Blog 5 – Andrea Nelson


My third story has potential to be my best of the semester.  The only issue I have at this point is interviewing my source, which I realize is a very big problem.  We’ve been playing phone tag for almost a week now and even though it is frustrating, I’m more than willing to wait for this story because I feel confident about its potential.

My source’s name is Amy Blizzard and she’s lived in New Jersey for over ten years.  She was in New Jersey during the September 11 attacks and saw the plane hit the second tower.  I think writing a feature story about Amy’s experience is going to be an exceptional piece.  I’ve never spoken to a person who witnessed the event and offer the unique firsthand experience.  I want it to be an emotional piece that draws the reader’s attention.

I understand the issues I’m facing contacting my source are very important to deadlines.  I had the opportunity to interview other people, but I want to tell Amy’s story.  Being able to write a feature story about a person who witnessed the greatest tragedy in recent history is a challenge and privilege that I want to take advantage of.  I’ve already spoken with Amy and she has agreed to do the interview, the only issue is finding a time when we are both available.  Despite these difficulties, I’m very confident that this is going to be one of my best stories and am looking forward to sharing it with my readers.

Blog #4 – Andrea Nelson


For my third story I will be doing my first feature of the semester.  I wanted the focus of this story to be about how people responded to the 9/11 attacks and coped with the tragedy.  My initial thought was to get the reactions of several different people, but then decided a feature would be the best way to approach this subject and I’m excited with the path it’s beginning to take.

The first person I am going to try to feature is the daughter of one of my neighbors.  She was in New York at the time of the attacks and after hearing the first plane hit the first tower, she witnessed the second plane’s collision.  Since she saw the event firsthand I think she offers a perspective of the attacks that millions of people can’t.

I’m still trying to get a hold of this source, and if I am not able to reach her soon I might have to pick another person to feature.  Contacting this source through two sets of parents is more difficult than I first thought!  If this source doesn’t work, I will have to brainstorm additional ideas and am always open to suggestions from anyone who has a story to tell.

Blog #3 – Andrea Nelson


I have to laugh as I “plan” my third story.  Neither of my first two stories ended up being exactly what I had planned.  It’s hard to say where my third one will take me.  But that’s journalism.  You have to be flexible, because when you’re researching one story a better one might come to the surface.  You’ll have to drop all of those wonderful ideas you had to package one story and start from scratch on another.  Inconvenient?  Yes.  Is it worth your time? Absolutely.

The first story I wrote focused on the affect 9/11 had on Muslim-Americans.  The second story concentrated on how Americans’ sense of security was affected by 9/11.  For my third story, I would like to look at how Americans used sports to ease the pain of 9/11.  I think this ties together because I’m looking at how 9/11 affected Muslim-Americans sense of security and comfort in the United States, Americans’ sense of security and I would tie it together by looking at one way these people coped with the tragedy of 9/11 collectively.

This story has the potential to be very visual.  If I’m able to obtain video from the television station I work at, I will have footage of the games immediately after 9/11 and the 10th anniversary where several different teams paid tribute to the 9/11 victims.  I’m also going to speak with a coach, player or athletic director about how their sport was used as an outlet on 9/11 and someone who attended an athletic event soon after the attacks.  It’s an emotional story that I believe is important to tell 10 years after the tragedy of 9/11.


My experience with the Lansing Airport – Blog 4

As we travel deeper and deeper into the semester, and grow father away from the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, I find myself scrambling for a story idea that can relate to my overall beat of how the attacks impacted the campus of Michigan State University.

Thankfully, I lucked out and was able to join forces with a fellow classmate Jill Silverstein, to create a video about the security in the Lansing Airport. We traveled there on a whim hoping that we would be able to conduct some interviews and get enough footage to put together a short film.

While I was there I got very lucky and started talking with a girl that looked about my age. She was a senior at MSU and was flying to Arizona for a job interview. I was able to interview her about her experiences with the attacks and how she thinks it impacted the amount of people flying to and from school. In addition to her interview I got to talk to several airport staff members about what it was like on Sept. 11, and if they knew then that so many things would change within their career industry.

The last interview I am going to use for the video is that of a business woman who was actually in the air during the attacks and had to be re-routed to Canada in order to land safely. I think that those interviews on top of the B-Roll I shot on the scene will create a very visual story about what it was like to travel before the attacks, and what is different now.

Blog 5: Idioms

During my initial interview with Rich, he mentioned that new English speakers have the hardest time with our idioms. Since then, I’ve been thinking about some of the things we say that really don’t make any sense. For example:

“She drives me up the wall.” She can drive up walls? That must be some car!

