined a group that includes some of the most well-known names in television and movie history. The Five-Timers Club includes Steve Martin, Elliott Gould, Paul Simon, Alec Baldwin, Danny DeVito, Chevy Chase, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken and Candice Bergen. Club members Steven Martin, Candice Bergen, Paul Simon, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks welcomed Justin into the Five- Timers Club on March 9. The skit started as Justin’s monologue and slowly progressed into an exclusive nightclub where each of the elite members began talking about their past time on SNL.

Justin Timberlake went on performing in the show, making his fifth time hosting a memorable SNL event. It is not only a big deal but an honor to have been asked to host such a prominent show. The fact that Justin is so young is another reason why the experience was a memorable one. Justin is thirty two years old and already a member of the Five-Timers Club. Most of the other members did not reach this level at such a young age or with as much popularity.

Television studio NBC has successfully been producing the show for over thirty years. Club members such as Steven Martin, Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks have hosted so many times that those episodes have been added to the “Best of SNL” compilation. Who knows – maybe Justin Timberlake will one day join the “Best of SNL” group, too.

Chamber Dreams

By Alyssa Ramirez

My brother, Nicholas Ramirez, is an airman in the United States Air Force. In the U.S. military world, no one knows him as simply Nicholas; he is recognized as Airman First Class Ramirez. Ramirez is stationed in Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, which is quite a long way from home. I had the opportunity to interview Ramirez on his most memorable moment while in the Air Force—his experience in the gas chamber during basic training. What follows is a detailed interview I had with Ramirez on this experience.

When was the first time you heard you would be stepping into a gas chamber during training and how did you feel then?
I first heard about it months before I went to basic. I would see videos online about this part of the training experience and it made me nervous. I was afraid of actually doing it.

So how did you feel about it by the time you got to basic?

By the time I got to basic training I was more excited about it. I was actually looking forward to the thrill.

What happened on the morning of that day?
Buses drove us to the compound. That day of training was called CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosives). We walked through a number of buildings, grabbing different pieces of equipment that we would need to go into the gas chamber.

Did you already know how to use the equipment?
No we didn’t. They taught us how to put our equipment on and take it off which they made us do over and over again until we got it right. That was the most annoying part.

Why was it so annoying?
Well, after they made us take our suits, which is called MOPP Gear, on and off we actually had to sit in the suits for hours. Since the equipment was so heavy, it made me sweat and by the time I was able to take it off, I was drenched in sweat.

So what happened next?

After we learned how to put our MOPP Gear on and take it off, they made us put it back on again and go outside to wait in line in order to go in. There were two chambers and our instructors were at the door of each chamber making us wait which built the anticipation evermore. At this point I was so scared.

What did the chamber look like once you got inside?
The chamber was dark and empty; there was nothing in there but a pit in the middle where the tear gas fumes came from. As soon as I walked in I was able to feel the gas on me. It was a different type of feeling and you could just about taste the gas.

Here is the big moment. How was it?
Well they lined us up along the walls of the chamber so we ended up standing in a big square. Our instructors made us do twenty jumping jacks before we took our masks off. Then that moment came. They made us take off our masks and clutch it to our chest. We were supposed to yell out loud our reporting statement as well as our social security number all while we were inhaling the gas.

How did it feel to inhale the tear gas?

The gas was all in my face and the first gasp of breath I took stung my throat; it hurt to breathe. Once we were done reciting our information, we were allowed to leave but the problem was that only two people were allowed out at a time. I was in the middle of the line so you could only imagine how I felt.

What were you thinking when you finally got out?
It was the best feeling in the world to be able to breathe fresh air. My face started to tingle badly from the tear gas and we weren’t allowed to touch our face in order to prevent from spreading the chemicals over our body. We had to hold our arms in a “T” position and walk around. My sinuses were out of control so I was tearing and a lot of snot was coming out of my nose and mouth. Everyone looked horrible and we were all coughing a lot. Some people were crying a lot.

So now that you’ve experienced the gas chamber, how do you feel about your experience?
I thought it was AWESOME!

In the end, Airman First Class Ramirez enjoyed his experience in the gas chamber; an event that many new recruits dread to go through. Ramirez confessed that he would definitely do it again just for the excitement and the adrenaline rush that it gave him. It’s no wonder why he decided to go into the military.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Would Happen Today if the U.S Reinstituted the Military Draft?

By Dan Longarino

Imagine being a young man in your twenties with your whole life ahead of you. Imagine planning out a career, looking for a place of your own and finally getting that first real taste of adulthood. Now imagine receiving a letter from the government ordering you to put all of that on hold. All those listed freedoms taken away from you to bear arms and fight in a war.

In today’s society, the idea of a military draft doesn’t seem to pass through the minds of the younger generation. Many men turn eighteen, become eligible for the draft as they are required to and never think of it again. The government hasn’t put a draft into place since the Vietnam War, but there is always a small chance it could happen again. How would you and your loved ones react? What would you do?

