UMass- Drastic changes have been made by the division of Student Affairs and Campus Life (SACL) due to the high demand for on campus housing.

Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of SACL,  Jean Kim stated “We have known for a couple years that we would be hitting a crunch for undergraduate housing.”
However it seems, more than ever theSACL have become the mainstream of today’s Daily Collegian headlines and causing under siege within the university.
“This is a pressing issue because the SACL decisions are having influential effects on the student body”  according to the editor of The Daily Collegian, Katie Landeck.
The SACL have decided to raise the rent and move all families out of the Lincoln Apartments to house the surplus of undergraduates who wish live on campus.

The Lincoln Apartments, located on the south side of campus, right behind southwest has been known to occupy graduate students and some faculty workers. There has are no reports of undergraduates living in the Lincoln Apartments.

Graduate Student Senate believes SACL changes violated the Wellman Document.

According to GSS Treasurer, Robin Anderson,  the Wellman Document  “ is a governance document, stating governmenting bodies on campus that is recognized by the university have the right to have their input heard on any policies changes that directly affect them.”

On April 4, GSS wrote a formal letter to Chancellor Robert Holub, demanding to suspend the new policy so both governing bodies could re-evaluate about the new policy and asking for a response by April 13.

There was no response so on April 19, the GSS held meeting and voted 11-2 for no confidence in Jean Kim, Vice Chancellor (SACL) and Executive Director of Residential Life Edward Hull.

Reportedly neither Kim nor Hull have responded but Anderson believes GSS has made their motives clear to Jean Kim and Edward Hull, who are very much aware of the situation.

“It’s an ongoing thing, a trend towards the erosion of on-campus housing for graduate students” said Matthew Ferrari, Family Issues Advocate for the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO).

Ferrari said the changes will allow the University  to increase its revenue by 100 percent because it will now be able to charge $750 per person in each apartment in Lincoln. Under the new guidelines for the Lincoln residential area, tenants, which will include undergraduate and graduate students, must adhere to a 24-hour quiet policy.

“The average graduate stipend is about $14,000 or $15,000 and rent is about 50-60% of that every year. To put that in perspective, Vice Chancellor Kim would be paying about $12,000 per month and Chancellor Holub would be paying about $20,000 per month” said Ferrari.

According to the UMass Strategic Residential Plan [page 23 of 27] – a qualitative and quantitative study done by Biddison Hier on residential life in 2002 – nearly all graduate students are dependent on their stipends for a living and are therefore in a price sensitive situation, where the University should provide housing for a cost that is reasonable based on a graduate student’s stipend.

“With international student it’s a tricky situation because their only allowed to work twenty hours per work, they can’t find jobs outside of campus, it has to be within campus. Their limited within their hours so they can’t find more income elsewhere. And these changes directly impact [graduate students] in ways more negatively than the population” stated Anderson.

“Their housing needs to reflect [these restrictions,]” says Ferrari. “If the University wants to raise our wages accordingly, that’s fine. They either need to do that or lower rent, or keep it where it is at the very least.”

Occupancy for the Lincoln apartments will increase to 160 students  in 2013, and to again 182 in 2014, effectively removing all graduate family housing options from the Lincoln apartments and funneling all families into the North Village apartments in the future.

“They are trying to fix the vacancy issue at North Village by evicting families from Lincoln and trying to fill North Village with [those families] because of the 6 to 12 percent vacancy rate,” said Ferrari.

The UMass Strategic Residential Plan [page 23 of 27] – is a qualitative and quantitative study done by Biddison Hier on residential life in 2002 – nearly all graduate students are dependent on their stipends for a living and are therefore in a price sensitive situation, where the University should provide housing for a cost that is reasonable based on a graduate student’s stipend.

According to Ferrari “The average graduate stipend is about $14,000 or $15,000 and rent is about 50-60% of that every year  and to put in perspective, Vice Chancellor Kim would be paying about $12,000 per month and Chancellor Holub would be paying about $20,000 per month.”

The biggest impact of these changes will be the University’s struggle to recruit and retain top-level researchers from abroad believes Ferrari.

The Framework of Excellence, a vision created by the Chancellor and President, put emphasis on recruiting top-level researchers and becoming a premier international research institution, but when the cost of living is higher than the stipend a graduate student would receive, its hard to recruit the talent to fill those research positions.

“Most of these top-level researchers are going to have other options like the University of Connecticut or Rutgers, I know for a fact that the average annual stipend is anywhere from $16,000 to $25,000 and the cost of living is about the same” Ferrari said.

