Friday, February 27, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: Feminisim in 2009?

by Julia Woehrle
jw286408@ohio.edu

I can’t help wondering if it would have made a difference. Would the coverage of the Empowered Woman’s Week have been different if a team of men had done it? In terms of the journalistic outcome, not necessarily, I think. I think the difference between the genders in this case lies hidden in the way such an event makes the reporter think about it after the work is done. Oh yes, it’s still all about those little differences weaving through our everyday lives. It turns out that covering the Empowered Woman’s Week really made me think about them once again. A lot.

Yes, It Still is Important
My colleague Nicole DeChant and I interviewed Women Acting for Change treasurer Emily Dunlap and Empowering Women of Ohio’s president Lacey Rogers after the week’s last event. Pretty much after about five seconds of the first interview I was wide awake and intensely concentrating from my toes to the tips of my hair. That kind of positive tension I know comes when I’m absolutely absorbed by something I like.

I enjoyed interviewing Dunlap and Rogers, because I knew perfectly well that what they talked about affects me, too, each and every single day. But sometimes, I just forget it. As Dunlap said: "It's something we don't think about enough. We're the generation that gets told that feminism isn't necessary. So I think it's important to show yes, it still is."


Women Acting for Change's Emily Dunlap speaks about today's issues in feminism

Images of Feminism from Alice Scharzer to Charlotte Roche
Feminism. In some contexts the word itself has almost become a bad word. Rogers said in the discussions about inter-generational Feminism, the women found that a lot of the issues of yesterday are still on top of the list today, like sexual abuse and equal pay. But I think, at least in my country, young women don't identify with the "old league" of feminists anymore. In Germany this means I don't identify with Alice Schwarzer.

As a student of American Studies my education in feminist theory is not too bad. I devoured Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble”, Annette Kolodny’s “The Lay of the Land” and others. But I still see an image of Alice Schwarzer in my mind whenever I hear the term feminism.

Schwarzer was born in 1942, moved to Paris in 1963 where she studied under Michel Foucault and was one of the founders of the Feminist Movement (Mouvement de Liberation des femmes, MLF) in Paris. Schwarzer contributed greatly to the German abortion debate of the 1970s, published the women's magazine EMMA for decades, is against porn and, well, controversial.

I think young women know that they owe her and other second wave feminists a lot, but they don't identify with the certain rigidity they represent. Maybe Charlotte Roche has become the new feminist spokesperson in Germany. But Roche clearly represents a new kind of a more open-minded feminism. Roche made her mark with her unique style and high quality interviews (the kind that made even reluctant music stars happy) for Viva, Germany's version of MTV. Lately Roche has confronted the German public with her own twists on the topic.

In 2008 her first novel “Feuchtgebiete” (“Wetlands”) was the number one in German bestseller lists for weeks. Critics wondered if the book was erotic literature or plain pornography, fact is: it’s about femininity, disgust, sexuality. It's a manifesto against full-body shaves and exaggerated cleanliness, it’s very explicit, and many people read it and talked about it. Just thinking about how the U.S. public would react to a book like that makes me chuckle in an evil way. Compared to that book "Sex and the City" is a kindergarten show.

In interviews with Roche the topic again and again was feminism. Among many other things, Roche said that she always complains about feminists even though she is one herself and that she thinks that women are still raised to be passive, because they supposedly aren’t attractive to men otherwise. Still not everyone would even consider her a "real" feminist in the profound Alice Schwarzer sense.



I can relate to many things Roche says, but on the other hand she's not a feminist in the sense that she fights for women's rights politically and I feel that's somehow emblematic for a lot of today's younger feminists. They are outspoken and say they don't need to burn their bras or cut their hair to make a point, but sometimes I get the impression that, well, they don't have as much collective and political inspiration either.

Despite the differences in culture and opinion Schwarzer, Roche and the women’s groups on the OU campus have several things in common. They are all feminists in their own way, they address the same or at least similar issues and their bottom line is, power to women. I am personally thankful for the fact that women like them remind me of the fact that it’s not only ok, but still very necessary to speak out for women’s rights and equality.


Empowering Women of Ohio President Lacey Rogers speaks about why male feminists are important

Everday Feminism Oblivion
So what is Feminism about today? Like Rogers and Dunlap said it’s still about the same old things like sexual abuse and equal pay. Like Rogers, Dunlap, Roche and I say it’s about the image of the female body, because that’s what we’re still defined by in our societies and more often than not, that’s how we define ourselves.

It’s about Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits and German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cleavage that she exposed when she went to the opera in 2008.

It’s about Britney Spears who has lost weight and about Jessica Simpson who has gained some and about Jeanine Vailes’s legs in this week’s "American Idol" shows.

It’s about the fact that the mannequins in the Latino Mission District in San Francisco actually have butts and that women’s and men’s social roles and gender images are culturally distinct.

It’s about Rhianna and Chris Brown, and that the boyfriend of a woman who’s less famous and rich would not necessarily be sent to an anti-aggression training as quickly.

It's about my classmates discussing if the pregnant man is a he or a she or what.

It’s about power.

It’s about how we view and judge ourselves and others and our societies and other societies.

It’s about women AND men.

It’s everywhere. Constantly. So much that we sometimes actually forget how much should be changed and that it is possible to change things. Just like earlier generations of feminists have shown. This world, our world is not the same for men and for women, it is not equal and that’s why it is important that groups like Women Acting for Change and Empowering Women of Ohio keep reminding us that there is something we can and should do about it.

The eternal binary opposition
If you have read the novel Middlesex or watched this week’s episode of "House" or last week’s "Private Practice", you know there are people out there who were born without a clear biological sex. Now that's where things get really complicated.

That realization always reminds me that life out there is actually a lot more diverse and complicated than those little categories and standards we try to squeeze it into. It's just not only black and white, or night and day, or standard male and prototypical female. So maybe in the end we have to learn to adjust the categories in which we think and judge to life as it is, instead of trying to do it the other way around.

REPORTER BLOG: Pink Hoops

by Tony Rawlings
tr865905@ohio.edu



Last week I covered the women’s basketball game against Buffalo. It was pretty cool because they wore pink jerseys to help raise awareness about breast cancer.Many women's college teams have done this during the season and I was glad to see the Bobcats follow the trend. None of the women in my family has had a run in with breast cancer but as a son, nephew and grandson I realize that breast cancer is a serious concern for women everywhere. I was happy to see that this contest was more than just a basketball game, it was a tribute to cancer survivors and it addressed a serious issue.

So often in sports the stories revolve around wins, losses and statistics. I was glad to see that while this was a sporting event, the team and the baskets were not the main focus. As part of the awareness promotion, anyone who wore a pink shirt to the game got in for free. Even though I get in for free as a reporter, I decided to wear a pink shirt anyway to support the cause.