In 1951, Al Diana was drafted to serve in the Korean War. He recently shared some of his thoughts on the topic. At the time Diana was a 21-year-old man, working in his father’s bar and going to school at night to become an accountant. This all changed when he was drafted.

“When I first received the letter in the mail, I didn’t want to go,” Diana stated. “I was very afraid. It was the only time in my life I saw my father cry.” Despite his fears, Diana served his country in the war for two years. When looking back on the experience, he stated, “I’m proud of what I have done. I am proud to have served my country and it is an experience I’ll never forget.” When Diana returned home to the U.S, he was fortunate enough to become an accountant, start a family and live a normal life.

Unfortunately, many men were not so lucky. So many veterans who were both drafted and undrafted come home mentally scared with no jobs and unable to live a normal life. So this brings us back to the original question. How would today’s society react to the draft? In a world dominated by social media where peoples’ opinions are easily voiced, how would this country take to a draft? When asked how he believed a draft would go through in today’s world, Diana responded, “I don’t think it would go well. I only believe in drafts when we are attacked directly. Not when it’s not our business.”

So many people today couldn’t fathom the idea of putting their whole lives on hold to go put their lives on the line. Perhaps this feeling is justified because the majority of politicians and military experts don’t predict a draft anytime in the near future. But who knows what the future has in store for us? The possibility is always out there and it may be in the public’s best interest to not forget what happened to men like Al Diana. Be informed citizens and keep an eye out on what’s going on in the world. 


Spring Break Means Spring Training

By Colleen Pagnani

For college students, March usually means one thing in particular: Spring Break. For a week, they are free to do whatever they want, go wherever they want, and just take advantage of their freedom. For student athletes, however, Spring Break means Spring Training.

One team in particular, the St. Thomas Aquinas College softball team, took advantage of this week to work on their game down in Florida.

Clermont, Florida is the home of the National Training Center where Division II colleges travel to and play softball from the end of February through March. This past week was spring break at STAC. Delay after delay due to an un-spring-like snowstorm, finally the softball team managed to get on their flight and arrive in sunny Florida the night of March 8th.

Throughout the week, the team was scheduled to play eight games with doubleheaders on each of those full days. Not only were there games to be played, but practices were also fit into the schedule. Not to mention the fact that Florida is known for showers during the day so they had to do their best to get the games in.  

The trip did not solely revolve around softball--even though that was the main focus--the team also spent most of Monday enjoying some free time at SeaWorld.

With three starters having graduated from last year’s team, STAC did not have too much to change. Most importantly, the team is surrounded by positive energy and great leadership from the seniors who have experienced the worst to get to this point. Out of the eight games St. Thomas played, they came back to New York having won three and lost five. Though their record could have been better, they played well and came away with wins against very talented teams.

One game in particular stands out. On March 12th STAC was set to face American International University from Springfield, Massachusetts at 9 am. The weather for that day, however, was not too promising for a softball game to be played. The game started on time, but a quick 20 minutes into the game the rain was really coming down.

Both pitchers struggled throwing strikes due to the lack of grip they could get on the softball because of the rain. The third inning STAC broke through offensively, with Toni Ann Groth hitting a bases-clearing grand slam! The problem with that was once that inning was over, the umpire made the call to postpone the game and wait out the storm.

Luckily for St. Thomas and Groth, the game picked up again almost two hours later, keeping the score the way it was.

Coming back from a long break was challenging for the STAC players, yet they still seemed to overcome the adversities the game brings and come out victorious. For the girls on the team, this was a huge game to win, proving to them that they’re just as good as any team out there as long as they work hard and stay focused. They cannot control the uncontrolables.

With their Spring Training trip out of the way, the softball team has hopes of a winning record this year and overall improvement from last year’s season that did not go well. Who knows, though, with all this late season snow and below average temperatures, when they will actually be able to start their season in New York.

Thunder From Down Under

By Kenneth Kirshner

For 21-year-old junior Brian Tompkins, choosing St. Thomas Aquinas College came down to two things: the game of baseball and academics. As a first year participant on the STAC baseball team, Brian--or  “Tompkins” as his teammates call him--can safely say he made one of the better  decisions of his life becoming a Spartan.

Growing up in Wappingers Falls, New York, Brian knew as a young child that he wanted to play college baseball. He knew the only way he could get there would be to practice hard, and study even harder. 

The number one reason Tompkins chose STAC was because of its stellar academic integrity. Tompkins, a graphic design major, is looking to get into his grandfather’s business via the graphic design route. STAC, as many of us know, has a challenging, yet rewarding graphic design program. Brian also chose STAC for its athletic program.