“This trend we are seeing, it’s very similar to how they’ve handled other university situations such as recent the peer mentor situation and the housing shortage in general this year” Landeck said.

“A lot of graduate students are going to have to live off campus, might have to buy cars meaning more vehicle traffic coming into Amherst” said Ferrari.

Lastly, Anderson stated “SACL has a motto throughout campus that this is a student first campus. It’s everywhere. We [GSS] would actually like to see that in practice not just a motto that they can put up on their websites and in their pamphlets to sell the university to their student and that [SACL] would actually adhere to that motto.”

By Tyler Manoukian, Melissa Gately, and Remy Schwartz

Advertisements

When I was a freshman last year and I started pondering the idea of becoming a journalism major but my main concern was I thought journalism was a dying profession. Also I didn’t think I would be able to find a job or ever become successful if I chose to major in journalism. However, after taking several journalism classes I discovered I was wrong.

Before this class, I wasn’t aware of the wide variety of job opportunities journalism could entail. The Journalism classes that I had taken before the multimedia class were primarily about the newspaper industry and print writing. Although I found it all very interesting, I just knew it wasn’t for me. Also I was aware of the struggles newspapers were facing today in order to stay afloat. It was daunting for me to see small staffs struggle to distribute the large amount workload among them.

So when I discovered the multimedia class it was kind on a whim and could only hope for the best because I really wanted to refrain from the print or newspaper industry. So when I read the description for the multimedia class, I reflected back on myself and felt that I have always had a special niche with computers and navigating the web and believe it came relatively easy for me.  Especially when I compare myself to my parents who struggle with basic things such as turning on the TV or computer. Lastly, I have always enjoyed taking pictures, making sideshows, watching documentaries and even uploaded a YouTube video that showed edited clips of at the time my favorite tv show and was able to incorporate my favorite song in it.

So I guess it’s always been a special interest of mind and was always in the back of mind about creating multimedia packages but I never knew there was a class that taught you how to create an effective news package. Which is why I throughly enjoyed taking the multimedia class.

Now after having completed the multimedia course, I have a better perspective of where the future of Journalism is going. I  realize Journalism isn’t going anywhere, if anything it is more omnipresent than ever. More than ever, people are more active and interest with journalism today because of the capability of receiving journalism at the palm of a hand.

Also with the advances of technology, technology has created a variety of different ways people can receive news. Before the multimedia era, people received their information only through the radio, TV and newspaper. Now people can receive there news in a variety of different ways, they can receive it on their phone, through a podcast, stream videos, through photos or photo gallery and interactive maps.

With these news options on how people can choose the way they receive their information, this new technology has created new job opportunities for the journalism field.

In the article The Demise of Newspapers means better journalismit discusses the future of journalism is on the rise because of technology. The types of benefits technology has created is more opportunities for reporting, enhanced reporting (instant), and lastly, a better understanding for their audiences.

Now I realize how vital the internet and the Web has become for the future of journalism. I never considered that the internet or the Web has changed the ways newspapers operate today. In conclusion I realize journalism is indeed the right major for me.

In addition, I recently got sent an email about a possible internship opportunity that is asking for correspondent to conduct interviews with fellow students on health topics and a camera will be provided. This internship is precisely what I’ve been looking for because it’s exactly what I  want to do which is be a health and nutrition related journalist. Also I feel confident in filming, conducting interviews and editing videos to make things into an effective news package and it definitely wouldn’t have been possible  if I hadn’t taken the multimedia course.

A recent topic of debate among journalists is, is SEO more important than the AP Style?

For myself, it’s hard to conjure Search Engine Optimization or SEO is more important than the AP Style. Especially having grown up in an environment where English teachers adamantly emphasized the importance of the AP style. Therefore my knowledge of SEO has always been diminutive until recently.

In conjunction to my recent blog post, Modern Problematics of the Journalism World, SEO does entail many benefits for modern journalists however there are negatives factors.

Because of the dissolution of news on print and the new desire for news on the web subsequently anyone can be a publisher. Fortunately this is why SEO is influential. SEO is a great tool to master that indubitably enhance journalists. SEO is a format that essentially caters for search engine users. Therefore if a journalist implements SEO skills into their articles thus attracts search engine users to easily find their article(s) online and essentially outwit their online competitors.