Moment of Silence
Before the game there was a moment of silence for North Carolina State women’s basketball Coach Kay Yow who died of breast cancer earlier this year at the age of 66. I thought that this was a very nice gesture. They didn’t simply honor her because she died of cancer but because she was one of the best coaches the women’s game has ever seen.


Yow helped popularize women’s college basketball and served as a mentor to some of the best women’s players and coaches. She had a great influence on University of Tennessee Head Coach Pat summit who recently won her 1,000th game as a head coach, even more remarkably she got those 1,000 wins during her 35 years as head coach at Tennessee. This is the type of legacy that Yow leaves behind. Not only being successful in her own right, but also helping others become successful through passing along her knowledge and love for the game.

Even more remarkably, Yow continued to coach while she had breast cancer. In time I believe that she will become to women’s college basketball what Jim Valvano (better known to many as Jimmy V) has become to the men’s game. Jimmy V coached North Carolina State’s men’s team back in the 70s and also died of cancer.

Game Time
After the moment of silence it was time to get busy. The ball went up and the Bobcats went to work! They played some of the best basketball I’d seen them play all season. Even with injuries to post players Thia Gholson and Chandra Myers, the Bobcats didn’t miss a beat. They used their guard play to command the game and ran a lot of motion offense and overcame the interior size of Buffalo with their speed and fast break ability.

I was very impressed with the players’ effort and guard Lauren Hmiel came up huge. She dropped a team high 20 points. It looked as if the Bobcats had this one in the bag pretty early on. They took an eight-point lead to the locker room at half –time and played like a team possessed early in the second half. They went on a 27-6 run to go up 57-36 with 15 minutes left in the and I’m lickin' my chops at this point because I know you get the best post game interviews after a big win.

The Improbable Rally
Then it happened. The Bobcats got careless and the Bulls took advantage. Turnovers and careless defense slowly dissolved the lead that the Bobcats worked so hard to build. Before you know it Buffalo went on a 11-2 run to cut the lead to single digits with less than 10 minutes remaining. So now I start to get nervous because I know Coach Randall will be fired up if they lose this game after having it in hand most of the way. Interviewing an angry coach is no fun because it's like pouring salt on an open wound. The coach is hot because the team played horribly and you as a reporter have to ask the coach why they played so badly. Since the coach is already angry about the team he or she can take that frustration out on reporters who ask questions. This does not make for good reporting because in some cases the coach gets defensive and half way answers the questions you ask.

So with all this in mind I'm thinking ‘Go Bobcats Go!!’ I know the players were thinking the same thing because as a reporter I only have to see the coach for 15 minutes after the game, but the players have to get the requisite post game chew-out and then, even worse, come back to practice the next day. Thankfully the Bobcats managed to hold off the Bulls and come away with an 80-77 win.

Post Game
The post game interview went well, though Coach Randall was disappointed about the team’s inability to keep the huge lead, she was still happy with the win. She also talked a bit about Coach Yow, who recruited her during her college days and spoke about what an inspiration she was to women and coaches everywhere. Another interesting fact I learned was that Coach Randall wore a pair of Coach Yow’s pink sneakers during the game, which I thought was one of the largest signs of respect you can pay an athlete or coach.

Final Thought
I played organized basketball from the age of four to eighteen and truly love the game. When I was younger I never took girls basketball very seriously. When my younger cousin started playing in high-school, I took more of an interest and saw that the women’s game is actually better than the men’s in a lot of ways. The women’s game is more fundamentally sound, with more of an emphasis on the below the rim game which is passing, cutting and running a half court set to get quality shots. The men’s game is more susceptible to getting caught up looking for the big play. The alley- oop dunk, the big blocked shot or the three pointer from five feet beyond the arc. After watching more women’s basketball I see that there is something very pure about it. The players never give up, never pout and play more of a team oriented game. They play the game the way it is meant to be played and for that I will always be a fan of women’s basketball.

REPORTER BLOG: Got Marrow?

Nicole DeChant
nd341405@ohio.edu


Most people shudder at the thought of donating bone marrow. But everything isn't as it appears on 'House' or 'Grey's Anatomy'. That is why I not only attended the bone marrow testing drive for my story, but I participated as well. Just a simple swab and you too could have the chance to save someone's life.

I could only include so much information in my television story because of time. So that's why I'd like to share everything I learned at the bone marrow testing drive. There's such an abundance of information, but I think it's really important that people know all of it.

Friends are Inspirational
This amazing story all started when Ohio University student Erica Cohen found out that her friend Tony from high school was diagnosed with leukemia. She decided to do some research and look into bone marrow testing. In my interview with her, Erica explained to me why she's so passionate about this project. Listen to Erica's story in the video below.


Erica Cohen tells us why she's so passionate about this project.



Erica comes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Not long after her friend Tony was diagnosed, Erica found another person she knew in need of a transplant; a girl named Amy Katz. Amy is a 16-year-old girl, also from Pittsburgh, who was diagnosed leukemia in 2003 at age 11. She has been searching for a marrow donor for five years. Amy needs a bone marrow transplant to recover from this devastating disease. Check out Amy's full story.

A World Record Event
And I wasn't the only one who attended. I became a part of about 2,300 other people who broke the world record for college testing drives.


How did an event like this get organized? Erica Cohen found DKMS, a non-profit bone marrow center based in New York. DKMS donor recruitment coordinator Amanda Nable told me it was all about helping Erica build relationships. In order to get as many people involved as possible, Erica and Amanda coordinated with other student organizations to help with planning, promotion and advertising.

Erica also had to find a way to get the community involved, so she asked local businesses to donate money for snacks for volunteers, fliers for the event and prizes for the raffle table. Unbelieveable! This is an incredible task to take on and I can't even imagine the stress that Erica went through to do all of this while attending college. But it was all worth it to her!

How to Save a Life
Getting tested to be added to the National Marrow Registry (NMR) was really easy. It only took a simple cheek swab and a one-page form with your contact information. I felt kind of dorky doing it on camera, especially since I kept messing up so I had to shoot it over a few times. Watch the video below to see me do it!


Watch me as I demonstrate how easy it is to swab!

This is Important!
Bone marrow is needed because it's so hard for patients in need of it to find their genetic match. DKMS donor recruitment coordinator Amanda Nable says that, "Around 20,000 patients search for a marrow donor each year; however, only three in 10 people will find a lifesaving marrow match. That number is even less for minorities. With African American patients, only 17% of them will find a match and the percentage for Hispanics is even lower."

