What is online journalism?

I must admit, when I first joined this class I did not have that much love for online journalism. I thought it enabled too many mistakes and too often allowed amateurs to do the job of professionals.

After this class, I’ve definitely softened up a little bit with my feelings about it. I liked putting together slideshows and the last assignment where we had to cover and blog actually showed me how useful web savvy can be. I gained more perspective and had it drilled further into my head that “adapt or die” will have to be my philosophy for online journalism. The world is moving away from paper, I better move with it.

I know I will never be on the cutting edge, I still wish that I could have worked in the time when deadlines were always the next day and newspapers were king. But no sense lamenting the past, might as well grab my digital camera, brush up on my web lingo and get ready to cross into the new frontier of journalism.

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Peace Corps Info.

Today fifteen students at the University of Massachusetts took their first step toward making a difference in the world as they attended an informational seminar on how to join the Peace Corps.

Students with majors ranging from chemical engineering to Chinese gathered in room 1320 of the W.E.B. Dubois library at 7:00 p.m. to learn all about what the Peace Corps is, how to get in, what is has to offer, and where they should begin.

Ph.d student and Peace Corps veteran Paul Frisoli hosted the seminar. Frisoli spent two years between 2002-2004 working in Guinea where he taught math to  students who did not have the materials and educated teachers availible to them.

The seminar began with him asking people for their contact information and why they would like to join the Peace Corps. Answers ranged from a desire to travel to foreign countries, the feeling that they wanted to help those less fortunate, and people who just were not exactly sure what they want to do after college, although Frisoli made it clear that the Peace Corps is more than a way to delay real life.

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about the Peace Corps is that people are somehow taking two years off.” Frisoli said. “But for me I saw it as a building block, a jumping off point for what I wanted to do with my life.”

Frisoli asked the volunteers to put together a comprehensive list of questions that they wanted to have answered by the end of the seminar. Questions such as: “What are the responsibilities that volunteers have?” “Is it safe?”  “Are you locked in for two years?” “Who provides guidance? “Do we get to choose where we live?” “What about my student loans?” “What are the living conditions like?”

Some of the questions were easy to answer. The Peace Corps is a volunteer unit, so there is no penalty for leaving, though it is frowned upon. There is a stipend provided by the Corps to take care of food, travel, and other living expenses, along with a 6,000$ “readjustment” bonus upon completion. Loans could be delayed if they were federal, and one could negotiate a deferral for a private loan.

Questions about what actual life was like in the Peace Corps required more in-depth answers. He showed a 10 minute video about the histroy of the Corps and what exactly they do. It was founded in 1961 by JFK, and serves people across the world. While it is directly financed by the government, it is run by seperate autonomous group. It also explained the goals of the Corps, fulfill a need for trained people in foreign countries and promote understanding between Americans and people acorss the World.

To give a more detailed look at what life was like as a member Frisoli showed a slideshow of his experiences and travels in Guinea and talked about what life was like.

“We spent three months training for eight hours a day six days a week,” Frisoli said. ” We learned to communicate in their langueage and prepared for all kinds of situations.”

He had some extraordinary experiences there. he described how he sometimes had to wait two hours for a cab, because the car could not leave until every seat was full. He showed pictures of what his sponsor home was like and how he lived with a rural farming family and what that could be like. Frisoli even sluaghtered a goat as is tradition in Guniea

He also showed what conditions were like for students and what teaching was like

“Teaching math in french was something I had never done and was very strange, the symbols are different, and even the way you commuicate information is different in english then in France,” Frisoli said.

“A blackboard, chalk, and that’s about it,” he said talking about what the school was like.

Being in the Corps isn’t always easy, but he wanted to assure everyone it was worth it, and encouraged everyone that they should try to joinjoin.

“It wasn’t a vacation at times I loved it, at times I hated it, but it was a great Challenge,” Frisoli said.

Black Friday Slideshow

After celebrating Thanksgiving by stuffing my face with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie while watching some football blowouts, I went to bed to prepare for another holiday. That’s right, Black Friday.

It is the day when the best deals come out as people across the nation go into a spending frenzy in order to get their Christmas shopping done as early as possible. I originally intended to wake up at 5:00 a.m. in order to snag the best deals before they are gone. Of course all the tryptophan, along with the copious amount of alcohol I had ingested, conspired to keep me asleep until 1:00 p.m.

Nevertheless, I endeavored to travel to the mall and get most of my shopping done anyways, and hopefully catch some deals. While I was waking up, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and document my expedition. This way everyone can share in the joys of driving around aimlessly looking for a parking space, getting squeezed alongside crowds of people, hiking through the aisles of target in search of that perfect gift, and of course shopping for video games for my brother.

It really says something about our society that the day after Thanksgiving somehow became recognized as a holiday. I can’t imagine that Christmas is this important in any other country in the world, and if it is, they can’t possibly buy as much crap as we have to. Still economists say its good to spend money because it helps the economy when money circulates, or something like that. So I guess in the end, I think I’ll consider shopping on Black Friday community service. Whatever I can do to give back.

Basketball Season Preview

If you haven’t checked it out already, Here is the season preview I wrote for the upcoming basketball season. It talks about Kellogg’s desire for defense and the difficulty that the Minutemen will have without any big men other than Tony Gaffney. The lack of defense in crunch time was exposed in a brutal 75-74 loss to Jacksonville state, giving up six points in the last 30 seconds. Anyways it does look like it will be a rebuilding year, but read my preview for some more in depth analysis. And don’t forget to check around the website for the other articles on the season. They are all really good.UMass Coach Kellogg Basketball

Classic TV was just as Stupid

I was browsing espn.com like I usually do before I go to class, as usual I decided to read Bill Simmons. What I found was a look back to what has to be the weirdest “sporting event” ever. The Battle of The Network Stars Basically pits tv personalities from various networks and has them compete in sporting events. This is basically the launch point for every trashy washed-up celebreality show ever. Supposedly this is a great event remembered by everyone over 30, I have no idea personally, but I could see why they would like it so much. Enjoy the clip.

Fight Night Slideshow

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Last Saturday, one of the biggest fights in UFC history took place as the massive former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar, faced off against the veteran of the octagon Randy Couture for the heavyweight championship. Lesnar won by third round stoppage after unleashing a flurry of forearms to a downed Couture

Here is a slideshow of action shots from the fight. The pictures really show the intensity of a mixed martial art fight. There is sweat flying from the fighters heads as punches are landed and grapples are engaged. I believe that a freeze-frame of a fight going at such high speed is one of the coolest shots in sports. In an instant, the fury, anger, and determination of both combatants is encapsulated a single moment.

I used to be a boxer, so any form of (legal) fighting has always fascinated me. Unless you’ve been there, it is impossible to describe the feeling of being one-on-one with someone in battle. For those who have never done it, pictures are closest way to experience the feelings of a fight.

Big Picture

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Just saw the Website of Boston’s “the big picture” and was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was going to be another boring news website that I would skim through and find nothing too interesting.

As it turns out, it is a website that focuses on picture instead of words, and I though the pictures were great. There is a slideshow of some amazing and ridiculous pictures of the fires raging in California. Another slideshow focuses on life is like on Veterans Day for current soldiers stationing in Afghanistan.

This website is great example of using pictures that may not make the pages of a typical newspaper, but shows how amazing a good set of pictures can be. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” is on of the ultimate cliches, but I think it fits perfectly here. Every picture would take at least a thousands words to properly describe.