STAC baseball was coming off one of its most successful seasons in program history and Tompkins wanted to be a part of it.  The submarine right-handed pitcher did not get any scholarship offers coming out of Dutchess Community College, but STAC Coach Scott Muscat saw potential in the submariner, and took a chance on Tompkins as a walk-on reliever.

As a second year student at Dutchess Community College, Brian knew he wanted two things out of the college experience, to get the proper advisement and education he needed to get a top notch job in his grandfather’s company and to play the game he loved at the highest level. For most college athletes, playing baseball is more important than academics, but for Tompkins, baseball was put on the back burners for now. 
“The reason I chose STAC was because of the challenging graphic design major it had to offer. They had the best materials and professors, in my eyes, to help me succeed.” When the hard decision was finally made, Tompkins shifted his emphasis to making the baseball team in the fall of 2012.

The dean of St. Thomas Aquinas College is family friends with the Tompkins’. She provided Brian with all of the necessary information about the college and the baseball program to help persuade him to attend in the fall semester. The Spartans are a Division 2 baseball school that participates in the East Coast Conference. For Tompkins, the decision was easy. 

A semester and a half later, his decision was deemed a success. A month into the season, Brian Tompkins leads the Spartans in relief appearances and earned run average. With the starting closer going down due to a torn ACL, Tompkins may be on track to take over the closer role in a short time. Tompkins believes he has the mindset and confidence to take over the prominent role. “Becoming a closer is something I never thought I would be doing when I made the team in the fall. I saw myself as a situational pitcher because of the way I throw,” he said. He will now be heavily relied on due to a number of injuries to the pitching staff.

Knowing that he only has two years left in his baseball career, Tompkins is looking to make the best of it out on the baseball diamond. “I have worked so hard to get to this point and so has everyone else on the squad,” he said. “I believe we could bring St. Thomas Aquinas their first ever East Coast Conference tournament championship. We have all the components of a championship team, starting with the coaching, all the way down to the players.”

His graphic design major and pitching styles go hand in hand. Tompkins is referred to as a “submarine” pitcher, throwing from such a low angle, marking his nickname, “Thunder from Down Under.” Working hard in the classroom turns into hard work on the field for Tompkins. “I give 100% in the classroom. I do not think I have ever had under a 3.0 GPA in any semester in college. That is a true testament to my work ethic on and off the field.”

Looking back on his decision to join STAC, Brian Tompkins has no regrets in the decision he made. “I want to thank everybody who has helped me along the way to get me to where I am today,” he said. Brian Tompkins is the model of a perfect student-athlete always making sure school comes first, then baseball. Tompkins returns to the mound for the first start of his collegiate career against St. Anselm at Provident Bank Park on Sunday, March 17. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Learning to Fly

By Toni Ann Buchalski       

Interview with Robert J. Buchalski Jr. 

Throughout your life what would you say is one of your most memorable experiences?
Robert: One of my most memorable experiences was my third solo cross country trip while working towards my private pilot's license.
How old were you when you completed this third solo cross country flight?
Robert: I think I was around twenty years old.

What kind of an aircraft did you operate?
Robert: It was a Cessna C-152 airplane. It had two seats and a single engine. It was white with blue trim.
Why was a third solo trip necessary to complete?
Robert: I needed three cross country solo trips, a minimum of ten hours of solo flying and a minimum of twenty hours flying with an instructor.

Where did the third solo cross country trip begin?
Robert: It began at the Linden Airport in Linden, New Jersey.
Where was the trip supposed to end?
Robert: I was scheduled to take off from Linden Airport, fly to and land at Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania, and finally land and complete the trip at Cape May County Airport in Cape May, New Jersey. This trip had to be a total of five hours minimum as a requirement in achieving my private pilot's license. 

Why was this trip so memorable to you?
Robert: I had planned this trip numerous times before actually going through with it. The frequency, flight plan and fuel consumption had all been calculated. However, I could not control the weather, which is why this trip was so memorable. This cross country flight took place around August in 1979. I arrived at the Linden Airport an hour before takeoff. The weather was below minimum for en route ground track. Basically, the V.F.R., or visual flight rules, stated that there had to be at least a three mile pan of visibility. The visibility on that day was around one mile.

So what did you decide to do then?

Robert: I decided to hang around and wait about an hour for improvement. After this hour there was enough improvement for me to move on and really start my trip.
Were you nervous about takeoff, or even nervous about flying alone in general?
Robert: Not really. The Delta pilots at Linden Airport told me to stay in contact with the control tower at Harrisburg International Airport and to request a special V.F.R. permit to land if needed. 

Was the flight successful from Linden to Harrisburg?