It was quick, and many students managed to do it in between their classes. OU student Dan Crone got swabbed because he thought the opportunity to save someone's life was very important.


OU student Dan Crone explains why he decided to donate.

The DNA on Your Swab
When you swab the inside of your mouth, you are collecting tissue samples with your DNA on it. Your sample is then tissue-typed and placed in the National Marrow Registry anonymously and isn't removed until you reach the age of 61. Yikes! That's a long time. But the National Marrow Registry is searched daily by at least 6,000 patients. If you're a match, the National Marrow Registry contacts DKMS, and then DKMS will contact the donors. You must be between the ages of 18 and 55 to be added to the National Marrow Registry. Click here to see a video of how bone marrow transplants work.

Students who couldn't donate for health or personal reasons, were able to donate money. Also, you could purchase raffle tickets for some amazing prizes such as an autographed Cleveland Indians helmet and an iPod.


The event was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. It was a proud moment for Ohio University!

REPORTER BLOG: What Happened Was...

by Josh Mei
jm145305@ohio.edu

I wasn’t quite sure what exactly to write about for this week’s blog. I should have written one last week, but I guess I slacked off a bit and it slipped my mind. I blame it on the weather.

We’ve had the craziest weather this winter, and I’m really just kind of figuring out how to deal with it. I got sick the other day and I feel the reason for that was because of the weather combined with the fact that all my roommates were sick last week, the previous week, the week before that, and so on. I can probably describe things better with a little poetry:

Like a cycle of events, one apartment resident
gets sick and starts a chain reaction once again,
this continues for periods of say, four weeks,
mass headaches and fevers of hay…for weeks!
Prevented me from finishing a package, what happened?
my health and brain went fishing and backpacking,
Even though annoyances of sickness still lingers,
whatever, I’m actually sicker of pointing the finger…

What Should Have Happened
If I hadn’t gotten sick, I’d actually have something to write about. I was assigned to do a sports package, however, there were no sporting events happening on Tuesday. When there are no events, we usually try to find a story on a University athletic team, generally talking about the level of their performance so far in the season.

However, this time there wasn’t much to cover. Winter sports are usually limited to basketball, hockey, swimming & diving, wrestling, golf, and sometimes baseball (starts late winter). That’s not a bad list, so it shouldn’t be that hard, right?? Unfortunately on Tuesday the only thing going on was the golf team’s competition down in South Carolina, and while I wouldn’t mind jetting down to the warmer states, it’s probably not likely that WOUB would be willing to sponsor my trip. It’s cool though, I don’t even watch golf.

That was a horrible attempt, at a joke in contempt,
from what? Don’t know, don’t care for a cent
but I’m trying to "change" like a dollar and ten dimes,
don’t laugh ‘cause I’m sick and gave myself a bed time.

Actually might as well scratch that last line out, ‘cause I’m laughing at myself as I write-right now.



And Now for a Detour
Speaking of sports, Stephon Marbury is going to the Boston Celtics. I think this will work out fine, I don't know why people are freaking out about it. Starbury is a good player, and given the right team, I can see him flourishing instead of wasting his career away. The Celtics are built with team players, along with the Big 3 and the fact that they're all veterans in the game. They'll keep Steph in line, no doubt. ESPN says he should feel priviledged to play with the Celts, but hey, I would be too. Anyways, I'm glad the New York Knicks are finally making moves. Ever since the '98-99 season, things have been disappointing for Knicks fans. I would know, I am one. But yeah, check out what Jalen Rose and the folks at ESPN think about the Marbury-Celtics situation.



End of Detour... So What Did Happen
On Thursday I was supposed to be a news reporter for Monday, so technically I’m covering something over the weekend. I don’t normally have a problem with that. Only dilemma was, I forgot to mention Senior Saturday when we were figuring out a story (For those who don’t know, Senior Saturday is an all-day event for the seniors in the Scripps School of Journalism, and from what I’ve seen on the agenda it seems like a pretty big deal). So now I’m scrambling to update my resume, get my work samples together, and so on (yes, I know I should’ve done this earlier). All the while I’m trying to figure out the best time to cover the story which was also on Saturday. I was presented with a quandary (I guess…?) Anyways, I think we got it figured out, so it’s cool now.

But back to the subheading, what DID happen was that I went to a meeting at the County Commissioner’s Office to get video of Jack Frech talking about the closing of the Athens County Job & Family Services teen pregnancy prevention program (wow, that’s a mouth full isn’t it? Try saying that 3x fast). But anyways, Mr. Frech is the Director of Job & Family Services, and he told me that the reason they’re cutting this program, along with their dental program, was because of budget cuts. They had to shut down whatever programs that weren’t required by state, whether they were important or not. Obviously, teen pregnancy is a big issue, so the closing of this program is pretty significant. But I guess they did what they had to do.

I was going to post a video of Mr. Frech talking about why they cut their programs, but I had trouble uploading it to the web. However, I’ve already explained the basics of what he told me, and that pretty much sums everything up. But it is sad that such important programs have to be taken away from people who would really benefit from them.

Well I think I’ve written enough. I’m to the point where anything else I type will be pointless rambling useless to anyone’s existence. I’m also guessing that you probably don’t care. So until next time (which might be the last time…oh so sad), be easy and be safe as you strap up to coast through the road called life. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, and always wear your seatbelt.

…see what I mean??

(If you actually sat down and read this entire blog, much props. Let me know and I’ll buy you a drink sometime)

(Just kidding…would you settle for a high-five?)

REPORTER BLOG: Sewers in the Media

by Ed Zelaski
ez327206@ohio.edu


“Oh god, this cannot end well, but it should make for an interesting blog entry." Those were my first thoughts on Monday when I found out that I would be covering a story on the sewers. We had some old video of the sewer facility and the city sewer division building, but it was getting a bit old (by old I mean a week or two). I made a comment about having to “go out and get some fresh sewer video.” After I said that, I sat back and realized what I said. Yeah, I didn’t mean it like it sounded. Anyway, if you didn’t get to see (or well, read) my story on the web, you can check it out here.


Well, now that you’re up to speed, let’s continue with this blog entry. (A quick recap now case you forgot while you were reading my web story). I was very intrigued when I found that I would get to report on the sewers. At first, I was a little grossed out. I mean, they are sewers after all. It is certainly not a topic for the squeamish. Don’t worry though, this blog is not going to get dirty, I promise.

Sewers In The Media
With that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s continue. Most of my experiences with sewers have come through the media. One of my favorite clips is from the television show “Monk.” There’s a great scene where he’s in the sewer, and well, I figure I’ll let you watch for yourself. I couldn’t find the clip on YouTube from the actual episode, but it’s in the intro. It’s about 48 seconds into this video, but I suggest you watch it all. You get to hear the music of Randy Newman. What could be worse than that? I couldn't put the video in the blog, but you can watch it here.

