Thursday, April 22, 2010

POV: In-Class Exercise (Unedited)

Objectivity: an increasingly ominous term used by journalists around the world. What is objectivity? Why do I need to practice the art of journalism within the ever-growing realm the term encompasses? How can I practice objectivity if it’s so abstract? Why does it even matter?

Objectivity matters, dear friend. It matters. Imagine that you are walking down the street. Imagine that you have just come out of the courtroom. You’ve just met with your lawyer and judge because you’re being sued for a tremendous amount of money for a hate crime that you didn’t commit. The person suing you knows that you didn’t do it, you know that, but the judge doesn’t know that.

As you are walking, you approach a dark alleyway. We all know what goes through the minds of many when passing by these types of alleys. You know exactly what I’m talking about: a couple dumpsters, puddles of God-knows-what, the strongest scent you’ve smelled in your entire life.

Now, your mind is on other things when, suddenly, a man makes his presence known to you by putting you in a headlock and dragging you into the alley. He may or may not have a weapon. He is any race that you are not. You struggle. You scream. You kick. You bite.

Eventually, after underestimating your strength, the man gives way and you sock him one right to mouth. Then you give him another, straight to his gut. You don’t care about the blood streaming down his face or his cries for agony as you dart from the alley.

There are a lot of little details that could make or break this unfortunate event for you. It’s all in the hands of the journalists who are now calling you for an interview, knocking at your door. You respectfully decline to speak with them.

The next day, headlines read: Man Accused Of Hate Crimes At It Again! You wake up to that, staring at you from the newspaper on your front porch. You can now kiss goodbye any hope of ever winning that lawsuit. You can thank those pesky journalists you declined to speak to.

Now, I know that you are not a vicious person. You may have never punched someone in your entire life. But the people who are writing and printing the stories don’t know that, do they?

This is where our friend Objectivity comes in. You see, objectivity is nice to everyone it meets. You’re a convicted felon? No matter, I’m just reporting the facts. You’re a star athlete? That doesn’t matter either, because I’m just reporting the facts. You’ve just won the lottery? Cool, but I just want the facts.

Objectivity plays a large role in the world of journalism, and although its lines are always blurring, it’s very important that everyone practices it. Most people don’t appreciate a biased article or broadcast.

(This is not finished.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Photographs That I'm Proud Of

My sister looking at the Cathedral of Learning.
A self portrait of sorts.
My puppy. It took forever to get her to sit still!
I took this while walking. It's a coffin, symbolizing civilian deaths and an anti-war sign.
My friend, Katie. She was holding a flower and I wanted to capture the moment for some reason.

Cody jumping off a swing at Hasson Heights Elementary.

Assignment: Experiment With Point Of View While Writing A Feature

When Confronted With the Choice of Leaving or Staying, Your Criminal Record Could Be in Jeopardy

Fight or flight: a cliché used every day. Imagine that sudden sense of urgency that grips your body, pulling you away from whatever danger is in front of you. Or maybe you take the boost of adrenaline that surges through your body and fight back. Would you fight back against a police officer? I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. Calling a cop a pig isn’t a good idea either, for the record.
The sun was beating down on my winter skin as I gripped my makeshift anti-war sign. I was going to march in an anti-war protest; boy, was I hot stuff. Well versed in one-liners about the current war in Iraq, I was ready to defend myself against any word assault thrown my way. Any other type of assault was out of the question, as you know, because nonviolence is the way to go, right?

Wrong. Imagine a group of young college students, closely followed by police officers, making their way through the confusing streets of the District of Columbia. They occupy one lane of traffic, as that is their legal right, and they march down the rows of corporate headquarters, shaking their fists at each of the buildings, as if the building is the thing committing the crime. Then, out of nowhere, the police officers surge toward the kids. Some stay where they are, some dodge, some run.

Freeze frame.
Did you know that, in the fleeting moment you have to decide if you’re going to walk away coolly or get up in someone’s face, while cells inside you are reacting so fast to the adrenaline pumping through you and your hair raises and sweat droplets form, you could be arrested for civil disobedience? Just something to keep in mind. Lights, camera, action!

As I slowly made my way to the sidewalk, I felt resentment building toward the officers who were pushing me into the mess of people and the jackass who threw a paint-filled balloon at the Army Recruitment Center, ruining the protest. Cue the chanting.

“Get those animals off those horses!”

“Whose streets? Our streets!”

“A, a ti, a ti capitalista!”

