Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Commission ends long court battle

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission decided that threatening phone calls, derogatory posters and racial mockery are enough to constitute workplace discrimination, ending the two and a half year battle for Barash V. SMART.

“I think the key message, what I hope gets out, is that what’s happening politically in the world does not excuse discrimination within the workplace,” said Dan Levy, director of law and policy for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

The commission still has to decide what damages to give to SMART, a transportation service based in the Detroit area where Barash worked as a mechanic.

Jacki Miller, Michigan Department of Civil Rights public information officer, said damages could either be monetary or corrective. Corrective damages could include posting notices about workplace conduct or giving mandatory training to employees.

Discrimination and harassment against Barash began shortly after September 11, 2001.

“This occurred in a post-9/11 environment in which the hearing officer was initially prepared to forgive conduct,” Levy said. “He talked about things like ‘I’d Rather Smoke a Camel’ posters as being reactions to the events of 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan.”

The commission reversed the hearing officer’s recommendation.

“While that may have been why it was posted, it still creates a hostile work environment,” Levy said.

This was one reason the case took two and a half years to resolve. Miller said most cases of workplace discrimination are resolved in less than nine months.

Although it took longer than most, Miller said Barash V. SMART is representative of what happens in many workplaces.

“Sadly, I think this is not uncommon, especially in southeast Michigan,” Miller said.

Southeast Michigan has a high population of Arab Americans, with 162,318 living in Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties in 2005, according to the 2005 American Community Survey.