Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Healthy TU Student: Past and Present

My goal with this beat directed toward health and college life was to bring a more holistic approach to what we view as healthy. True health goes way beyond eating your recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, it is about how you connect to the world around you. As my slide show subject, Julie Medina, put so beautifully: "[for me] health is about loving yourself and having that love influence others."

My final story is the closest to my heart. It is about a healthy Towson graduate, Norman Barzak. He loves his Nintendo wii and teaches an art class every Monday and Wednesday. He just happens to be a graduate of Towon's class of 1960. He has more life in him than many people I know that are 1/3 his age.

The ultimate goal of living a healthy lifestyle in your 20's is to set yourself up for a long and happy life. He is living proof of that.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Slideshow Story Idea:

The person I have chosen to interview is Julie Medina, a 21 year-old- junior and Anthropology major at Towson. She is not just any college junior. She is committed to helping others and dedicated to bettering the lives of strangers.
In her sophomore year she entered a program that took her to Thailand for seven months where she worked with underprivileged children. (As seen in the picture to the left). When she returned home, she became active in a Baltimore City homeless shelter, that she helps organize and run once a week.
She is worthy of your two minutes because she willing to reach out to the world at a relatively young age. She is an inspiration to every student who says they do not have enough time or resources to give back. Even as a full time college student with a part time job, she makes it her mission to seek out the people who need the most help.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Uncertain Future: A Stressful Present

Over the weekend I read the article: "Recession Anxiety Seeps Into Everyday Lives," by Pam Belluck. It is a feature article that weaves together the separate stories of five people, all different ages, all living in different parts of the United States. They all have one common problem, they have all slipped into serious anxiety and/or depression due to the failing economy.

None of them have lost their jobs and they are all in relatively good financial positions but they cannot help but worry about the "what-ifs," what if they loose their job, what if they cannot get work?

The story that struck me the most was that of was Anne Hubbard, a 52-year-old graphic designer. She had not lost her job and her and her husband were financially stable and yet she had panic attacks that caused her to loose 12 pounds.

"She said the weakening economy made her 'fear that even if you do everything right, something bad can happen to you.'" Belluck also gave statistics that showed how the recession is affecting the economy nationally. "In an American Psychological Association poll in September, 80 percent reported the economy’s causing significant stress, up from 66 percent last April. The National Sleep Foundation said 27 percent of people surveyed last fall had sleeplessness because of economic anxiety."

I found this article to be both informative and eye-opening. It is easy to think of how the economy is affecting people who have already lost their jobs, their 401ks or their homes, but this article showed how it was affecting the mental health of those people who are anticipating the worst.

I really liked the way Belluck took the stories of five unrelated individuals to show how anxiety can touch people from every walk of life. I would have done less stories, however. I would take two or three people and go into depth, maybe to a follow-up or talk to their families. It felt that just when I was understanding the individual the writer would go onto the next. But overall, I really enjoyed a different point of view on the how the economic crisis is affecting the health of all Americans.
Image found at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hidden America Video: Children of the Mountains

The video I looked at was the "Hidden America: Children of the Mountains," by Diane Sawyer. It was a look at the lives of the children of rural Appalachia. The first shot was wide and set the mood of the entire segment which showed the beauty of the land and the plight of its people. The next shot zoomed in on a shack in which twelve people lived.

When Sawyer was interviewing a young Appalachian girl, Courtney, the camera would zoom in on her face, then her hands. And when she would be talking about her sleeping arrangements they would show her lying on a small, crowded bed. Most scenes would start off with wide shots and as the interview would progress and become more intimate there was smaller and more specific shots. The specific shots lined up with what Sawyer or the person she was interviewing was describing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Students with children and the struggles they face