What’s Living Down There?
So what else have I learned about the sewers from the media? Well, apparently there are Kung-Fu master rats and mutant turtles that are teenage living in the sewers. I will admit that I was not a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan growing up (I always preferred GI Joe and Beast Wars, if you wondered), but I still enjoyed the show when I watched it.

There was a great Ninja Turtles video game for the old Super Nintendo. I remember playing it at a friend's house when I was younger (I didn’t have a video game console until the PlayStation came out all those years ago). Back on topic, it was a great video game. Somehow Shredder made Manhattan float in the air or something like that. I don’t remember exactly how he did it, but he did. I could never manage to beat the game, though. My friend and I would always make it to the final level (the floating New York City) but would never be able to make it to the boss. What a pity, I know.



Making an Escape… to Victory!

The media have also taught me that the sewers are good for making an escape. I cannot think of how many times I have watched a show where someone made a daring escape underneath a city through the sewers. It seems like that guy on “Cities of the Underworld” on the History Channel is always crawling through some ancient sewer, or another.

My favorite escape moment from the media comes from Sylvester Stallone’s classic 1981 film, “Escape to Victory.” Basically, Sly Stallone is an American POW in World War II. He and his other prisoners form a soccer team to play a German team. It stars some great soccer players like Pele, Osvaldo Ardiles, Bobby Moore, and Kazimierz Deyna. They’re playing the German team and the referee clearly favors the Germans.

At the half, they’re down 4-1. They were originally going to escape at halftime, but decide that they want to win the game. They fight back, and well, I’ll let the video below spoil the ending. A side note now, I do not actually think this movie is a classic. It’s one of those movies that are so bad and corny that it’s hilarious. This movie is also based on a true story. The Hollywood version has a much happier ending than the real life story. You can read a good article about the true story here.



Let’s Wrap It Up
Well, that’s the end of this blog entry. Don’t you fret everyone; I’ll be writing one more before the quarter ends. I’m sure everyone will be waiting on the edge of their seats to read it. I hope you enjoyed reading this one.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: Graduation Freak Out

Megan Gorey
mg908407@ohio.edu


It’s not hard for reporters to be affected by the story they are covering. Going to a location where a story unfolds or talking to people with raw emotion makes a compelling piece, not just for the audience but for the journalist too. At times, it can even be hard to keep your composure when covering a crisis or tragedy. At the end of the day, reporters are people too.

T-Minus 3 Months
As I began to research my story about the Ohio University Graduation Fair and the number of students enrolling in graduate programs, I could feel the panic slowly creeping up on me. The journalistic half of my brain was excited with all the great information I was collecting for my story. But the soon-to-be-graduate part of my brain was ringing the alarm of reality: I’m graduating in three months.


Creativity Is Key
My first interview was with Brittney Buxton, the Interim Assistant Director for theCareer Services Office. Buxton had a lot of encouraging information about the services that Career Services offers including Tool Kit Tuesdays and Career Fairs. "I don't think it is going to be harder (to find jobs), we just might have to be more creative,” Buxton says.


Brittney Buxton explains what students need to do in order to find a job

Alumni Pains
Buxton also said that she’s noticed more alumni coming back to utilize the Career Office to find jobs and network after losing their current jobs. As the interview progressed, I felt myself slowly slouching into my chair. Maybe there’s still time to flunk all my classes and delay going into the “real world.”


Brittney Buxton reports a lack of on-campus recruitment

Students can no longer rely on jobs coming to them and Buxton says more students are walking out the door after graduation without a job lined up. This is probably why the Fall Career Fair was the biggest event yet – so many students are being realistic about the job market. “Some (students) are lethargic but others are acting out and preparing,” says Buxton.



Experience Necessary
Graduating from college seems bittersweet. I will miss Ohio University and the lifestyle, but not so much the grind of studying. I was planning on going straight out into the work force after graduation. I’m eager to use all this new journalistic talent I’ve acquired over the past four years. And I’m hopeful to get that “big break” and find my place among the big 10 Networks. But, I’m already finding that employers want you to have years of experience before they will even consider looking at your application.

Question: How can I get experience IF NO ONE WILL HIRE ME?

Bachelor's Degree is the New GED
The director of Lifelong and Distance Learning, Marsha Ham, didn’t make me feel much better during an interview with her. She explained that many alumni are using this opportunity in between jobs to go back and finish up their Master’s degrees. "People find themselves saying if I get more skills and get more credentials; it will be more valuable when the economy improves,” Ham says.


Marsh Ham talks about the expectation of employers

On the Horizon
I bought my senior class of 2009 shirt. The quote on the back reads “I have nothing on my horizon except everything. I have everything on my horizon,” Dwight Schrute from NBC's The Office. Although the quote is meant to be funny because of the nature of the Dwight Schrute character, it actually rings true.

I think this story was an eye-opening experience that gave me a quick dose of reality and help to ward off that dreaded senioritis. I’m still going to hold my head high as I push on towards graduation day and continue in my search for a job as either a reporter or anchor. The way I look at it is that even if there are no jobs – someone still has to report on that!

REPORTER BLOG: Every Day is a New Day


Elizabeth Lowry
el210905@ohio.edu

Each and every day in the newsroom I learn something new. I don’t know if it’s because every day is a new day, new news, new challenges. If things didn’t go smoothly for the newscast today, you gotta learn from it and let it go. Tomorrow is a brand new day with a clean slate. Today I learned the importance of picking the most newsworthy story. The story that is going to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of viewers is always the story you want to go with.

I was doing my research, trying to pick a story that was of interest to me, not exactly taking into consideration what would be best for my viewers. I wanted to do a feature story like the Eating Disorders Awareness Week or how the Athens community is reaching out to citizens that are struggling right now by doing a soup kitchen. But I was soon reminded that morning at the news meeting, that I would not be able to do the stories I looked into doing. We unexpectedly were short on people, and four people had called in sick that day. So...rather than having two news reporters, we only had one, me. Considering this, I had to do what journalists refer to as a “hard news story.” This is a story that viewers need to hear, and is going to have the greatest impact on them. Recently, in the Athens community, most of the hard news stories have been about the budget cuts, considering the country’s state of current economic crisis.

Finding Focus
Well this week when I was a news reporter I was assigned to a story that I was not particularly interested in doing…not at first anyway. But I was soon reminded, it is most important to do stories that are going to hit viewers pocketbooks. How is this story going to affect them financially? Hence, I was assigned to a city council committee meeting on Monday evening.