At this point, I’m most likely attempting to ask someone what is going on, but I can’t be sure of the response because of the yelling and screaming directed toward the officers. Should I join in? Maybe. Do I want to get arrested? No. We’ll go with no on the disrespect to the cops, one of which is standing right next to me.
The DC Metropolitan police: Dressed in baby blue uniforms, some on bikes or horses, can seem intimidating. In fact, many police officers are intimidating. Imagine one standing next to you in this high-risk situation. Now imagine him with sunglasses on so you can’t see his eyes. Yeah, I know, it’s scary. And remember our flight-or-fight friend? That police officer is ten times as scary when you’re deciding to flee or to duke it out.
What do you choose, then?
Well, given the circumstances, most people don’t want to be arrested. If that’s the case, walk away. If you do want to be arrested, break the law. I do not have plans that regard wearing handcuffs anytime soon, so civil disobedience is out of the question.
But, as you can imagine, some crazy hooligan who can’t get enough excitement at the local McDonald’s will probably detach from the general crowd and stick his neck out there for it to be rung by a ready-and-willing cop. They are ready and they are willing.
So, the next time you decide you want to be a punk, don’t do it around the police, please. I can just imagine me standing on the sidewalk, watching you being drug away in handcuffs.

Assignment: Interview a Living Person and Write His Obituary

David Schraeder, Lifelong Student, Dies at 50

David Alan Schraeder’s nickname, “Mr. Science,” wasn’t just a nickname. It was a way of life for Mr. Schraeder. He was known for his spirit of adventure, desire to learn, and honesty. Mr. Schraeder’s love for learning followed him throughout his life.
From a young age until he was 50, Mr. Schraeder had a dream to become a professor, to literally profess his love of knowledge for college students. Mr. Schraeder, born on March 7, 1959, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died Monday.
When he was young, Dave was a bit of a mischievous fellow. He built model rockets, made bombs, and spent time in the great outdoors.
Dave and his father went on Canadian finishing trips to northern Ontario every year. He soon came to love the outdoors at a young age, and with that love, the love to know just how it all worked. You could ask Dave any question about any topic in science, and he would have an answer.
After graduating high school, Dave decided to take a year to test the waters of the business world. He found work at the number one locally owned gas station in Pittsburgh, and quickly ascended the corporate ladder. His manager had high hopes for him, both as a person who could relate to people and as a manager of a business.
That prompted Dave to apply to the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering. He was accepted there, but decided that college life wasn’t for him just yet. Under the suggestion of his Uncle, Dave entered the service. He attended the Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois, and entered the nuclear power program. He attended his specialty school for Engineering in San Diego, California.
Dave was discharged from the Navy, and then decided to attend the Community College of Allegheny County, where he earned his Associates Degree as a paralegal. He was in the midst of attending the University of Pittsburgh for media and professional communications.
Apart from his love of learning, Dave Schraeder was an avid reader. He enjoyed non-fiction and fiction alike; Michael Crichton wrote his favorite books. Dave had too many books to count in his home on the South Side of Pittsburgh.
Dave lived the single live, although he met the love of his life, Sophie, in his twenties. His mother, Barbara, is a retired Registered Nurse. His father, Albin, deceased, was a physicist at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He had a younger sister, Donna.
Dave’s family was very important to him. His friends were also important to him. Dave learned a tremendous amount about life, and shared that with his closest friends. David learned to adapt to his surroundings, and fit in very well with his environment.
Although he was not religious, Dave saw himself as an existentialist and a pacifist. He enjoyed the simple things in life.
A friend recollected, “We would full up the gas tank and just drive. Cruise around on the open road.”
Dave had a love for details, and his work throughout his life showed that passion. His work also reflected his knack for adventure and his intelligence. He was a natural writer.
Dave lived his life brilliantly: he had fun. His love of hard rock and gift for science made him into the individual he was. He will be truly missed, by his peers, classmates, professors, and above all else, his friends and family.

For Thomas School of Dance

I made this for Thomas School of Dance. It's going to be on the program and the poster for the show.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010


Interruption: No one is home. Sorry. You turn back to the car that brought you, shrug. You think to yourself, They must be at church. I hope they’re at church. I want my daughter to be a God-fearing person. You walk down the sidewalk that my father, my real father, constructed. The woman in the car is restless; why did she give you a ride if your destination was not set in stone? You put on your best I’m-not-disappointed-because-I-never-tried-to-know-the-girl face and get back into her car. The heat from the blazing sun silently chokes you as you fumble to put down the window. Why is it so hard to push a button? The world turns red, red, red as the sun comes closer and the button disintegrates, right under your finger. You now know what it’s really like to feel alone, to know that the presence of what you want and need has mingled with yours at this very spot, and you can do nothing to reach out and grab it. Now you know how it feels to want something so fleeting, to sit by a phone that does not ring, to smile in the mirror that does not smile back, to greet the ghost of your past and only receive a cold stare in return.

I come home, only 5 minutes later.

I would have liked it to be this way.