The idea for this story started with a conversation with a woman who's daughter is in my niece's daycare class. I noticed when I was picking up my niece that she had a Towson sweatshirt on. I told her that I attend school there and she told me of her plans to start attending in the fall. Her name is Alexandra Ciola and her one-year-old daughter's name is Jayden. She is currently supporting Jayden as a single mother while she attends Essex Community College full time.
Before having a chance to talk with her I had never considered what it would be like to juggle school with the responsibilities of a parent.
After doing some digging I set up a meeting with the head of university childcare at Towson and learned the details of a wonderful system. Daycare at Towson came out of necessity and on the wings of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Harriet Durthirt (director of university childcare) was wonderful to interview. She had so much insight on the entire program because she had been with it since its birth.
What I hoped to do with this story was give a different student perspective. Please take a moment to listen and you decide if I achieved what I set out to do.

Check Out My Feature Story!

The story is called: "Student discovers piece of mind," and it is a something that I am very proud of.

It is a profile of Towson student Erin Brennan who fought back stress with exercise and a positive outlook. Her story is inspiring and has the potential to be very helpful for someone who is going through a similar situation.

Patrick Cully, another Towson student, and Sara Van Leuven, a yoga instructor are also featured in the story. Both sources allow for a range of perspectives from different demographics. Hopefully you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Audio Story Idea- Students and Mothers

For my audio story I would like to bring to light an important minorty of Towson students: single parents. I will interview a single mother who juggles the demanding scheduals of both a full time student and a parent. I will also interview the head of the club Students with Children. I would really like to showcase the hard work it takes to have the title of both a parent and a college student and the affect it has on both parent and child.

I would also like to look into the resourses that the campus provides for student parents, such as daycare and emotional support.
Alec Bradley Sutorius, 4, wearing his mom's glasses. Picture by Alissa Sutorius

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Talk it Out- Broadcast Leads

1.) Print Editon: In one of the most important business cases in years, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a drug company is not protected from injury claims in state court merely because the federal government had approved the product and its labeling. From the article: "Drug Approval Is Not a Shield From Lawsuits, Justices Rule." Nytimes.
Broadcast Style: The Supreme Court rules against the injury claims of a drug company even though the government approved its packaging.

2.) Print Edition: Mike Fleiss said Wednesday that producers of the ABC dating show did not create the outcome of Monday's season finale that prompted viewer outrage when Mesnick dumped his first choice for the runner-up and was the highest rated show in its time slot, 8-10 p.m. EST, with 15.45 million viewers. From the article: "Producer: 'Bachelor' finale wasn't fixed."
The Baltimore Sun

Broadcast Style: You can relax. The hit TV show 'The Bachelor,' is not fiction, Jason Mesnick made a mess without the help of producers.

3.)Print Edition: State road crews prepared for a late-season storm that began with wet flakes about 7:30 p.m. yesterday. From the artilce: "Road crews on alert for late-season storm."

Broadcast Style: Road crews are starting early in anticipation of snow fall.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flavored Condoms Need More Spice

The article, "Health center and LGBT promote safe sex through flavored condoms," by Lauren Salvin, is a very out spoken article about a rather taboo subject. The story was about a educational and fun "taste test," that was hosted by the the Dowell Heath Center and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Student Development on last Wednesday. The whole goal of the event was to bring awareness to safe sex practices, especially oral sex.

Salvin did a great job getting the opinions of experts. She had a lot of great quotes from Lenore Meyers who is the educational director at the Dowell Health Center. "Protection during oral sex is important. People will only use something they want to use, so like shampoo or any other commodity, condoms are a personal preference item," Meyers said.

The story is very interesting and catches the attention of the reader immediately just based on the subject matter. However, I would have liked to see more responses from students. It is a subject that everyone knows about but causes many people to blush. Maybe a survey of some kind or even asking random students on the street if they would use the product. The story was great about a creative event that brings a very pertinent subject matter to light. I would have really liked to see what my peers had to say about it, or even more of the students who attended the event.
Photo from article mentioned above, by: Casey Prather

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My First Feature Story: "Feast, Famine & the Female Form"

This week is national eating disorder awareness week. In order to bring light to the disease, Towson University is sponsoring a series of activities, speeches and a competitive art festival that is focused on the world's obsession with the physical form.