Every story must have a focus, and for any package, it is most important to have the focus on ‘real people.’ Explain the financial status of whatever your story is about and most importantly, get the reaction of real people. I completely missed the point of my story. When I covered the committee meeting, I was supposed to target the water and sewer rates. Instead, for my story, I gave a broad overview of what the committee meeting was about. I overloaded my viewer with too many random issues council is worrying about, and filled the story with numbers and statistics.

I also had video but it was nothing that anyone would want to watch for more than a couple of seconds. All of my video was BORING, buildings and still images. So, there I was with boring video, too many numbers, and irrelevant facts making it hard to keep the viewer’s attention and even harder to keep them interested. And this was supposed to be the lead news story!



I was so caught up in the story and all the information at the time I was conducting interviews, doing my stand-up, calling people for valid information (including the water and sewer rates), and then writing and editing my script…I completely forgot the most important part of my job as a reporter…which is, relating and being in touch with my viewer. My job is to put myself in their shoes, what do they want or need to be informed about? What is going to be most interesting to them?



I also was so caught up in getting interviews from people in professional positions (Nick Carr, Safety Director of the Athens Water Plant, and Nancy Bain, third ward Athens city council member), that I forgot to get the most important interview of all…an Athens citizen who is going to be affected by the change in the water and sewer rates.


The Lesson
At the end of the day, I learned a very valuable lesson. Like anything in life, the newsroom is no different. You can’t change what you have already done, but you can learn from it so you don’t do it again. And that’s exactly what I am going to do. No more boring video. It is soooooo important to have ONE focus on your story and not overload your viewer with TMI. If they can’t follow your story, then why even have a story in the first place? I learned that the focus of my story not just for this story but for any hard news story, is to find out how it is going to affect the average viewer, and in turn, go out and get a real viewer and interview them.

I could have asked so many people if they were aware of the potential increase in the rates, rather than writing about how much money it is per 1000 gallons and yada, yada, yada, which no one really follows (let’s be serious.) I could have asked someone about his water bill, and how is he going to feel if the bill increases? Are they going to be able to afford it? And even more importantly, were they aware of the potential increase? My job is to make those viewers who aren’t aware, aware of what’s going on in the world around them, because I am a journalist. And the best journalists in the world, are aware and in touch with their viewers, so if I want to be the best, if I want to do my best at this job, then I need to do just that…and if I don’t? Well, there will be about a million others waiting in line, who will.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

College Graduates Weigh Options in Current Economy

by Drew Schaar
DS376006@ohio.edu

In this challenging state of the economy, college students graduating from universities face a tough situation when they graduate this spring: the job market is suffering. That has many soon-to-be college graduates weighing their options post-graduation. Some may find it hard to find a job while others are entering booming industries. Some grads will be heading to graduate school. Education and the economy are closely related. Adults recently laid off or out of a job are turning to education as well. They are hoping to further their education and sharpen their skills, gaining an edge in the job market.

FURTHER EDUCATION
Marsha Ham is the Executive Director of Lifelong and Distance Learning at Ohio University. She says her office offers many online classes to further education. The Lifelong Learning program mainly appeals to those who have been out of school for a while and want to pursue higher education options. "The audience is the adults who have been working for three to five years who feel they need to go back and upgrade their skills or complete their masters program," Ham says, "it essentially helps them make a career change or to move up in their current field."


Marsha Ham talks about further education options online

The online bachelors and graduate programs mostly appeal to non-traditional students. It is an easier format than attending normal on-campus classes. Ham says it offers more flexibility for those who must work and go to school at the same time. That way, they are able to finance their education while they are going through school. In the end, they come out with their degree.

Ham says they developed the program before the economy went sour. "What's happening with the economy is helping people who need to make changes and those sorts of things. We haven't actually seen people who have lost their jobs as this point. What we've seen is people asking about the financial aid available," Ham says. She sees more of the people wanting to move ahead in their field or wanting to change their career taking advantage of the online classes.

There is an upside to the failing economy, though. Ham says, "We see that education tends to be counter-cyclical. People who lose jobs, they take that opportunity to go back to school and finish that degree they never finished." She expects to see a rise in the number of students next fall between the ages of 30 and 45 years old who have lost their jobs. Ham says, "I think they'll be a lag time. The layoffs just started at the end of the year, and when people think about going back to school, they typically think about it in the fall."

Going back to school to get a higher degree or improve skills is what the Lifelong Learning services are about.

Ham says, "They're hoping that they can avoid the potential to be laid off because they're becoming more valuable to their employer." She adds, "People find themselves saying if I get more skills and get more credentials, it will be more valuable when the economy improves."

ASSISTING GRADS
Students graduating this spring do have a few options. Ohio University Career services says jobs are out there, it will just take a little more work to find them this year. Brittany Buxton is the Interim Assistant Director of Career Services. She says they do have a lot of students coming into the office who are considering grad school. Graduate school is not only a backup for students, but many are delaying the job search to further their education, making them more marketable to employers. Buxton says it is all about keeping your options open. "If it will make you more competitive, and in some cases it will, I think it is a good thing to do," says Buxton, "it is a good way to be proactive."

"There's been a definite downturn in the number of job availabilities. It depends a lot on the field. Some are going to grow regardless [of the economy]," Buxton says, "I don't think [finding a job] will be harder, we just might have to be more creative." Career Services is on the fifth floor of Baker Center and they offer all types of services to students. They encourage students to stop in for a mock interview, resume critique, career search and the like. And Buxton doesn't want students to get down and give up. She says some are submitting to the situation and remaining lethargic. She says they won't get jobs acting like that. "The outlook is still positive, but it is going to take a lot of effort and time. It is not going to be easy as it once was."


Katie Buxton gives her insight on the job market

At Ohio University's graduate school, applications for the fall of 2009 are down about 300 from last year at this time, according to Ohio University Office of Institutional Research. But, Ohio University has seen an increase in the number of applications over the last three to four years. This year's applications are still higher than the amounts in 2005 and 2006.

As the economy worsens and students consider grad school, the thought of the added cost comes to mind. Many students believe the added investment in education will pay off in the long run with added career options, benefits and higher salaries.

GRADUATION FAIR
Ohio University hosted its "Graduation Fair" this week offering all sorts of resources to graduating seniors at OU. Rebeckah Clark is Senior Geography & Environmental Studies major who attended the fair on Tuesday. "I’m terribly nervous about the economy. I know everyone is freaking out and about finding a job,” Clark said, “I think having environmental studies is an up and coming field that a lot of money is going to be pumped into, especially with the new administration so I’m hoping to get some government funding.” Clarks adds, “I feel really comfortable with my resumes because [career services] have helped me work through it. It’s something that I can be really proud to send out.”