SEO educates journalists to be clear and concise, however SEO disregards ethical implications of sloppy SEO. SEO can be a tricky concept to grasp, and many journalists have become careless because of sloppy SEO. The ethical implication of SEO has signified a increase amount of  distorted facts, and fact-checking rumors in journalists’ writing.

Many journalists are opposed to SEO and think it isn’t fair to have to cater their articles for search engine user to find it easier. However it seems feasible for journalists to follow the SEO structure if they want to be a successful and renowned writer.

In an article How to: get to grips with SEO as a journalist, Coles stated ” as a journalist, SEO doesn’t have to mean you compromise what you do. It is just a way to make sure that your content has the best chance of being found by new readers.”

Which verifies that SEO is not a valid excuse to neglect ethical implications or compromise yourself as journalist.

In SEO Makes It Too Late for Truth for ‘Ground Zero Mosque,the article discusses an obstacle journalists face with their headlines today. From beginning of time, journalists are taught that accuracy and liability is vital. More than ever journalists are torn, being accurate and following the AP style or referring to SEO and possibly neglecting the ethical implications. Journalists are struggling to find a happy medium of using SEO and being accurate in their headlines. Unforunately it seems that using SEO and accuracy  sometimes can’t intermix in their writing and headlines.

Many journalists believe that following SEO format is more important than being accurate. Quoted from  SEO Makes It Too Late for Truth for ‘Ground Zero Mosque, Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, explained in an email:

““It may be inaccurate, but if that’s what the public is searching for, then using it speaks to what they seek. Once they arrive they can be further educated.”

In conclusion some journalists may always be skeptical of SEO because of the possible ethical implications. Some journalists are confused as to which one is more important and others believe SEO is the only option. In the article Student journalists need to learn SEO more than they need AP StyleMindy McAdams believes using both styles are equally important.

The inevitable demise of newspapers is apparent for today’s journalists. However the creation of Web 2.0 and the arbitrary advances of technology has significantly benefited the journalism world today. Subsequently, along with these beneficial outcomes unleashes an array of new glitches. Finally modern-day journalists can  stop dwelling on the dissolution of newspapers and move onto the present problematics journalists face today.

Living in the 21st Century can be a gift and at the same time a curse. The gift is the simplistic accessibility to the vast amount and variety of news media outlets. The downfall is living in the era of instant gratification. For the  first time audiences is consuming news media more than ever. Mainly because of the capability of being able to receive any information in the palm of a hand.  Journalists captivated this is as a new revelation. In return Journalists new desire is to meet and maintain the high demand of instant news that their audiences are desperately seeking for. However with this new desire comes the array of technical glitches from trying to meet these high demands.

An unfortunate but important lesson that the Journalism world should learn from was the recent false report’s of Joe Paterno’s death. Within moments of the first false report of Paterno’s death, the story began to spread like wildfire. This story unraveled very similar to a game that children play called telephone.  The children whisper a phrase to the person next to them, then that person forwards the message to the person next to them and so forth. The last person reveals the message to the group, and typically the message is distorted from the original message.

The false report of Paterno’s death began on a Student-Run Web site affiliated with Penn State, reported by ‘at the time’ managing editor of Onward State, Devon Edwards. The mistake Edwards made was never back tracking the source to verify that his statement was accurate. Unfortunately Edwards heard of an email that stated Paterno’s death and was distributed to Penn State football players.

Within an hour of Edward’s false report, several other media news outlets chimed in and reported Paterno’s Death even added additional details. Thus is why technology has become problematic in the journalism world. Technology is instant and because of the high demand of news media coverage, journalists are rushing to disseminate the information before anyone else does.  This notion of ‘being first’ is dangerous, for it can impair journalist’s judgement, blind their ethic implications and ultimately hinder their reputation.

Last night, guest lecturer and NPR’s Managing Editor for Digital News, Mark Stencel guest briefly touched upon the ethical implications of journalists. Stencel believes it’s an understatement that journalists make mistakes, and its inevitable because journalists are human and all humans make mistakes. Although Stencel said it’s not an excuse for journalists to make mistake  but if a mistake is made, it’s the aftermath that matters.

When Edward realized his error,  Edward’s profusely apologized  and released a statement that regarded the situation and was specifically meant for the family members of Joe Paterno. Further more, Edward later resigned but continued to remain on staff.