I will be covering two activities:

1.) A speech given by psychologist, Beth Williams-Plunkett and a Towson professor of art history, in which they will talk about the changing image of a woman's body.

2.) I will attend an art exhibit at the University union that emphasises the way a woman's body has been portrayed over the past 200 years.

The feature style I have chosen is that of a profile. The art exhibit is also a competition, I plan to do a profile of the winner. I will examine what drew the individual to create art on the subject of body image. What were their personal experiences body image. My other sources will be fellow TU students who attend the speech given by Williams-Plunkett and counselors from the Dowell health center.

Picture by Elizabeth Goddard: "Art therapy and body image."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2009 vs. 1909.

What constitutes a beautiful woman? According the New York Times, it is not a small waist line.

The article "Small Waist No Longer a Mark of Beauty," author unknown, was published on December 5 in the New York Times, December 5, 1909 that is. "The small waist died hard and some women still think that the hourglass figure is the mold of form," the article said. "But they look hopelessly outclassed by the woman with a healthy figure."

The early part of the 20th century was a time where women were squeezing their waists down to 20 inches. To readers in 2009 that sounds insane. And it makes me wonder if what we think of as beautiful now will be viewed as strange or down right crazy generations from now. My money is on fake tanning and breast augmentations.

To all those healthy TU students (particularly girls) who feel inadequate for not being able to squeeze into a size 2, have faith. In a couple years there will probably be an article in the NY Times reading: "Tan skin and shapeless bodies no longer a mark of beauty." Love who you are, don't feed into the fads (they only last about a decade anyway).

Monday, February 16, 2009

TU Students Embrace the Present, Vertebrae by Vertebrae

Melanie Avery is only half way done with a 14 hour day. She has been going since 8 o'clock in the morning and she is exhausted, not to mention she just broke up with her boyfriend. But even all of this stress is no match for her Monday yoga class at Burdick hall.

Erin Brenna is the new instructor for the Monday yoga class for this semester. She said she likes the connection of the mind and body that yoga brings. "Definately helps with stress," Brenna said. "Your not thinking about what happened today, you're in the present." Melanie Avery, a junior and music major at Towson, said she does yoga when life becomes stressful. "Boy issues and school are the two things that are stressing me out right now," Avery said. "Yoga helps with that."

Avery is not alone. About 35 other, stressed out students attend the class every week for rejuventation and excersise of the mind and body.

I must admit, I was not expecting to enjoy the class as much as I did. I am about as flexible as a piece of steel. Everyone was so encouraging. Brenna has a kind and calming voice that would relax even the busiest mind. Although I struggled with a few poses that required a good amount of balance, I was not the only one. It seemed that everyone was on a different level of experience. Overall, I left feeling relaxed and awake. I would recomend the class to anyone who needs a break from their schedual or even themselves.

The class is free for all TU students and is every Monday from 5:00-5:50 at Burdick Hall.
Photo 1: Melanie Avery smiles for the camera after a satisfying yoga class. Photo by Jennie Byrne/ Feb 16, 2009.
Photo 2: Erin Brenna rolls smiles for the the camera after instructing her class. Photo by Jennie Byrne/ Feb 16, 2009.
Photo 3: Students place yoga mats back in closet after class. Photo by Jennie Byrne/ Feb 16, 2009.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feature Leads V. Summary Leads

Feature leads and summary leads differ from one another in many ways. First of all, a summary lead is "written in past tense and includes a time element" (All the News, Thom Lieb). They are straight forward and not as creative as a feature lead would be. They are blunt and get straight to the point. They provide the who, what, when, where, why and how for the story that follows. Lieb gives four criteria that makes up a summary lead:
1.) Be very specific: focused not general.
2.) Avoid backing in: no introductory clauses.
3.)Be concise: 30 words or less.
4.) Use active voice: subject, verb, object.