There are still jobs available. Many companies are willing to hire recent graduates with some internship or professional experience. Those new to the workplace are hard working and willing to prove themselves, something long-time employees have outgrown. Take advantage of the resources offered, work hard on hunting and applying for jobs, or consider graduate school. Buxton says there are options; it is not the end of the world.

Check out the National Association of Colleges and Employers website for valuable information.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: Diving into Less Popular Sports


by JJ Andersen
ja287206@ohio.edu

Swimming and diving…? You lost my attention already.

Unless you’re talking about Michael Phelps, that is the thought that came to my mind. That was before I covered the OU Women’s Swimming and Diving team this week. Speaking with the head coach, Greg Werner, helped me understand the ins and outs of the sport.


Coach Greg Werner is excited about the team's opportunity

Adversity
Since the OU Athletic Department cuts two years ago, the women’s program is the only remaining team for the sport. Like me, it may be news to you that the OU team won the 2008 MAC Championship. Why is it that some of the most successful OU teams go unnoticed? Revenue, exposure and popularity may help explain this.

Reality
I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of ignoring the “less important” or “unfamiliar” sports. If you grew up around football and baseball, why would you care about sports like wrestling and swimming? From my experience reporting for Athens MidDay so far, I’ve already noticed what great stories these less featured sports teams make. It’s clear that the players and coaches really appreciate the time you’re putting in to cover them. The senior captain, Ashley Marion, is ready for what may be her final meet as a Bobcat.


Senior Captain Ashley Marion is ready for her last MAC Tournament

So let’s be real, how hard can college swimming be? Actually, much more difficult than I thought. Breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle at all different distances, WOW! Now think of your favorite sport and imagine playing it in four different styles. Yeah that’s what I thought; what if I was only allowed to run backwards on a 200 yard field as a football player?

I’m not making excuses, because I have been just as negligent following these sports. But, OU’s swimming and diving team is headed off to win another MAC Championship and it’s about time we recognize these success stories.

2009 MAC Championship

When: Wednesday, Feb 25 thru Saturday, Feb 28

Where
: BGSU Student Recreation Center, Bowling Green, Ohio

Who: OU and 7 other MAC teams

Stimulus Plan to Help Athens Sewer Division

by Ed Zelaski
ez327206@ohio.edu

The Athens Division of Water and Sewer could benefit from President Obama’s federal economic stimulus plan. The city applied for grants that would help pay for the upgrade to the city’s sewage treatment plant. City council was forced to cut $216,000 from the sewer department’s budget because of the tough economic times.

Stimulus Funds
Water and Sewer Director Nicholas Carr says that the wastewater treatment plant needs major improvements. He says the system dates back to the 1950’s. The stimulus funds would help pay for much needed improvements. He says the upgrades to the facility could improve the odor from the plant. “We have a lot of odor complaints down there,” Carr says.

Carr says he also wants federal stimulus money to help with the upkeep of the city’s water filtration system. He says that the filters, or clarifiers as they're called, need to be upgraded to keep meeting federal EPA standards. A lack of maintenance has caused the clarifiers to deteriorate. “We don’t have enough money to maintain them properly and they’re deteriorating,” Carr says.


Water and Sewer Director Nicholas Carr talks about the sewer projects


Benefits to Residents
These upgrades would improve service for Athens residents, Carr says. “Our system dates back to the 1950’s and 1960’s, but some of the uptown area even dates farther back than that,” he says. By upgrading the system, Athens residents would receive better water and sewer service. These repairs would cut down on the amount of water that needs to be treated at the plant. Carr says that the city knows where the problem areas are, they just need to have the money to be able to repair them.

Carr also says that he hopes City Council will do more than just go after stimulus money. He says his department needs a 10% water and sewer rate hike to make up for the more than $200,000 budget cut. The stimulus money would help with major repair work, but there is also routine maintenance that needs to be paid for.


Water and Sewer Director Nicholas Carr on how the repairs will benefit Athens

Other Stimulus Projects
The Athens Division of Water and Sewer is not the only department in the county that is asking for stimulus funds. The City of Athens is also requesting money for a new child care facility, repairs to the Grosvenor Slip, and the Lancaster Street paving and sidewalk rehabilitation. The child care facility would create 10 new jobs and would serve 100 children ages infant to before and after school programs.

Click here to see the full list of the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District projects for stimulus funding.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Empowering Women in Athens


by Julia Woehrle
jw286408@ohio.edu

Feminisim has come a long way, but Ohio University's Empowering Women of Ohio or EWO wanted to show in its second-annual Empowered Woman's Week that there are still a variety of issues people have to learn more about.

Educate and Show Women's Talent
From Valentine's Day through this past Sunday EWO and other women's groups on campus held daily events - from presenting women in sports and religion, to discussions about inter-generational and male feminism. Emily Dunlap, treasurer for Women Acting for Change (WAC), says "It's something we don't think about enough. We're the generation that gets told that feminism isn't necessary. So I think it's important to show yes, it still is."

Uniting Groups at Ohio University
EWO's president Lacey Rogers says one of the goals of the Empowered Woman's Week was to reach out to the different groups on campus. She said: "In the end we work on a lot of similar issues." Besides EWO and WAC, organizations like the LGBT Center, the Women's Center, SHADES and Open Doors collaborated for the events.


Emily Dunlap of Women Acting for Change (WAC) speaks about feminism today.

Sexy Bodies and Other Issues
Dunlap says that one of the major issues for WAC is the image of the female body. "How we are portrayed in the media and how we perceive ourselves that hypersexualization of the female body, we talked about that a lot," she said.

Other topics in the discussions included the similarities between different generations of feminism and how most of the issues like sexual abuse and equal pay are still important today, Dunlap said.


The Ledbetter Act and Equity Bake Sales
President Obama addressed one very important issue for women when he signed his very first bill as president: The Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Restoration Act.

"It is upholding one of this nation's founding principles: that we are all created equal and each deserves a chance to pursue our own version of happiness," Mr. Obama said in his speech. But Rogers says that EWO wants to point out that this pay equality has not been reached yet with their Gender Equity Bake Sales. To draw attention to this inequality men have to pay more for the EWO pastries.

Men as Feminists
For Rogers one of the most surprising things of the Empowered Women's Week was the engagement of some male feminists who spoke at a male feminist panel discussion: "Some of them were really passionate about issues like sexual violence that typically happen to women. It was really cool to see that they were willing to sit down and say - hey you need to think about this," she said. Rogers also said that she hopes that more men will get engaged with her group in the future, because it would help EWO to reach out to and educate other men.