“That cracks me up.” …Do you need lotion?

“It’ll put hair on your chest.” Gross.

Blog 7

I spent the majority of my afternoon at The State News — where I currently hold a staff reporting position — writing about other people and their life stories. So I think on this blog I am going to talk about myself for a while.

As a senior at Michigan State University, it’s incredible to look back on my experiences thus far. Sophomore year I began writing satirical columns for the weekly lifestyle publication, The Blacksheep Newspaper, which introduced me to editorial writing and the importance of deadlines. That summer, I was chosen to study visual communications and information graphics in Spain, while expanding my knowledge of foreign cultures. I learned how to take the experiences we were having in another country and turn them into information that could be portrayed in different ways through charts, maps and graphs. I was hired junior year by the award-winning public relations firm, Lezotte Miller Public Relation Inc., where I helped counsel clients in the environmental, business, health care, economic development and education industries. I wrote press releases on a daily basis and was responsible for sending out those releases to various publications around the state of Michigan.

In the summer of 2011, I was hired by The Bay City Times and was responsible for finding story leads, covering events, shooting my own photos, creating print pieces and posting online several times a day. When I returned to school my senior year and landed a staff reporting position at Michigan State’s award-winning newspaper, The State News. Both positions were overwhelming and at times incredibly difficult, but I learned more about managing tight deadlines, multimedia and reporting, than I could have ever hoped for.

Whether it be reporting news in print, through an online video, on television or a combination of all three, my goal is to report in a fast-paced atmosphere.  I know this will not come easy and the world of professional journalism is incredibly competitive, but I am more than willing to put in the effort to succeed in a career I genuinely love.

Blog 6

It wasn’t until last week that I realized being persistent is an absolute must in the journalism industry. After three emails, two phone calls — one to his cell and one to his office — and two visits to his office hours, I still had not heard back from a professor. So I finally just started to wait outside of his office thinking to myself, “He had to stop here eventually.”

He complimented me on my persistency and it was then that I realized I might be able to make it in the journalism field.

I’m going to have to use this persistency again because my last and final story for the JRN 400 class is going to be based on an MSU student who immigrated here from Hungary with her family. But unfortunately, she has been a bit flaky when it comes to getting back to me on when we can do the interview for my story. With two days left before the first draft is due, I do not know whether I’ll be able to get an actual copy of my story to hand in, but I’m going to try. If I can’t get an interview with her parents yet, maybe I’ll be able to at least get an interview with her so I can have the key piece to my story.

I also want to be able to get some photos of her and her family to show their transition from Hungary to the United States. I don’t know if I’ll get this lucky, but I also think that it would be amazing if they had taken pictures of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. If I am able to get several photos, I’d like to combine them with some audio of her parents talking in Hungarian, and her translating over them.

Blog 5

With my busy schedule this year it feels like the semester has flown by and I’m almost shocked when I look at the calendar and realize that it is already November. It is harder to believe that our JRN 400 class already is starting to come up with final project ideas.

Throughout the semester it has been progressively more difficult to come up with story ideas, as the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks grows farther away. My original idea for the final was to combine short feature stories of alumni that were on campus, attending classes in 2001. I wanted to get a real portrayal about what it was like, asking the alumni about the atmosphere on campus that day and several days after, the impact the attacks had on campus security, and whether or not they personally knew anyone that died.

But after calling more than five alumni and not hearing back from anyone, I decided that it was time to find another final project. I was discussing my dilemma in another journalism class and got very lucky. A friend overheard my conversation and mentioned the fact that she knows a Michigan State University student that lived in New York City during the attacks and still lives there today. This would be just another ordinary story with just that information, but she also is an immigrant, who moved here with her mother and father when she was 6 years old.

I thought this would make a good story package because I could interview her mother and father as well. Neither speak very good english but the girl said she could translate for me which will help.

I want to get all sides of this story, starting with the girl, Kinga, who had to start grade school immediately after moving to the United States. She did not know anyone, did not speak the language, and her family was living off of food stamps for several months after because work was hard to find. It didn’t take long for her to make the adjustment, learning the language in about a year, and joining in with her classmates. Her parents’ adjustments weren’t as smooth but they both have successful jobs now and I want to touch on that as well.

Then I will get in to the Sept. 11 attacks, and how they felt it affected the city, the country, and their own lives living in Queens. After just moving to America a couple years before that, it must have been frightening having that happen so close to where they live after just getting settled.

In addition to the print story I want to put together some photos of Kinga and her family. Some will be complementary photos that she supplies, and others will be taken by me during and after the interview.

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