That’s a wrap…

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe now that another semester is already in the books again here at UMass. And it’s even harder to believe that my first year of college is over.

I’ve done and learned many things this year — particularly related to journalism. Through this class, as well as working on the staff of the student newspaper, I’m now feel more confident in my abilities to write and report.

And I think over these three remaining years, I’ll gain even more confidence.

I’m taking over as the news editor at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian next semester. And three of my fellow classmates — Katie Landeck, Steve Hewitt and Nancy Pierce — will serve as assistant news editors. With that, I hope to continue to expand my journalist horizons/

I love feature stories. There my favorite kind of stories to write.

So, when I heard about a Facebook page being created in honor of the woman at the Franklin Dining Commons who always reminds student “to have a beautiful evening,” I knew it would make a good story.

So, I interviewed her and then wrote something up. Take a look: http://dailycollegian.com/2011/04/12/dining-employee-tries-to-%E2%80%98spread-the-joy%E2%80%99/

Back in the day…

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, we watched a video of how the Internet was perceived back in the early 1980s.  I found an article from the Jan. 31, 1983  edition of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian about a professor who was doing design work on a computer.

Take a look at the photo.  It’s amazing to think we’ve come from there in under 30 years.

So, last Sunday – May 1 – I was in the newsroom of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian when some significant news broke. At that time, Americans learned that U.S. officials had killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on his compound in Pakistan.

Members of the UMass community quickly reacted to the news – and a few thousand students hosted a demonstration in Southwest to mark the occasion.

News of the demonstration traveled fast across the campus. And, as soon as we in the newsroom were notified of the situation, I headed over to the area with a two colleagues.

As soon as we approached the Southwest courtyard near the Berkshire Dining Commons, I could tell that an interesting story was developing. At least 1,000 gathered in that area; some of them were just observing what was going on, while others were participating in it – by cheering and chanting, setting off fireworks, wrapping trees in toilet paper, etc.

Of the three reporters from the Collegian on the scene, I was the one charged with writing up the story recounting what had happened. One of the other reporters was shooting video of what was going on, while the other one was just curious of what was developing and tagged along with us to the scene.

As the scene continued to unfold, I had to think of what I would write. I started going around and talking to some of the participants in the demonstration to get their feelings on the occasion.

Shortly after I was done speaking with quite a few people in the crowd, I headed back to the Collegian newsroom – due to the lateness of the hour. My colleague who was shooting video of what was going on stayed for a bit longer.

On my walk back to the newsroom, I could hear a muffled voice over the loudspeakers – telling students to disperse. And when I reached the Campus Center – where the Collegian newsroom is – I ran into a bit of a snag.

I was locked out.

Apparently, the custodial staff locks all of the doors to the Campus Center after 1 a.m. And, since I had lost my cell phone the previous day, I was not able to contact someone inside the newsroom to let me in.

So, after pondering what to do, I went into the adjacent parking garage, and managed to gain access into the building through an obscure underground entrance. Once inside the newsroom, I gave a call to the UMass PD to see if they had any comment on the situation at that time. I managed to get through to a dispatcher, but he said he couldn’t discuss the matter further.

And, then, I began to write.

Due to the lateness of the hour, I had to write the story as quickly as I could in order to get it in that Monday’s print edition of the paper. I would never say that I’m a fast writer – because I’m not – but I managed to get the story done by about 2:15 a.m. The Collegian has a fairly late press time for a daily newspaper, which definitely helped me out.

And, after I wrote the story, it was reviewed by two editors and then placed in the paper.

I managed to get back to my room by about 2:50 a.m. But due to an adrenaline rush, I didn’t manage to get to sleep until about 4:30 that morning.  And I woke up about two hours later, at 6:30 – earlier than I normally wake up – and got ready to head to journalism class.

I managed to get a brief nap in that afternoon, but that still didn’t make up for the amount of sleep I lost. But, sometimes, journalists have to sacrifice things in their personal lives in order to cover a story.

It was definitely worth that minuscule sacrifice to cover that story.

Here’s the online version of the story with my colleague’s video: http://dailycollegian.com/2011/05/02/students-respond-to-news-of-osama-bin-ladens-death/

Two sides of a story

Posted: May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Here are two editorials — each representing different points of views — on nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy: not worth the risk

In the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan this past March, many have been questioning if the benefits of nuclear power outweigh its risks. And there should only be one answer to that question – they don’t.

While an earthquake and subsequent tsunami brought on the disaster at the Japanese power plant, the incident still sheds light on to how vulnerable some of the world’s nuclear facilities are – and how incidents like the one that happened at Fukushima aren’t beyond the imagination. And it should be a wake up call to all of those in the U.S. who live near such facilities, and are at risk if such an incident were to occur.

When the horrifying events – which included a partial meltdown of three nuclear reactors – unfolded at the Fukushima plant, officials began to warn those within a 50-mile radius of the facility to evacuate. Imagine that: 50 miles. According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there are two nuclear power plants that fall within a 50-mile radius of Boston – one in Plymouth, and another in Seabrook, N.H. If a disaster similar to the one at Fukushima were to occur at one of those plants, how would the roughly 650,000 Boston residents – not including those who live in suburbs – evacuate? Where would they go?

What’s more, there are two reactors operating within close proximity to New York City. How that city’s roughly 8 million residents would be able to escape if a horrific disaster occurred is beyond belief.

Nuclear power needs to be brought into the spotlight and scrutinized by top government officials. The claims that it provides cleaner, sustainable energy don’t outweigh the dangers and threats it poses. We need to address the issue here before something like Fukushima or Chernobyl or another Three Mile Island occurs.

***

Nuclear energy: a safe, clean and sustainable power source

Since a terrible, heart-rending incident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant this past March, many here at home have put a close microscope on nuclear activity in the U.S. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing – since it’s always good to learn more about important issues facing the country – the results of such an examination should not upset or scare most: nuclear power is safe here.

While it is true that the disaster at Fukushima was mishandled and probably could have been significantly avoided if government officials and plant operators had adhered to proactive safety steps, that should not be worrisome to those of us in America. U.S. officials handle nuclear safety much differently than the Japanese do, and perform routine and thorough inspections of all nuclear power plants currently operating in the country.

Additionally, nuclear power – which accounts for 19.6 percent of all electricity in the U.S., according to the Nuclear Energy Institute – is a much safer and cleaner form of energy than many alternatives. It does not pollute or put as many toxins into the air as energy that comes from burning coal or wood.

And no major nuclear disasters have occurred in the U.S. in recent years. The last time anyone perished as a result of an accident at an American nuclear power plant was in 1961, when three plant operators were killed at a plant in Idaho.

We’ve come a long way since 1961 – both in terms of technology, and in terms of our safety standards. It would committing a disservice if we stopped advancing on the nuclear energy front now, because such energy is part of our country’s future.

Blogs on Libya

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Social media has played a crucial role in the ongoing revolution in Libya.  There are tons of blogs, tweets and Facebook posts that are coming out of that country and contributing to the opposition’s fight for liberation.

Here’s one blog that I found to be very insightful:

http://leninology.blogspot.com/

And here’s an up-t0-date interactive map of the conflict from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/02/25/world/middleeast/map-of-how-the-protests-unfolded-in-libya.html

 

 

 

 

This is a great, in-depth piece by New York Times employees Anthony Shadid, Lynsey Addario, Stephen Farrell and Tyler Hicks about the trouble they faced leading up to and during their capture by Libyan officials.