Empower Women of Ohio President Lacey Rogers speaks about male feminists

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Housing Stability in Athens

by Josh Mei
jm145305@ohio.edu

As housing markets in bigger cities are spiraling downwards, Athens may see a smoother road through the crisis due to the economic stance of the city.

Since most revenue brought in is through Ohio University, that stability may help distance Athens a bit from the national spiraling impact.

Even with budget cuts plaguing the city, Tim Trout of Citizen’s Bank said the solidarity of the university would help out a lot.


Tim Trout talks about the University's role

What Residents Think

See what Maureen Burns-Hooker, an Athens homeowner, says about the new plans and hear her thoughts on the stability of Athens amidst the economic crisis.


Maureen Burns-Hooker expresses her opinions

Help for US Homeowners

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced his $75 billion foreclosure prevention plan to help homeowners across the country.

Some economists say the plan will help millions of borrowers in financial distress and prevent the housing market from total collapse.

The purpose of the lending plan would to prevent as many as 9 million Americans from losing their homes to foreclosure.

“In the end, all of us are paying a price for this mortgage crisis,” said Obama, “and all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen.”

The plan would allow up to 4 million borrowers facing foreclosure to get reduced payments through joint efforts by lenders and the US Treasury.

An additional 5 million, who may not qualify for conventional refinancing if their home values have dropped, could refinance through housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Associated Press reports that “Government support pledged to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is being doubled as well, to $400 billion, as part of an effort to encourage them to refinance loans that are "under water" — those in which homes' market values have sunk below the amount the owners still owe.”

While the President's lending plan will help the economic crisis as a whole, he also addressed the trouble it is causing individual families.

“The American Dream is being tested by a home mortgage crisis that not only threatens the stability of our economy but also the stability of our families and neighborhoods,” he said. “While this crisis is vast, it begins just one house and one family at a time.”

Lending Plans and Rates

President Obama’s lending plan calls for modified and adjustable rates. For many young adults looking to purchase a home, these contractual conditions may be confusing.

A modified rate will change some terms from an original mortgage plan and allow borrowers to get a fixed rate on a 15 or 30 year term at today’s rates.

An adjustable rate is formula based, and adjusts according to banks and market conditions.

To better understand this, Tim Trout explained exactly what these are.


Tim Trout of Citizen's Bank explains modified and adjustable rates

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reporter Blog: Polar Plunge


by Drew Schaar
DS376006@ohio.edu


"These people are crazy!"

That is the thought that was constantly in the back of my mind as I witnessed about 150 people gather at Stroud's Run State Park to take part in the annual Polar Plunge. The Polar Plunge is a nationwide program. The one in Athens was just one of many around the state of Ohio on Valentine's Day. Last year was the first year for it here. Jeff Madachy started the local event last year as a way to give back and make a legacy at OU. However, he told me a very compelling story about the deeper meaning to him.

Emotional
Jeff Madachy is a member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity at OU. His father used to be a cop. He has family members with intellectual disabilities. But, there's more. He and his brother, along with other members of his family, have been involved with Special Olympics for a long time.

Jeff says he has participated in some way since he was seven years old. He and his brother had plans to "plunge" together a few years back. Unfortunately Jeff's brother passed away. After that tragic day, Jeff was going to go to Lake Erie and participate in the Polar Plunge there with family and some friends. Scheduling conflicts prevented that, so he decided to start the OU/Athens Polar Plunge. It was a hit and this year raised $16,000. More than 150 people jumped in the cold and icy waters of Dow Lake.

I was struck by this story. None of that personal information was included on the press release I received about the event. I didn't really have a clue about it before hand. So, when I heard Jeff tell me the story on camera, I felt sort of shocked and unsure how to react. As a reporter, I will have to cover stories that involve many emotions. I have to remain unattached to the story as to be objective in my reporting. I don't think I could really cover a story if I were to become emotionally invested. It would taint the coverage of the story.

As the interview continued I didn't want to prod for personal details. The story had that happy, feel good quality to it. I never found out the details about the loss of Jeff's brother. I didn't want to invade. I had enough information to make the story hit home for a lot of people. It made the event seem really important and like it was doing a lot of good. Giving back and events for charity are always good, right?


Video of the plunge

The Plunge
The following day, I went to the lake to videotape the "plunge" and talk to a few participants. The parking lot was full. The beach was crowded. People were dressed up in all sorts of costumes. There was an inch of ice over much of the lake as people prepared for the plunge. I watched people register for the event and admired their costume choices. I saw everything from a penguin to an ice cube, turtles to sorority girls, cupids to redneck swimsuit. (of which the sign on the gentleman's back read "Red Neck Swim Soot")

I suppose it is worth noting that there was lots of cross dressing. However, bountiful clothing was not a popular choice. "Mankinis," diapers, speedos and thongs were aplenty. There were some interesting sights, but overall nothing was inappropriate. The event remained G-rated. The costumes were just for fun. They gathered a lot of attention and garnered a lot of laughs.

Once participants lined up the event moved rapidly. I had never attended a plunge before and wasn't 100% sure what to expect. I wanted to make sure I had the proper camera location so I could catch all of the action as well as snap a few closeups of some people. They counted down, then all at once leaped right into the water. Now when I say plunge, I really mean about 150 people all RAN into the water at the exact same time.

There was a lot of flailing of arms, screaming, splashing, and the like. Some participants went far out or dove in. They were the brave ones. I would say a majority waded out far enough into the water to get their legs wet and freezing cold. Then...as if there were a plague coming...everyone left the water, grabbed towels, dried off and hopped into cars. The plunge portion of the event was, from start to finish, less than 5 minutes long. That might be generous. I imagine if you are freezing cold in 30 degree weather on a cloudy day in Ohio after just having jumped into frigid water, you would want to get into some sort of warmth as fast as possible. Everyone did just that and vacated the lake within 10 minutes of the plunge.


Cylde Tippie talks about the event and his costume

The event was a success with more participants and money being raised this year. Everyone seemed to have a really good time, and it was certainly entertaining. I am very glad I was able to cover and witness such an event. One for the memory book, and an opportunity for me to cover a lighter, more comical feature-type story. I will definitely look forward to this event when it comes around next year! And who knows...I might even plunge!

Budget Cuts May Lead To Water Woes

by Drew Schaar
DS376006@ohio.edu

An Athens City Council ordinance proposes to cut the budget for many city departments. The majority of those cuts - more than $215,000 - are for water and sewer funds. If passed by council, the sewer maintenance, administration and plant funds would all be slashed. This cut could have a negative impact on the city's water infrastructure. Service and quality could be compromised for residents, in a city that has frequent boil advisories.


THE CUTS IN DOLLAR AMOUNTS:

Below is a list of some operating costs that could be cut.

