So you've read a wide-variety of reportage for this week. Hopefully you have a sense of what makes good reporting good. For this week's asynchronous portion of the class, please post roughly 200 words in response to this prompt:
Pitch an article for publication in the BSU Comment. Here are some ground rules:
1) It has to be possible to do. What I mean is, you are not in a position to travel to Syria to cover rebel holdings. You can not go on deep cover in a drug-trafficking ring. These are sort of way out there, and there are a lot of other things that might seem possible, but, if you really think about it--travel, covid, cost, danger, legality--just aren't possible.
2) It can't be a review. The Comment gets lots of folks who want to write movie, TV, or book reviews. I get it. It's fun. You don't have to do any real reporting work. They have too much of that stuff. It ways down the paper.
3) It can't be about sports. Sort of the same reasons as above. The Comment gets a lot of stuff about Boston teams.
4) It needs to be relevant to the local. You can pick something that is about campus. You can pick something about the town of Bridgewater. You can pick something about one of the local high schools that send a lot of kids to BSU (Brockton, B/R, etc).
Essentially, I'm asking you to pitch a story that you could conceivably do and that would exercise the skills required of good reporting. I'm not asking you to do this article, but this can be a way to add to your resume this semester. I will share these article ideas with the faculty adviser of The Comment and see if she/The Comment Staff (several of whom are in our class) would be interested in pursuing them. Once I hear back, you will have the option to write and submit the article. You'll have a week to do it--because part of writing for a newspaper is writing fast and to a deadline.
2/19/2021 10:35:33 am
Something that I could look into during this time is how homelessness has changed recently in the Boston area. During my commute to work on Tuesday, I was met by a man asking for change at one of the intersections. He held a Styrofoam cup up to my window and I was only able to give 24 cents as it was all I had in my cupholder. This made me wonder if the economic impact has not only led to an increase in homelessness but also if they are struggling to sustain themselves through smaller donations. As it would seem difficult to research on such a limited time frame, it would be more realistic to meet at least one person who begs for insight on what they do in order to sustain themselves. While widespread research on this subject is not uncommon, I find that my research would be more personal on one person's life rather than a widespread idea of poverty.
2/19/2021 11:32:33 am
I actually had an idea that I was testing out in my writer's notebook. Obviously we are spending a lot of time talking about vaccines right now, and I had to watch an older PBS documentary about vaccines and the anti-vax movement for my sociology class. Many scientists agree that vaccines carry with them the problem of their own success, as in people do not believe that their children don't need their MMR vaccine because they have not seen what measles can do. Therefore, I was curious about whether the experience of living through COVID has changed anyone's minds about vaccines. I found one CNN article that suggested that it has, but there were far more accounts of anti-vax groups actually leading concentrated efforts against coronavirus vaccination efforts. In the spring, there were stories of alleged COVID parties, where people try to get infected on purpose, and there has always been a strong anti-mask sentiment around. If I were to do this article I would try to find and reach out to people in these (often online) groups and communities and ask why this pandemic has not changed their minds about vaccines and if there is anything that could be said, done, or proven that would change their mind, and maybe try to find individuals who had changed their mind, like CNN was able to do, and ask how that process was for them.
2/19/2021 12:16:10 pm
I would be interested on doing an article about online learning and the positive and negative effects from it. As an adult, I have trouble with online learning--I cannot imagine how children in elementary school are faring with the new changes. Within the topic of online elementary education I would also talk about one of the biggest changes in the education system at the moment, which is the role of parents and guardians in online learning for young children. It is primarily the adults responsibility to get their children to do their work and learn the material. I just feel like education has changed drastically due to the pandemic and I would like to do more research on the effects.
2/20/2021 11:22:28 am
I was thinking about doing an article on campus life at BSU and how much it's changed due to the pandemic. From 2019 to early 2020 things were fine until March 2020 occurred where the pandemic got worse and forced students to leave their dorms to go home to continue classes virtually. I want to talk about the hardships and struggles we as students went through during the year and how it is still difficult to learn at home than on campus. who feel the same way about being at home vs. on campus. I will use some articles about college students in general on mental and physical health when it comes to staying home vs. living on campus and apply it to BSU students.