Robert: After the pre-flight routine, the fuel check and the filed flight plan, I took off. Two hours into the flight I called Harrisburg and advised them that I had the intention to land with A.T.I.S. information, A.T.I.S. meaning automated terminal information service. The trip was very uneventful and the visibility was extremely poor. I had forgotten to ask for a special V.F.R. permit, so the control tower was a bit confused by my A.T.I.S. I notified them that I was a student pilot working on my third solo cross country trip.

Was the control tower helpful?
Robert: They could sense that I was a little hesitant in regards to landing due to the visibility and the fact that I was flying solo. They asked me if I had any requests. This triggered my reaction to ask for a special V.F.R. to land at Harrisburg.
What did you do after landing?
Robert: I parked the plane and refueled. In the pilots’ lounge I had the Delta pilots sign my log book confirming that I had completed half of my trip. They were in disbelief that my instructor had such confidence in me flying solo under such poor conditions. One pilot signed the book "arrived alive." 

Did you stay overnight at the Harrisburg International Airport?
Robert: No. I actually got back in Cessna C-152, received my V.F.R. for departure and was on my way to Cape May County Airport. Due to the circumstances, I requested flight following. This allowed me to talk to air control to ensure I was on the right course and to be notified of the altitude and any possible air traffic.

Did you encounter any problems on your way to Cape May County Airport?
Robert: The visibility was only at one mile. I really couldn't see where I was flying to. I crossed the Delaware Bay diagonally. I was three thousand feet over the water with only one mile visibility. The trouble for V.F.R. pilots in this situation is that there is no horizon to look at. A pilot could become easily disoriented and lose control. 

Did you lose control at all?
Robert: I remember talking to the controller. If I missed Cape May County Airport then I would still be flying out over the water, unsure of where land was. The controller heard my nervousness and helped guide me a little more because he knew I was still a student.
Did you successfully land the plane?
Robert: I lowered the nose of the plane slightly, and as a result I had a visual of the Cape May County Airport.

What happened after you landed?
Robert: I got my log book signed by more Delta pilots to confirm that I had completed another portion of my trip. After four hours of flying solo, I rested for one hour at Cape May. I refueled the Cessna and took off again.

Where were you headed to now?
Robert: I was headed back to Linden Airport. The visibility was still extremely poor so basically hugged the ground. I flew the entire shoreline from Cape May to Sandy Hook at five hundred feet above sea level. I even took a spin around New York Harbor. I landed at Linden Airport with my total flight time estimated at five hours and twenty minutes.
Was your third cross country solo trip successfully completed?
Robert: Yes.

What made you want to fly?
Robert: I found it very interesting and focusing. A lack of focus is what causes people conflict and life threatening accidents. I liked the challenge of staying focused. It has helped me throughout my life.
If given the opportunity, would you do it all over again?
Robert: Yes, I would like to do it all over again.

Pope Francis

By Stephanie Costantino

Ever since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11th, the world has been buzzing about who would become the next Pope of the Catholic Church. For the past month, the cardinals of Vatican City have been working hard to elect a new pope, and finally on March 13th, it was decided that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would become the new Pope Francis.

The world was shocked when Pope Benedict XVI, elected as pope in April 2005, announced his resignation from his papal duties. Pope Benedict cited "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his old age as his reason for resigning, and was officially resigned from his papacy on February 28th.

Pope Benedict XVI is the first Pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. He is also the first to do so by his own choice, the most recent before him being Pope Celestine V in 1294.

After his resignation, the cardinals of Vatican City needed to go through a very elaborate process in order to elect the new pope to succeed Benedict XVI. The cardinals gather and are locked in the Sistine Chapel for voting, where they cast secret ballots every day until a new Pope is elected.

Nine cardinals’ names are selected at random: three of them serve as voting judges, or “scrutineers”, three collect the votes of any cardinals who are absent due to sickness, and three “revisers” look over the work of the scrutineers. Each cardinal writes down on a paper ballot who they believe is fit to be the new pope. Once this is finished, the scrutineers read over each ballot and check each name. They count the votes to see if anyone has gotten the majority they need to be elected, and the revisers check for any possible mistakes. If the votes are inconclusive, the votes are burned and black smoke is visible from the Sistine Chapel. Once the pope has been elected, the ballots are burned and this time white smoke is visible.

On March 13th, the white smoke was seen in the Vatican City when Pope Francis was elected. Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he served as priest when he was ordained in 1969. In 1998, he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, after previously serving as the head of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973-1979. In 2001, he became a cardinal.

When Bergoglio was elected, he chose the papal name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis is 76 years old and is reportedly in good health. Pope Francis is the first of many new occurrences in papal history. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope to come from the Americas, and the first pope to be from the southern hemisphere. Being a Jesuit, and believing in the ideals of living simply, Francis dressed in a plain white robe instead of a red one, and preferred to ride in a minibus with his fellow cardinals instead of a private car.

