Monday, September 21, 2009

Towson Football Kicks Off to an Explosive Start

It's that time of year again. You guessed season. And in spite of the H1N1 panic, those painfully dull classes to which one might prefer death, and the expiration of the summer season, we can find solace in football. This past Saturday, the Towson Tigers delivered for a stadium packed with over 7,000 fans. And while I am by no means a football fan, I thought that this first game of the season was the best I'd ever been to.

My roommate and I had the pleasure of sitting within the first ten rows, close to the field and right behind the most outrageous die-hard Tigers fans at Towson University. You know, the ones who paint their bodies in that brazen black and gold and who shout so fervently that they are sure to be hoarse in the morning. Standing shoulder to shoulder with people who like to scream, mostly about anything (at one point they were chanting "Catch that bat!" in response to the sporadic flight of a random bat above the bleachers) was actually a lot of fun. Their fiery energy almost made me forget the dropping temperature (almost). And though I didn't get the memo about bringing along a spoon, I still had a blast screaming for every brutal tackle, for every unexpected interception, and for every victorious touchdown. By the end of the game, my throat was aching and the palms of my hands were aching (from banging on the bleachers). But in exchange for my loyalty, I got to see myself yelling on that giant screen behind the end zone, caught a catapulted t-shirt and danced with our ferocious mascot, Doc.

Towards the end of the game, just when I thought things would end badly, the Tigers maintained their unwavering resistance and defeated Coastal Carolina with a score of 21-17. Not too bad for new coach Rob Ambrose's first home game.

And to cap off a dynamic game, there was an explosive ten-minute fireworks show after the game. Everybody loves fireworks and it seemed to be a real treat for visiting family and friends. And for the students, we got to enjoy free wings at the Glen Dining Hall where URG organized a wing eating contest and offered free prizes with raffle tickets.

At the end of the evening, I felt a new-found pride for my school. I gave Towson my loyalty (and my voice) and Towson gave me a t-shirt, a fireworks show, and a glorious evening I'll never forget.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Slideshow Idea

I spent the last week brainstorming about my profile story and what sort of person would be interesting to interview. After racking my brain and musing aloud for some days, I thought of Jon Graf.

With the election that took place in the past week, "Tigertown P.R.I.D.E" has been constantly in my head. Those yellow t-shirts and chalk markings on the paths of Towson's campus were enough to catch my attention. Three members in the group triumphed in the election, and at the head of the group was Jon Graf, a budding politician and darn cool guy. I think that hearing from Graf post-election and about his journey to the presidency would be something that students who voted for him would be interested in.

To learn more about the election, check out The Towerlight's website and read the recent article "'Tigertown' meets 'Change.'"

Tuition Freeze

In the article "In-State Students See Tuition Freeze," Brian Stelter gives Towerlight readers the lowdown on tuition relief. After reallocation of state funds by the University System of Maryland, Gov. Ehrlich was able to announce a freeze on tuition.

This is a great story. It's informative and relevant. But I think this story would be a lot more relateable if the reader could see the viewpoint of students affected by the decision. Perhaps a student at Towson could have been interviewed and asked their opinions on the tuition cap.

For students attending Towson University or any other university in the state of Maryland, this is definitely good news. It's especially good news for those students who are working their way through college and fighting for financial aid to earn their degree. That's why I think it's important to hear from the students who might benefit from the tuition freeze.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jobless? Listen Up!

I recently completed an audio story about the advantages of on-campus jobs in which I interviewed TU students working on-campus jobs. Towson University offers many different jobs for its students, but students have to be aggressive about them. There are only a limited amount of job opportunities on campus, and at a school with a population of over 18,000, these jobs go fast. Listen to my audio story, "How Towson Can Make You Money" to get the spill about the benefits of on-campus jobs.

Also, for those interested in work, Towson University is holding a Part-Time/Summer Job Fair on April 6 in University Union.

And, in case you missed it, check out my feature story, "How to Live Within Your Means Off-Campus," a story that discusses tips to living affordably off-campus.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mastering the Broadcast Lead

Recently, we've been discussing broadcast news writing. To get started, you'll want to start with the broadcast lead. The broadcast lead should include:

1) The essence of the story
2) One or two of the "W's"
3) Relation to the audience
4) Up-to-date information

Here are some examples of summary leads transformed to broadcast leads from

From the story "Gunman Kills Pastor at Illinois Church" by J. David Goodman:

Shortly after services begun at 8:15 Sunday morning, a man walked straight down the aisle of an Illinois church and shot the pastor to death, according to the state police.

In broadcast lead format:

State police say that at an early Sunday morning church service, a man shot and killed a pastor at an Illinois church.

From the story "Discharge From the Army Relieves Mother" by The Associated Press:

A North Caroline mother who reported for Army duty with her two young children said she was happy and relieved that the military granted her an honorable discharge.

In broadcast lead format:

Like any military mom, a North Carolina woman was relieved to be granted honorable discharge from the military.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Farewell RAs, Hello Landlords

In the quest to find an apartment while also saving money, some Towson students may be scratching their heads, wondering where to begin. In the Towerlight article, "TU Eases Off-Campus Move," author Mike Fila gives the low down on some of the ways Towson is helping students find off-campus living to fit their individual needs. Yet whether students are focused on location or amenities, the price is always the most important aspect of searching for a place to live.

"The new policy implemented on a per credit basis. Students with 90 credits or more are required to move off campus, while those with 60 to 89 credits are being entered into a housing lottery for available space." The key word here is "lottery," meaning there's no real guarantee for space, even for those qualified to live on campus.

Towson University is now offering an Off-Campus Housing Locator, a database for those searching for available apartments and those looking to fill vacancies. Also, Housing and Residence life hosted an off-campus living fair, where vendors were able to hand out information about their complexes and invite students to visit to make sure their facilities are a fit.

In this article, I would have liked a link to the housing database. I think that it would be a quick way to allow curious readers to check it out for themselves. I also would have liked to see a quote from one of the students who might be planning on attending the off-campus living fair. I'd also like to know how effective the housing database is. Has it helped anyone find a place to live? I would have liked to see a quote from a student who has used it before.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The First Feature Story

Right now, everyone is worried about where they are going to live next semester. More importantly, Towson students want to know what it's going to cost them. With the university pushing anyone whose not a freshman or transfer student out of on-campus housing, many students are wondering whether or not living off-campus will put a strain on their finances.

For my feature story, I plan to write a "How To" story on living affordably off campus. I'll interview some students living off campus and get some insight into how they've learned to make every penny count. Hopefully, whoever takes a peek at my story will be able to learn some effective ways to save money.