2/21/2021 03:11:12 pm
I really like Kate's idea. Online learning has been something that all students have had to deal with in some way or another, not matter the age of the student. Online learning has been different for many students trying to continue their schooling. At BSU, some students are learning from their dorm rooms on campus, some have hybrid in person and remote classes and some are learning from home. Each situation has its own pros and cons and I believe that an article such as this could inform new students with what we have learned over the course of this pandemic. Also, like Kate, I am interested in the impact remote learning has had on younger students attending grade school. How has this change impacted their learning and view of schooling in general?
2/24/2021 07:10:30 am
Last semester, I wrote an article for The Comment detailing the school's reasoning for canceling spring break as well as the overall planning for this current spring 2021 semester. I interviewed Dr. Karim Ismaili for the article, and he is in charge of the safe return task force for the fall 2021 semester. I wanted to follow up with his office and see if I could interview him again to write a story about the planning for the fall.
2/25/2021 07:41:03 am
Last summer I interned at a company called “Literary Traveler” where I was asked to do research into how the pandemic has affected the economy of the Caribbean Islands. Given the region’s reliance on tourism, the travel restrictions were devastating. I would be interested to learn how the travel restrictions have affected our local economies and look into how small businesses have been able to handle the lockdowns. Obviously, Massachusetts is less of a tourism hotspot than the Caribbean Islands, but so many local businesses rely on regular foot traffic and word of mouth advertising to attract customers. If there is nobody walking around or meeting up to talk about a hidden gem restaurant they found or a family-owned hardware store that just opened up, how do these businesses stay afloat? I think it would be interesting to investigate this issue and try to find out exactly how much local small businesses have suffered once restrictions were put in place. I would probably limit my research to Foxboro and the areas surrounding it, just to make sure I am actually able to access the information I need to effectively do the report.
2/25/2021 06:37:43 pm
I would like to complete a survey of local coffee houses. Coming from Providence, I was used to finding a unique place to study and stay awake anywhere in the city. When I lived on campus, the lack of a good place to grab a snack and a (quality) coffee or espresso drink while studying was a definite drawback. When we were up late studying or in the research lab, it was disappointing to find out that even the Bridgewater Dunkin’ closed early. It was also frustrating because we learned this after driving around to three just to find one open. Restoration Coffee opened almost two years ago and although small, has good options. I would like to create a list of the local places and their specialities for students (open late, offers food as well as coffee, ample places to study/good Wi-Fi etc). My plan would be to go over the local places in Bridgewater, East/West Bridgewater, Raynham, Middleborough & maybe Halifax. I could also create a map/infographic with key to go along with the text portion of the article.
Brittany Ann Oppenheimer
2/26/2021 07:13:33 am
Maybe I could do a restaurant review? I could go to a popular or new restaurant and rate their food and write about it? So, it would kind of be like a yelp review I feel, if that's something their interested in.
2/26/2021 09:30:27 am
My idea for an article would be reflecting on the fact that COVID regulations are often completely ignored by the famous and wealthy and only enforced on the poor and disenfranchised. While many poor-middle class people have been out of jobs or spending most of their time in quarantine unable to see friends and family, social media "influencers" and celebrities are out partying constantly, not wearing masks, and in general, ignoring CDC guidelines completely. Since I obviously wouldn't be able to interview celebrities themselves, I would research whether or not it's actually possible to have a "COVID-safe" gathering like some of these people claim they are having, and how disproportionately COVID affects the poor rather than the rich.
2/26/2021 10:07:59 am
I totally forgot about this last week, I don't know where my brain is anymore. I would love to write something about service dogs on campus. I have access to interview other handlers and get their opinions and input on campus life with a service dog, and what they wish other students would know. While most people in my classes personally have been great about my dog, I wish more knew etiquette about service dogs and what not to do around them or to them. Giving general information about service dogs, the laws, and what some dogs do would also be great.
3/5/2021 08:40:34 am
I would be most interested in writing a piece about how students are adjusting to classes this semester, already about a year into the pandemic, and how it differed from the past few semesters. Was it easy to transition back into the semester with the majority of courses being taken online, or is it harder to adjust to the monotony of day to day life only seeing your classmates on a screen? I think what would be most interesting about this sort of article would be to see how people's opinions of online learning has changed the longer we have to do it. This would be relevant to the students of BSU as everyone is experiencing a similar situation, although some may reacting very differently from others.
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Torda and the 489s
We'll use this space for synchronous and asynchronous work this semester. Q&A discussion board is housed in February archives of this blog. I check it weekly.