Many people are reacting in different ways to the new Jesuit pope, because it is so much different than Pope Benedict before him. Some are finding it difficult to adjust to the change, but others, such as Father Spadaro, an editor of La Civilta Cattolica, which is a Jesuit journal in Rome, believe “It’s a good chance for us to help people to understand better our spirituality.”

Deadline Tips from a Municipal Reporter

By Stephanie Costantino

Upon reading the profile of Ross Markman in Newswriting On Deadline, I found out many interesting things about being a municipal reporter. It is apparent to me, after reading this article that it is important to be on top of things when writing a piece given a deadline. 

In one instance, Markman said he was able to write a story in 30 minutes, due to the fact that he had done research in advance. I think that it is definitely a good idea to have done some sort of prior research before covering any event or story, because if you are looking to conduct an interview or ask any sort of questions, you are already familiar with the situation and know the types of questions, and responses, you want to ask/hear in advance. 

Also in the article, Markman talks about deciding what’s newsworthy when dealing with multiple topics of interest. He says that “the more people affected by an issue, the bigger the story,” and I agree with this statement. If more people are passionate about a topic or issue, and that issue is published in a newspaper, more people will buy that paper because they will be interested, and in return this makes for good business for the newspaper company.

Markman’s article is about a topic that people in the area were passionate about. The people of the town as well as the storeowners were concerned with the fact that people were exceeding the parking limit. In Markman’s article, he discusses the opinions of the Mayor, and some storeowners. He also included in his article of the fact that some of the storeowners who complained to the mayor did not even attend the council meeting. I think that this was a good point to add because it shows that not everybody was represented, and even though they cared enough to complain over the phone, they couldn’t be bothered to come to the meeting to discuss what could be done.

A Journalist’s Life

By Toni Ann Buchalski

Reading “Real Reporter: Ross Markman” has given me insight into what it takes to become a part of the world of journalism. Markman describes in this profile how becoming a municipal reporter has changed his life and helped him learn a great deal about reporting. Journalism is not an easy task to take on, especially when coming right out of college.

This profile explains that because Markman became a reporter for a small, local newspaper he has had much experience with writing on a deadline. He has also had experience in writing more than ten articles within one week. This is not an easy task. Markman was up for every challenge he faced. He described that in order to write a proper article, one must do their research before and after talking to sources or conducting interviews. The importance of this is to achieve the efficiency and accuracy needed to complete the story that is to be included within the paper. 

One issue that Markman wrote about concerned a two-hour parking limit that the public was over exceeding in front of downtown shops. Markman talked to some of the citizens along with a few store owners. Then, Markman covered a meeting between the town council and the mayor. He was able to complete his story within a half hour. This is very impressive. Only certain reporters can succeed under pressure and deadlines.

I admire Markman's determination and self discipline. He was a young college student who did not even have a Bachelor's degree when moving out to Montana to pursue a career in journalism. He noted in the profile that he had an internship previously in a town not far from his home. With things not progressing, Markman decided to move out to Montana and take a job reporting for the Havre Daily News. I felt that this was a very courageous decision. 

Markman further explained how he believes that actual work experience is much more important than just earning a degree. I agree with him completely. Experience in a field that you want to pursue not only looks good on resumes, but the skills acquired during the process are rewarding. A college degree is necessary in today's world, but a degree along with experience is what will keep a reporter on top and succeed in the business.

In conclusion, Markman describes the highlights he found in journalism. In this field of work, one can go any where in the world just to cover a story or find out more information. I believe that this field is well worth the hard work and determination. Journalism is an interesting career that will be lasting and changing forever.

The Makings of a Municipal Reporter

By Roxie Farina

The article in Newswriting on Deadline featuring Ross Markman, a municipal reporter, mentioned many different useful strategies. Markman's story introduces the readers to a variety of approaches that a reporter must follow in order to become successful and meet a tight deadline. 

Ross Markman is a reporter for the Havre Daily News in north central Montana. He covers a variety of different areas within the news, for example: “governments, city government and the local schools.” At a larger newspaper these topics would be separated and divided into their own beat, but because the Havre Daily News paper is so small, they combine all of these into one beat. You would think a reporter would only want to be responsible for one of these beats, but Markman says covering all of these “gives him lots of great experience because he sometimes writes 10 or more articles a week.” Many of these articles have a tight deadline that Markman has to follow, and despite that he only has a few years experience; he’s already “a real pro at banging out news copy quickly.”

After listening in on a city council meeting, Markman was able to write the story in about 30 minutes. In order “to write that quickly a reporter has to do his homework before the meeting ever starts.” I like the fact that Markman mentions doing some ‘homework’ before sitting in on a meeting because it shows the readers that there is a lot of extra work that is put into reporting. You can’t expect to gather all the information you could possibly need for your story in a 60 minute meeting; you have to do some research about the topic prior to the meeting. Markman also mentions, “It’s key, if you’re writing on deadline, to get background material ahead of time on the issues being discussed.” Not only should you research the material before hand, but you should also reach out to some of the people attending the meeting and seek their input on the subject.

