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.