Sewer Maintenance Fund - $136,000
Sewer Administration Fund - $3,300
Sewer Plant Fund - $54,500

At this time Nick Carr, Head of Water for the City of Athens, says that no personnel are being cut. He cautions that could change depending on how bad the budget gets as the year continues.

Carr says right now the Water Department has about $30,000 set aside for maintenance costs for the year. So far a little over $20,000 has been spent, and it is only February. As a result, that does not leave much money for the rest of the year for maintenance expenses. Carr says after the fund is depleted they will to go to council asking for more emergency money. At that time council will be forced to borrow the money, or take it from a more healthy account. "It's only going to slow things down," Carr says.

Carr listed a few projects that need to be completed to maintain service. He said there is a sludge pump down at the treatment plant as well as pumps needing repair on Richland and Oakmont. According to Carr, "All of this equipment is extremely expensive to maintain."

The operating budget is being cut, resulting in less maintenance to pumps, lines, and the treatment plant. Carr compares the situation to caring for your vehicle. If you don't service and maintain the equipment, you're not going to get the life expectancy out of it.

"It's just sad that we've gotta let things go. In the long run it is going to cost the city more money," says Carr, "Down the road we're going to have to fix all of this." He says the city is already violating its permit with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA wants the City of Athens to make improvements to its water system, but Carr says they don't have the money to do it. There is hope with the National Stimulus Package. Carr says the city could see some money trickle down that would help them complete maintenance and upgrades to the water system.


Head of Water Nick Carr talks about what the cuts mean for Athens


THE SOLUTION

"Council hasn't raised rates enough to keep up with maintenance aspects of the system," says Carr. The situation is creating a deficit for the city, which isn't pulling in enough money to cover costs and account for inflation. This, added to budget cuts, has rendered bank accounts very low. Right now water rates have an annual increase on average of 3-5%, making the water fund stable. There won't be many cuts there. Carr says, "Sewer rates need to have annual increases to keep up with inflation." The problem is city council has to vote to raise sewer rates, so they rarely change. In fact, the last increase was roughly eight years ago. However, the safety service director can raise water rates, much easier to do comparably speaking.


HOW CITIZENS ARE NOTIFIED OF BOIL ORDERS

There are many resources available for Athens City residents to find out about water main breaks, outages, or boil advisories. First, The Government Channel (Channel 15 for Time Warner Cable customers in Athens) will air the information on their channel as "ticker" information or part of a graphic to get resident's attention. Additionally, residents can tune into local radio stations which will frequently inform residents of boil orders.

Still, there are more options. The city's website offers a few great resources to residents to inform them about boil orders. That site will post them on the home page as well as the "water" section. If desirable, an e-mail subscription can be submitted to have boil alerts immediately e-mailed straight to your account. For those with less access to the internet, the city also runs a boil order hotline. That number is 594 5078. Residents can call that number to listen to a pre-recorded message which includes the latest information about boil orders.

We spoke to Joneswood Drive resident Don Stout. His street was affected by a boil order earlier in the month. He says he sees about a half-dozen boil orders a year. Stout says, "When the water goes off, I know there's a problem. So, in the last case I just went out and talked to the guys that were repairing it." Stout adds, "You can call - there's a hotline number. You can call it and it will give you a recorded message." That's how he usually finds out about boil orders. To him, waiting to hear the information on television or radio takes too long.


Resident Don Stout talks about boil orders


REACTION TO BOIL ORDERS
About the frequent boil orders, Stout says, "Well it'd be nice if it didn't happen but there's not solution to it because the pipeline is so old. It is cast iron and fractures particularly on this street because of the underground strata." He went on to explain that the ground under the surface is subject to frequent slippage, and the slightest move can break a fragile, aging pipeline.

Repairs will still have to be made although the city is planning to cut the budget for maintenance. No word on how that situation will be handled. However, resident Don Stout says, "They're going to have to make emergency repairs...budget or no budget."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meningitis Case on OU Campus

Nicole DeChant
ND341405@ohio.edu



Ohio University has one confirmed case of bacterial meningitis and one probable second case on campus. The first case was reported last Saturday night when a student from Crawford Hall, was taken to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital. He was then transferred to a Columbus area hospital where he is reportedly recovering.



The second student from James Hall, was reported as a second probable case of meningitis. On Monday afternoon, the student was transferred to a medical facility outside of Athens.

Later on Monday evening, Ohio University sent out an emergency text message alert and an e-mail alert to all students and faculty. They also posted the alert on the university website.

THE CASES ARE RELATED
Vice President of Student Affairs, Kent Smith says, "At this point we don't know if they were close friends, but however we do know that they were in a class together. We have identified that common point of contact so we're in the process of notifying faculty and students to make them aware so they can go and get treatment if needed."



WHAT IS BEING DONE
On Sunday and Monday, Dean of Students, Ryan Lombardi, VP of Student Affairs, Kent Smith and Director of Student Medical Services, John Cunningham met with Crawford Hall residents who live on the affected student's floor. They discussed precautionary measures with the students and answered questions. They plan to continue these meetings with James Hall residents as well as students in the affected classroom.


VP of Student Affairs Kent Smith talks about how preventative measures are difficult regarding meningitis.

SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR
- severe headache
- stiff neck
- fever
- disorientation
- lethargy
- nausea and vomiting

Bacterial meningitis often resembles the same symptoms seen in cold and flu viruses, which are common during this time of year. VP of Student Affairs Kent Smith says that if you experience any of these symptoms, visit your physician as soon as possible. It's especially important if these symptoms occur suddenly.

VACCINE VS. PILL
Currently, Hudson Health Center offers the vaccine for bacterial meningitis as well as an antibiotic pill. But what's the difference?

Vaccine- The vaccine is given as a shot and it will not take effect in your body for another 2-3 weeks. It works as a preventative measure but is not guaranteed.

Pill- It is an antibiotic given after the person has been in close contact with someone who has meningitis. It acts to kill the bacterial meningitis in the body that you have been exposed to recently. It does not work as a preventative measure. For example, if you come in close contact with bacterial meningitis after you have taken this pill, it will not prevent you from contracting it. Costs $2.00.

BEING CAUTIOUS
Ohio University senior Kim Brack was at Hudson Health Center last night to take the antibiotic pill. There is a girl in one of her classes that has recently been ill and is currently in Columbus being tested. Kim says, "I'm probably fine, but when I went to high school we had a girl pass away from meningitis so it's something that hits kind of close to home and nothing that I want to take a chance with."


OU senior Kim Brack tells us why she decided to visit Hudson Health Center after being notified.

For additional information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's frequently asked questions website. You can also call the Office of the Dean of Students at 740-593-1800.