Another strategy Markman talks about is determining what is “newsworthy.” “The more people affected by an issue, the bigger the story,” summarized textbook author Tony Rogers, who profiles Markman. Depending on the meeting agenda, and if several different issues are spoken about, Markman might write a separate story for each important topic. Toward the end of the article, Markman shares his college background with us and I was surprised to see that he only earned his associates degree. Despite his college background, Markman has a great deal of experience within the news writing field. He has had several different jobs, and he has left his comfort zone to enhance his career, which shows how dedicated he is.

In conclusion, I feel his article about the city council meeting was full of great information. Markman also quoted many people which shows good credibility and attention to detail. I feel the more people you quote in your article shows that you were very involved in the meeting and you took the time to go back and question certain issues in order to help your audience fully understand the topic of the meeting and how it may affect them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What I Learned from Lillian Ross

By Kenneth Kirshner

I learned a lot of useful information from “Letter from Lillian Ross” and her guidelines to reporting. Almost all of the facts and information in the piece are useful in one way or another. 

I was pretty shocked when Lillian stated that journalism teachers and even editors nowadays ask reporters to be a “fly on the wall” when doing different stories. I believe that is foolish because like she does, I believe every writer’s style is completely different, you cannot just teach how to report/write in one particular style. One must report a story in the way that feels most natural and comfortable to them.

The part of her letter that drew me in was her “working guidelines.”  The main points I took away from her guidelines were to write with clarity and simplicity and that reporters must get straight to the point and not “beat around the bush.”

She also states she doesn’t like writing about people she doesn’t like. I feel reporters need to write about people they do like because they can get creative with that particular story if it is one of their own personal interests. A reporter could sound negative when talking about a certain person, and possibly give a bad reputation towards that person. 

Another point I took away from her guidelines was that when given permission to interview someone, you are being given a responsibility towards that person’s life, almost obtaining a friendship with that person. You can become close with the people you interview throughout your career, so you need to protect their reputation as best you can, so you could protect your own reputation for future interviews to come or else nobody will give you permission to interview them at any point in time.

Finally, I believe in this statement from Lillian, “I resist taking a writing assignment for financial reasons.”  Everybody in society should work because they love what they do, not just for the money they obtain. This is with any job, whether it be teaching, reporting, professional athlete, or electricians. One must love what they do and be happy at what they do over the financial aspects of a job.

This was a well-written report by Ms. Ross that provides a lot of influential guidelines for young, aspiring reporters.  

Ross Markman’s Helpful Tips

By Cinterra Lucas

Reporter Ross Markman provides some informative tips about working as a municipal reporter. “If you are writing on deadline, get background material ahead of time on the issues being discussed,” is a useful tip because if a news report has to be submitted at a certain time, it is best to get your background information ahead of time.

Markman writes “You have to determine what’s newsworthy.” This was also a useful tip because you always want to present something that people are interested in. Based on how many people are affected allows you to know if you will have a big story or not. You never want to publish an article that is only relative to one individual; make sure you think about others as well.

One last tip that I gathered by reading this article was mainly relative to myself as a current student: Ross Markman says “I think real work experience is more important.” As a college student I put a lot of emphasis on taking an internship and by reading about someone else’s experiences; it just motivates me even more. It is one thing to be taught but at times individuals learn more by actually being in the act of doing something, in Ross’s case being a municipal reporter.


A Memorable Wedding Day

By Roxie Farina

If you ever stop to ask a grown woman what they dreamed about as a young girl, most of them will say their wedding day. After growing up and maturing into a beautiful young woman, my oldest sister Michele made that fantasy a reality. Her wedding day was not only very special to her and her husband, Jeremiah, but it was also a memorable experience for myself and my family as well.

After hearing about the engagement, my sister Christie and I were extremely excited for the soon-to-be newlyweds. We began to realize that Jeremiah would be the first brother out of his family to get married, making “the wedding also special for him because he was the oldest sibling out of his four brothers,” said Michele.

Another interesting fact that my sister pointed out during this interview is “for the first time in our lives that all our family and friends were in the same place at the same time.” Two out-going and crazy families together for one night can only mean one thing- a good time!

When deciding on a venue, Michele and Jeremiah only had one thing in mind: “we wanted the wedding to be held on the sixteenth of the month.” Being that sixteen has always brought my family luck, and Jeremiah’s favorite number was seven, they booked their wedding date for July 16th, 2011.

They originally wanted to have a destination wedding, “but after all was said and done it ended up being even more special to have it here, close to home, because all my family and friends were able to attend, especially grandparents,” said Michele.

