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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 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.

Spartan Online News: PROFILE – Dr. Mohammad Khalil

Debunking Myths About Islam

Islam and 9/11: Memories

Islam and 9/11: Reflections

Blog 4 – Zach Berridge

Alright, so my next topic was a little difficult to finally settle on. I wanted to do something with social media aspects but felt I needed more. After going back and forth between my first couple options, I decided to write about the effects social medias would have if they were around during 9/11. More specifically, how would the media have covered the events that took place that day had they had the tools available.

I’ve got a pretty good shell of what I’m going to write. In addition to the written piece, I plan on doing a short graphic (not quite as detailed as my earlier one) that would show some potential Tweets (at least) that some of the reporters might have sent during that time. It will compliment the story nicely as it gives the reader something interesting to look at besides text.

I will be talking with a communications specialist at a news network to get some perspective. Another person still needs to be in the story, I think, so I’ll have to do a little searching to find someone that has something interesting to say. Once I find that person, I can put the story together and even add some cool things to the graphic, if it allows me to do so.

Blog 3 – Zach Berridge

Well, my story one and two combo has been a pain, mainly because I’m STILL waiting on the availability of one of my sources.  Aside from that, and once I am able to get it, the rest of the piece should be quick to put together, just hopefully by Friday night.  On one hand, I was happy that I was able to improvise and make a nice print article out of some shortcomings, but on the other, I was upset that I couldn’t make a video like I originally wanted to.  The graphic will be a nice addition, but that isn’t going to be done until I get the rest of the information that I need either.

So, looking ahead to story number three, I am realizing that my “beat” may be a little bit narrow.  I am not sure which way to go with this, and it’s difficult to come up with something interesting and attainable to research and present.  On top of this, it will only become more difficult as 9/11 becomes farther and farther in the past.  I’ll have to work hard to be able to come up with something interesting and new for Friday’s MAESTRO deadline.

In spite of the difficulties, I might have one idea.  I read an article on which talked about how security has changed as a result of 9/11.  The interesting part was how they related it to a much more recent topic of the Christmas Underwear Bomber.  The article talks about how we have made progress in securities, and, as patriotic Americans, we want to see terrorists receive the ultimate justice in most cases.  If these culprits were caught outside the country, our military force could deal with them in any way they wanted to.  For these aforementioned bombers, they were caught in the US, so they have to deal with our legal systems.  The whole story is based off of why terrorists hate us (and they suggest militant Islam), but that’s a possible separate story.  I might have to dig a little bit farther into this.

Blog #2

By Courtney Zott

This story was hard to find. For a university that is chock full of international students – 14 percent of the freshman class alone – it sure requires a good amount of diligence and cunning to find someone both interesting and willing to talk. Which is unfortunate, because it’s usually the ones who don’t talk that have the most to say.

Anyway, one thing I’ve learned over these past three years, and what they don’t teach you in school, is that planned questions get planned answers. I’d always wondered why my sources sounded like uptight answering machines until I realized that I sounded like one big, eager to please euphemism. In other words, an interview is a conversation, not a polite interrogation. And when was the last time anyone told the truth to someone looking for a lie? It’s not enough to want a quote, you’ve got to want an answer.

Q & A with Kinga Krisztian: An immigrant at nine years old making the transition

MSU art history senior Kinga Krisztian, spent the first nine years of her life comfortably living in Budapest, Hungary. When her mother Ildiko, and father Laszlo, made the life-changing decision to transport their lives across the world, Kinga Krisztian was thrown into an unfamiliar world where she barely spoke the language and was expected to attend elementary school with children and teachers that treated her like an outsider.

Below is a more in depth Q & A that was cut from the audio piece due to space constraints.

Q: Why did your family choose to move to America?

A: My grandmother already had moved to the States and she really wanted us to follow her there.

 Q: What were your feelings about the move?

A: I think I was too young to understand. I thought it was kind of cool. I didn’t really have best friends then because I was so young so it didn’t really affect me as much as it would have if I was like, 16.

Q: What was it like attending school your first year?

A: It was hard because no one wanted to be my friend. I was in ESL (English as a Second Language) so I learned even more English — even though I did already know a little bit, but it was hard. All the little kids like to play together and I was never included.

Q: Were the students or teachers different toward you?

A: Yea, absolutely. Not that they were mean, but they kind of treated me like I was dumb, or like not worthy of being in the classroom like the rest (of the kids) were. I don’t really know, that’s just how I felt.

Q: What type of lifestyle did your family have during the first few years?

A: We’re still very in touch with our culture. We’re very Hungarian, and we definitely didn’t transform magically into Americans, but it was easier because my parents both got jobs right when we came from people we knew. We didn’t really have that hard transition into America like a lot of the immigrants do.

Q: What did your family do to help ease the transition from Hungary to America?

A: We do have a lot of close family friends that are Hungarian who we met through my grandma that already lived here. And my aunt and uncle actually also lived here as well, so we met a lot of people through them. On the weekends we would go to their houses as much as possible so we could be around people that we related to.

Q: What do you miss most about Hungary?

A: The ice cream. I don’t know I still have a lot of family members there. I still really like going back but if I had the choice I probably wouldn’t go back. I know my parents definitely would because I know that they really miss it.

 Q: What do you remember about the day that the twin tower collapsed after the terrorist attacks?  

A: I was in 6th grade. I live in Queens so technically that is part of New York City and you can see the skyline from the roof of my apartment building. It was kind of weird because (the principle) came over the loud speaker and said, “We’re very sorry for what happened this morning with the twin tower.” We were all really confused because we were super young and our teachers were all in the hallways speaking to each other. Everyone slowly started getting picked up. I remember one of my best friend’s dad at the time, actually worked in the World Trade Center, and she was freaking out and didn’t really know what was going on. She was one of the last ones to be picked up along with me because my parents both worked in Manhattan and they had to walk across the 59th Street Bridge, so I got picked up by someone else. I think if I was older it would have affected me way more. I didn’t really understand that it was a terrorist attack. I though it was kind of an accident at first, but then when my parents explained it to me I understood. We went on my roof and the city was just smoke. You could even smell it from where I lived which is a good 15 minutes away from the World Trade Center.

 Q: Do you think the attacks scared your parents since your family had just moved there?

A: Oh my gosh, totally. My mom still thinks that something bad is going to happen all the time, even with little things. There was a storm, like a big hurricane that was coming to New York and my mom freaked out. That’s just the kind of person she is. Even when she’s riding the subway and someone has a big package she’ll say something about it, and say, “Oh I wonder what’s in there. I hope it’s not a bomb.” She’s really weird.

 Q: What about your father?

A: My dad, I feel like he’s just like any other dad. He doesn’t really think it’s going to happen again or is too concerned about it, or at least he doesn’t show it if he is.

 Q: Do you think it ever crossed your parents’ minds to move back after the attacks had happened?

A: If it did, we couldn’t have moved back, because at that point me and my mom had a green card, but my dad hadn’t gotten one yet. My parents never legally got married in Hungary so when we came here me and my mom got green cards and I got one automatically because I was under 18 and I was her daughter. My dad didn’t get one because they weren’t legally married yet so they had to sign a bunch of papers and get married in America. He eventually got his green card but that wasn’t until I was 17. We could have (gone back), but my dad would have never been allowed back in the country and we had already started a new life here.