Indeed this particular story taught journalists a valuable lesson. Accuracy, back tracking sources and liability is vital and matters. This is why living in the 21st century can be a curse because publishing can be too easy, too fast and accommodating. For instance once something becomes published, it can become viral with minutes. Even though the internet provides a delete bottom doesn’t mean it went it went unnoticed. Stencel stated by deleting a published work makes readers suspicious if there’s something to hide.

In conclusion, the modern problematics journalists face today is the possibility of getting engulfed by the instant news media craze, neglecting ethical implications and ultimately becoming a careless writer.

 

A recent UMass graduate, Will McGuinness graced us with his presence in last Thursday’s  Multimedia Journalism Class. Will McGuinnes is currently a Digital content producer at CBS Local and a Freelance Journalist at Self. His experience includes a contributor writer at The Advocate magazine, online Product Manager – Taunton/Fall River at GateHouse Media New England and much more.

All of McGuinness’ recent experience needed the skills of multimedia. McGuinness believes the direction journalism is  “it’s breaking away from the newspaper model of slapping the content on the page and letting the audience just read it.” This is where the role of multimedia journalism becomes crucial.  Since the new trend these days is everybody wants the idea that everything ‘moves around’ and is interactive.

This is huge for the journalism field because it seems people have this preconceived notation that the journalism field is deteriorating. When in actuality there is an increase because of the attentive readers that are eager to receive information in the many infinite ways of news story is being distributed. The multimedia aspect has increased a number of new journalism opportunities since aspect multimedia is still growing and seems endless. It seems that there is always something new to be discovered or experimented in the multimedia side of journalism.

A problem multimedia journalism faces and McGuinness advocates is the cost of multimedia versus the standard writing an article for print. The things that need to be considered while producing a multimedia journalism story is the cost of equipment, video editing software and the amount of people hired per story. Lastly it’s more time consuming to produce a multimedia story compared to writing an article for print. This is since a multimedia story requires video editing, interviews and good audio enhancements and it’s better to have more than one person working on a multimedia story versus someone doing it all on their own.

By the time McGuinness graduate from UMass, his resume included 7 internships. The 7 internships included:

When McGuinness graduated in 2010, he was adamant to find a job. At one point McGuinness made a goal,  to apply to five different jobs a day. Since the newspaper industry and other news organizations have cut back mostly on their staff, McGuinness admits that it is hard to find a job. Typically because the small business is already short staffed and many of the people who are on staff are the people who have been working there for years.

But McGuinness also wanted to emphasized that there is  job opportunities out there and sometimes when applying for a job, it is possible to be hired for a different job then the job that  you were initially trying out for.

This happened to McGuinness when Gatehouse Media hired him in August 2010 but didn’t receive the job that he was applying for instead they hired him to be an online Product Manager in Taunton/Fall River. McGuinness worked at Gatehouse Media for more than a year and gained informative knowledge. McGuinness learned the ins and outs of the newspaper and quickly became familiar with the online website.

A major story, McGuinness covered during the time he worked at Gatehouse was the incident of  the Fall River Drowning in the Summer of 2011. The social network of Facebook played an important role in cracking the story because the first ID and picture was able to be compiled from the victim’s Facebook page.

Anything on Facebook, McGuinness states is public content and while working on the Fall River Drowning, he learned it is important to ask permission before publishing. Another reason Facebook contributed as an important role when covering the Fall River Drowning, was the  Facebook video chat that allowed them to get in contact with victim’s family members.

Overall, it was a delight to have McGuinness guest lecture. His presentation was very informative and interesting. The last major thing McGuinness emphasized is connections and how vital it is in the journalism field. By building connections early on can help  later on when looking for job opportunities.

In Life, Interrupted: A Video Portrait of Cancer in Young Adulthood, this documentary-style video portrays the essentials of a well produced and effective news package.

The video chronicles the story of a young women in her twenties whose life is interrupted when she gets diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

In the first twenty seconds of this video the voice over/ narrative establishes the story and hooks the audience. The news package video has an array of standstill photos, of before her illness, and present photos of herself.

Suleika Jaouad, the narrator of video, slowly speaks with fluidity, and emphasis. It is a heart wrenching video to watch.

Similar to a news feature story, many viewers will be enticed to watch this video because it’s a human interest story.

In the book Journalism NextBriggs states there are  two types of video assignments, a full documentary-style video or breaking news and highlights clips. Both types of video assignments require the same thinking as if it was to be written. The things to brainstorm before making a video, is thinking about how the video will tell the story and what is the message being portrayed throughout the video.

What makes this video an effective news package?