They settled on The Landmark in East Rutherford, NJ. Rutherford has played a special significance in my sister’s life, as well as my family’s throughout the years. My grandparents grew up and hung out in Rutherford, and my sister “worked in Rutherford for almost 8 years.” Although there are many places located in Jersey to have her wedding, she ended up choosing The Landmark because over the years she has had many different holiday work parties and special award dinners there. The food is great and the location isn’t too far from home.

Many of the people who helped make this day as memorable as possible were also very close to Michele. The hair and makeup was done by our family friend, Mary. “She has been cutting my hair since I was old enough to remember,” said Michele. Having someone who is close to you be a part of your wedding makes the day even more special.

Another close, but very important person, who married Michele and Jeremiah was Mrs.Shankey. She was Michele’s kindergarten teacher and has played an important role throughout her life. “She has always been a special person to me.”

When it came time to choose a wedding song, Michele and Jeremiah knew just which one to pick: “Our first song was a Dave Matthews song, who is also both our favorite artist.” One year before, on July 16th 2010, they both attended a Dave Matthews Concert and heard “You and Me” for the first time. They immediately knew “this would be the perfect song to choose for our wedding day.”

Aside from Dave Matthews, they both share a special love for the New York Yankees. Instead of wearing your traditional wedding attire, while being introduced for the first time as husband and wife, Jeremiah walked out in a white, pin striped Mariano Rivera Yankee jersey over his tux. This brought many laughs and smiles to everyone’s faces which started the night off just right.

All in all, I feel personalizing your wedding with your favorite interest and having close family members and friends be a part of your special day makes it memorable. Without the help from our family and friends, this wedding wouldn’t have been as special as it was and I’m proud to say that “I’ve never seen Michele more happy and complete!”

My Friend Nicole

By Faye Forman

I remember the first time I met Nicole Iorio. It was the summer going into sixth-grade, sometime during July. Much to my dismay, my mother had just enrolled me into a summer camp a few towns over, and the only thing I loathed more than that camp was Nicole, and the feeling was more than mutual. 

Luckily, over time (a week) Nicole and I outgrew our deep-seated hatred for each other, as most immature sixth-grade girls do. Bonding over our strangely similar love of cats, awkward fashion sense and Pokémon cards, Nicole and I developed a friendship that was fostered throughout the summer.

Nine years later, the depth of our friendship maintains despite physical barriers. Nicole, who turns twenty in June, is majoring in Communication Disorders at SUNY New Paltz. Aside from her environmental activism through the NYPIRG, and volunteering at Ulster Country Awareness, a peer-for-peer drug-counseling program, Nicole enjoys the abundance of outdoor activities the town of New Paltz has to offer. 

“ I really like the environment that it (New Paltz) is in. You’re minutes away from a friendly town but you’re also surrounded by so many places to go hiking and to appreciate the natural things around you,”she said. Nicole also enjoys exploring Lake Minnewaska State Park, Mohonk Mountain House, Bear Cliff, and Peters Kill State Park with her roommates.

A Long Island native, Nicole visits the beach during the summer in addition to all of her other outdoorsy activities. “It’s a very tranquil environment, and I love swimming!” She is an avid reader and enjoys the Thai Restaurant ‘Lemongrass,’ nestled in New Paltz’s quirky and student-populated town.

Despite Nicole’s healthy way of life, she was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes, on January 23. Originally, Nicole went to the doctor to get an X-ray because she felt fluid in her lungs, and coincidentally the cancer mass was found. 

“I was scared and upset because I had to come home from school and I didn’t really know what I was going to deal with, but at the same time I was grateful because I thought ‘yay!’ this is very treatable and it could have been worse,” she recalls.

So far, Nicole has undergone two treatments of chemotherapy, which she explains, equates to one cycle. “I’m supposed to get six cycles done overall. In April I’m getting a PET scan done to see the progress so far.”

One of the hardest parts aside from constantly feeling tired and sore, Nicole explains, is losing her hair. 

“Well it’s starting to fall out. I’m getting used to it though, I cut it to try to make it a little less traumatic and I got a wig in case I do feel uncomfortable, I have a great support system and a loving family to help me ease the burden,” she says. A few days ago, one of Nicole’s roommates sent her a pink wig for fun, and she picked up a curly brunette wig as well.

Nicole also explained that she’s taking an online class in disorders of child language, and two classes over the summer so she doesn’t fall behind in school.

Nicole’s positive attitude and approach toward the diagnosis is certainly a huge factor in the treatment process. 

“I always want to look at life with a ‘glass half full’ mentality,” Nicole says. “I can be positive or negative about the whole process, but either way I’ll still have cancer so I might as well have the best attitude about it that I can.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

To learn more, donate, or cheer Nicole on, please visit:
Relay for Life

Learning from a Municipal Reporter

By Alyssa Hamilton

 In the reading of “Real Reporter: Ross Markman,” a student of journalism can learn some very valuable pieces of information, especially in municipal reporting. He suggests several ways to cope with tight deadlines, such as doing your homework before attending a public meeting and writing this information into a background copy, also known as a B-copy. I had never heard of a B-copy before, but this seems like a fabulous idea since you can just add the new information to it after attending the meeting and have a full story in a short amount of time after the assembly. In doing so, you can meet the deadline you have for the assignment.