Feature leads however, are more original, less rigid. They are like putting cinnamon in oatmeal, they add flavor and keep you wanting more. They do not necessarily adhere to the rules that accompany lead writing. They do not always tell the 5 w's and h. Their soul purpose is to entice the reader and keep them reading on. There are four main types of feature leads (although even some feature leads do not fit into these categories):
1.) Anecdotal Leads: where the writer will start off with an antedote that introduces their story and makes the point simple and clear.
2.)Narrative leads: includes dialogue or quotes to set up a scene.
3.) descriptive leads: entice the senses and are based on a specific person, place or group.
4.) Question leads: Yep! you guessed it, they start with a question.
5.) The other feature leads: all those that can not fit in a specific category, the rebellious leads.
Examples: "Thom Brown for 'Ladies Loosen Up!'" By: Cintra Wilson (New York Times).
"When Air Time is Play Time," By: Scott Jones (New York Times).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cafe' Brings Carnivores and Vegans Together as 'One World'

Towerlight columnist and dedicated carnivore rates rates the hip, vegan-friendly, One World Cafe', in the article "Starving Student, 'One World," animal friendly treats," by Tyler Waldman. In the article Waldman enters a world of crab less crab cakes and cheese less cheesecakes all in the name of journalism, and to his surprise, he likes it.

"One World caters to a crowd with more specific dining needs without necessarily alienating people who aren't huge fans of tofu," Waldman said. The ample menu combines everyday dishes with healthy and vegan elements. Waldman said he did not believe anyone could pull off a crab cake without adding crab. "They successfully proved me wrong," He said.

The One World Cafe' proves to be an easy choice if one has friends who avoid meat. I am a meat lover myself and I could hardly believe how something so tasty could be good for you. I did not even notice that there was no cheese in my strawberry cheesecake. It is a place that will keep everyone satisfied, no matter their preference.

'one world' picture taken from the article by Tyler Waldman
cheesecake picture taken from

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Beat: "The Healthy College Student"

"A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools."
- A Spanish Proverb.

Lets face it, college students get a bad rap when it comes to staying healthy. This includes eating healthy, having a healthy sleep schedule and finding the time to exercise. We are all guilty of it. Who has not pulled off staying up all night to finish the paper for the 8 a.m. class, or eaten last night's pizza because it is in arms reach? It happens. When we get to college our schedules tend to be strange and our habits tend to change.

This beat will be targeted specifically toward the health of the Towson University college student. This includes every facet of the individuals health, mental and physical. It will provide tips and encourage the average Towson student to make small, incremental changes in order to encourage health.

It will include healthy eating habits: good places to find good meals for a small price so you and avoid the pizza. It will show the small ways that a student can utilize all of the activities offered through the university. It will also provide information from the experts on campus about staying healthy. The advice and information will be simple and it will be given from a student who knows it is easier to take the convenient road, not necessarily the healthy one.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who I am- A Journalism Student with Commitment Issues

To start, my name is Jennie Byrne and this is my third semester at Towson University. I have been obsessed with news of any kind since is was a child. My parents were missionaries in Eastern Europe when I was growing up and the news was my mother's connection to her home in the United States. As a child, I would be completely entranced for hours with the way those articulate journalists delivered important information. From that point I was hooked.

With this course I would like to continue with what I had learned in MCOM 257. I feel like the moment I started to become more comfortable with new programs and developing sources the course was over. I look forward to developing my skills even further.

I would be cheating myself if I were to pick just one area of journalism. I would like to do it all. At this point, (it may change next week) I most interested in broadcast journalism. I have a passion for politics but a hunger for fashion. The fact that the lines of journalism are being blurred and journalists now have a hand in every step of the process could be seen as a negative, but I see it as a positive. I would like to try everything and even when I find an area that fits me perfectly, I will probably go and try something else. I am excited to see if this might be the class that allows me to resolve my commitment issues and settle down with one area of journalism.