It focuses on one central idea, and it uses an array  of short clips in chronological order. Lastly the video has a clear beginning, middle and end. The short clips display an array of different angles, wide-angle shots, medium shots and close-ups zoom. Also the short video clips was able to include the five-shot sequences:

  • Close-up on the hands: Example: The Nurse inserting a needle into Jaouad‘s arm or typing on her laptop.
  • Close-up on the face: The last video clip, shows a close up of Jaouad’s face and discussing about her difficulties and fears.
  • Wide Shots: Showed the view of the doctor’s room.
  • Over the shoulder shot: The shot when the mother was talking, the angle shot was over the shoulder of Jaoud but focusing on the shot of her mother.
  • Creative Shot: Receiving a Hair Cut.

Another reason this video is an effective news package is all video clips have good lightning. Also the video clips have good focus and exposure.  The video, also mixes in still images at the appropriate time, making the images very purposeful. The video editing was well though out, with pleasing transitions and purposeful timing. Lastly, the video has an array of good audio, from coherent narration, intersecting music and natural sound.

Some criticism of the video:

  • The Length: It is rather on the long side, maybe not because it’s a documentary style video but it could hinder viewers from watching the video.
  • Rules of Thirds: I noticed some of the video shots were not angled according to the rules of thirds. Example: In the last clip when Jaoud talks about how she overall feels. The shot of the video frames her dead center and if it followed the rules of thirds, Jaoud should have been angled on the far right side of the shot.
  • The Music: This is a taste preference but I thought there could be a better choice of the music used in the video.
Overall this is a great news package video that is effective. Although the video probably could’ve been edited more, making the length of video a little shorter. The video does contain every element a  good news package should have!

Pioneer Valley Farmers Feel the Effects of the Unseasonably Warm Winter

16MAR

New England is infamous for sporadic weather. Unlike the heavy snowfall of 2011, the winter of 2012 has been relatively dry. We may find warm temperatures and dry roads pleasant, but for area farmers, an unpredictable season can be a serious liability. Pioneer Valley farmers spent the first few months of this year re-adjusting their businesses.


Leslie Cox, is the manager of the Farm Center at Hampshire College. Cox cares for the farm’s diverse livestock, the hay fields, and the maple sugar crop. He discussed with us the negative impact of recent weather patterns on the sugaring process. Cox expressed concern over the economic implications of diminished crops this past winter.

He told us he earns between $1,500 and $2,000 annually from the maple sugar crop. This year he chose to skip the harvest completely. His decision was based on the unpredictability of the late winter temperatures and the worn-out condition of the trees.

“Sometimes you just have to let things rest,” Cox told us. “When I walked through the sugar woods I felt really guilty for letting it get this bad…so I chose to sit the season out.” He told us that the Cornell University Agriculture Department, who specialize in sugar maple harvests, sent out a bulletin suggesting farmers tap their trees earlier than usual. The people that followed this instruction and tapped early had a near-normal season.

Jarrett Man, co-owner of The Kitchen Garden Farm, spends the winter growing leafy greens like kale, lettuce and spinach. Most winter vegetable farmers grow in un-heated greenhouses. Man told us his season hasn’t hit hard by the weather.  He told us that despite warm temperatures, the ground has been colder than usual this year. Without the insulating layer of snow, soil has stayed frozen throughout the past few months.

Man has been taking precautions to ensure a healthy crop season in the spring and summer. He does so by tracking ‘growing degree days’, which essentially means he’s been monitoring temperature fluctuations closely. He does so to make sure his plants don’t jump the gun and start growing before it’s time. Plants are physiologically programmed to move faster when it’s warm out, but Man worries if they follow their instincts they’ll die in an unexpected freeze.

Cox told us that unlike his sugar crop, this weather has been great for his animals. They’ve been able to stay outside in the pasture for much of the season, instead of in a heated barn. If they were inside, he would have to pay to heat and feed them corn. In the field they can graze on grass and keep warm in the sun’s light, saving Cox tremendous energy costs.

Nancy Hansen manages the vegetable growth for the Hampshire College FarmCommunity Supported Agriculture Program, or CSA. She also grows her winter crops in greenhouses, but she says the unpredictability has caused some financial losses this season. Their inability to accurately predict temperatures has thrown off their harvests. Hansen’s vegetables are coming in too fast or too slow, but generally not on time.

Post and Video by Melissa Gately, Tyler Manoukian, and Remy Schwartz