He also says that a good way to discern what the most newsworthy issue being discussed at a meeting is to determine which will affect the most people. This is a good point to make because, while something may be interesting or unique at a municipal gathering, it may not affect many people, and so it wouldn’t be important to know as a citizen living in that town or city. It is also good that you can get several stories if enough important issues are discussed  at a meeting. Then, you can give people who weren’t at the meeting the highlights in separate sections that will communicate what happened with background information so a citizen can stay informed, which is the ultimate goal of a journalist.

The news story written by Ross Markman was also helpful since it showed how he used his skills to create the final product. His style of writing kept me interested, despite me not living in the area he was talking about. The lead hooked me right in, and the narrative nature and use of interviewing made the story fascinating to me, so I kept on reading. The background information he gave was very useful since I am entirely unfamiliar with the subject matter of the story and helped me understand the issue at hand.

I also appreciated how he also included what some of the business owners had to say on the matter and not just what occured at the town meeting. It gave the story another dimension that helped the reader fully grasp the situation. His story did everything it needed to do, and so it was very successful and a great example of newswriting.

A Magnificent Experience

By Jeremy St. Clair 

Phil Catalanotto is a junior at St Thomas Aquinas College with a major of philosophical studies and a minor in communications.  A memorable experience happened this past summer when he went to the national teaching action conference in Forest Hills, Illinois, right outside of Chicago.

Only 20 students were chosen to go to this event, which is part of the reason it was memorable to him. They spent a week in community prayer and workshops. The conference was led by the Dominican Sisters. At the conference the people can just be themselves and say their true religious faith and what they believe. Groups of four or five people gather together for them to express themselves.

One activity they did was a nun hands out an homily which she says is educational and inspirational. She wants the college students to look over the homily and write beliefs they have from reading it and what they perceive from it. During the day the students did services such as helping elderly people and help out with gardening at schools.

Another event was guided meditation. That is a type of meditation where the students are walked through different chakras of their body. They did this to have a more inner relationship with God and so God would have a presence in their lives. After the meditation, there was a breakout when Phil learned how to preach.

After the conference ended on Sunday, at morning mass the students had a different role to play in the mass. Phil was the altar server in which he assisted the priest with making the altar for the communion and held the cross. During this there was a homily about making a difference. After that the students were called by college and each of them read a petition about what they learned and what they would do from this experience. The students who got up were presented with a Dominican cross by the sister who ran the conference. The students were told to preach and live by the gospel.

It was a memorable experience for Phil because only a few people are chosen to do this and it was something he would get to experience once. It also gave Phil the chance to express his own beliefs during the homily assignment and when he did the service. He also had a good experience in leading the meditation. And he also enjoyed helping out with the service carrying the cross. All in all, it was a magnificent experience, he said, and if he had the choice he would go again.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Writing on Deadline for City Council Meetings

By Alyssa Ramirez

The book Newswriting on Deadline by Tony Rogers contains a feature story on Ross Markman who is a reporter on the Havre Daily News in north central Montana. Markman covers news on the county government, city government, and the local schools. This feature story explains how Markman is a great reporter and one who writes stories fairly quickly, usually writing about 10 or more stories a week.

Markman usually covers meetings of the Havre City Council on Mondays. In this feature story, he gives useful tips on how to cover events fairly quickly and in a professional manner. The topic at one important meeting that Markman covered was the parking problem in the downtown streets. People were parking on the main streets for longer than two hours and this was posing a problem for the city. Markman wrote this story after about 30 minutes of the meeting concluding. How did he do it?

Well, he gives interesting tips on how to quickly cover a story and in a professional manner, using this specific meeting as an example. One important tip that stood out to me was the fact that he had done background research on the topic of the meeting before the meeting ever took place. Markman says, “it’s key, if you’re writing on deadline, to get background material ahead of time on the issue being discussed.” He says that he’ll usually already have written out a “B-copy” or background copy on the information about that topic before the meeting takes place. During the meeting he’ll just have to fill in important things that happen and that are said during the meeting.

Markman brings up another important key to writing a good story for council meetings. He says that it’s important to write a lead that’s on the most important and “newsworthy” issues of the meeting. This is usually what the public will be most affected by. Other issues that go on during the meeting could be left for the end of the article or even left out all together. The rest of this feature story explains how Markman got his experience and his future goal of going back to school in order to get his bachelor’s degree. I thought this piece was very interesting and useful because it gave good tips on how to cover a story quickly.