Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Green

Green is the new black. That's what they're all saying. Across the nation, Americans are making more environmentally conscious decisions to help preserve our planet. Towson University is no exception. With several programs and organizations dedicated to going green and helping the environment, Towson University is just one of many schools across the nation doing its part. For my next story, I want to have a one-on-one interview with one of the members of the Video Activism Organization Facebook group. The VAO Facebook group puts together creative videos to fight apathy about the environment and keep students aware of environmental crises the world is now facing. Some questions I want to ask are about the impact of the environmental videos on Facebook users, the direction and goals of the growing organization, and what other organizations or proagrams are the members of VAO active in. For audio, I'll use interesting clips of the interview to add to my webpage. I also want to snap of photo of my interviewee in action, preferably working at their computer. I want to put the spotlight on students who are putting their time and effort into helping our planet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rock the Vote!

It's hard to avoid the election frenzy that has fallen over our country. Yes, it's that time of year again, time to cast our ballots in the spirit of American democracy. As we move into the final stretch in the race toward the White House, it's time to make our collective voice heard. Who will win the Presidency: Obama or McCain? It is the duty of each American citizen to decide.
That's why I have decided to cover the voting event at my local election center, Walden Woods Elementary School in Clinton, MD. I want to evaluate the turnout, including diversity amongst the voters, assess the atmosphere, and interview as many voters as possible. I'll ask questions about the wait to vote, what issues are most important to each voter, who the voters support, and who they think will win the election. As a virgin voter, I want to learn more about the voting process as I rock the vote for the first time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Inverted Pyramid Style of Writing

The inverted pyramid is the structure used by journalists when news reporting. Stories using an inverted pyramid style of writing begins with the conclusion where a typical introduction would be placed. After the conclusion comes support information. Finally, the background information and details wrap up the article.

An example of a news article that uses the inverted pyramid style is "Warning Labels for Caffeinated Energy Drinks" in the health section of Sunday's issue of
The New York Times. The article starts by stating the major conclusion to the argument: Energy drinks should have warning labels. The article then begins to support this conclusion by stating several recent findings on the dangers of energy drinks. Then, the main argument is supported by facts and statistics that reinforce how energy drinks can be a harmful health risk for its consumers. These detailed findings include data collected from credible sources, such as doctors and health organizations. The article ends by listing several links for even more information and follow-up reading. To check out this article, go to

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Open Mic Night!

Though there are all kinds of interesting events happening on our campus, the event that I've decided to cover is the Open Mic Night on Thursday, Sept. 25. I know that this event will take place at Paws in the University Union. According to The Towerlight, the microphone will be open for acoustic music, poetry, and comedy. Students can sign up with the Campus Activities Board in the Union. My main sources will be the different students offering to share their talents. I'm interested in knowing what inspires them and how they got started with music, comedy, or poetry. I'll also want to know why they decided to come out and perform on stage and whether or not they have performed in front of an audience. These are just a few of the questions that I will ask. I will also monitor the venue and see how many students show up for the event, how diverse the acts are, and how the crowd responds to the different acts. I'm really eager to see how this event turns out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This week, Professor Atwater was pretty excited about Twitter. So we opened our twitter accounts and got started with 1-2-3 filing. I'm going to comment on a few of my classmates filings on twitter.

First up is Brian Wright's headline "Spidertown?" Not only does this headline let us get a hint of what the article is about, it's also pretty clever. Brian summarizes in active voice and uses the subject-verb-object model. He also uses the 5 W's without getting too detailed and he gives just enough information to let the reader get the gist of what the article will cover. You can see Brian's twitter page at

Second up for discussion is Rachel Rothwell's headline "Going Green Made Easier for Towson Students." The headline gets straight to the point and lets us get an idea of where the article is going while using an active voice. In her summary, Rachel provides us with the 5 W's and tells us how Towson will make being environmentally responsible easier. You can see Rachel's twitter page at

Lastly, we'll discuss Cara Wood's headline "Richmond Spiders Strike Back, Win 45-14." Her headline is written in active voice and gives us a quick update on the Towson Tigers as they travel on away games. Her brief summary keeps us current while still linking the outcome of this recent game to a past game. You can see Cara's twitter page at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whose News?

What's a press release? A press release is a faxed, mailed, or emailed document sent to news media organizations to get journalists to report on the subject.

The NY Times article "The Lincoln Center Turns 50 and Prepares a Party" is an example of a press release. The article gives the brief history of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and lets the reader know the future construction plans as well. This is a press release because the story is pretty much a lengthy ad. It advertises the Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary as well as giving a preview of upcoming events. It is clear that Lincoln Center president, Reynold Levy, wants the public to share in arts the center has to offer. To check out this article, visit

What's original reporting? Original reporting requires journalists to get out there and research for a story.

The NY Times article "Big Storms Are Taking Heavy Toll on Midwest" is an example of original reporting. It's original reporting because Ike is big news right now. It's important for a large publication like the NY Times to keep up with every new development with the hurricane in order to compete with other publications. Therefore, waiting on a press release is unnecessary. To check out this article, visit

Is it Newsworthy?

Baltimore Sun article "Obama on Education" discusses Barack Obama's stance on education. Increased funding for charter schools and adjusting teacher wages based on performance level are just a couple of changes Sen. Obama intends to make. John McCain's response to Sen. Obama's proposal was to create more school choice options for parents. However, Sen. Obama insists that improving schools and building more public schools will prove more beneficial than John McCain's voucher program.
This article is newsworthy because it is relevant to the current election. While thousands of Americans are anticipating November 4th, they want to know where the presidential nominees stand on the issues. The prominence of these two political figures attracts readers to these sort of articles. Therefore, it's important to compare the positions of each candidate on issues that affect ordinary American people.

The article "Trains Crash in California" reports a commuter train crash in California. Of the 220 Union Pacific passengers more than 10 were killed and dozens were left severely injured. Firefighters worked to extinguish fires and release those trapped inside cars. The devastating freight train crash was compared to the Jan. 26, 2005, Metrolink train crash in Glendale which was recorded as Metrolink's worst train wreck. In the Glendale crash, 11 were killed with 180 were injured.
This article is relevant because it impacted the lives of a lot of people in California. The readers of this article will want to know how this tragedy occurred and how likely it is to happen to them. Though this story took place in California, it is still important news to those who live elsewhere.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Trapping Art

Freelance journalist Poh Si Teng captures art by various methods. This Malaysia native came to the United States where she's worked from coast to coast. Her multimedia website is proof that she carries a very heavy backpack. On her at all times must be her camera, a high quality advanced digital device ready to snap living art and history at a moment's notice. She might tote with her a simple notepad and pen to jot down her research and perhaps she carries a tape recorder along as well. Teng must frequently bring her video camera out to document interviews which give a firsthand account of stories, experiences, and events.
I was impressed with Teng's work. Her use of visuals successfully reeled me in and kept my eyes glued to my computer screen. Teng takes her visitors on a sensory journey and traps art using video, audio, and pictures to tell stories of ordinary people like you and I. I was able to see life through the eyes of a gay cowgirl or a blind commuter. It is fascinating how technology allowed me to dip into the lives of people I'd ordinarily overlook, if only for just a few minutes.
If you'd like to see more from Poh Si Teng, visit

Who I a Nutshell

Hi all.

I'm Geneane Johnson (yes, that's Geneane with a "G"), and I'm a "sophman" here at Towson University. I'm not quite sure where I want to go or what I want to do, but I do know that, no matter what, I have to write. I'm ready to jump right into deep and equip myself with all the tools necessary to become a brilliant writer. You can never learn too much, right?