Capstone Project: Print Journalism and the Royal Purple

Valedictory Essay: A Reflection on my College Career

The field of Journalism is one of the most exciting and revolutionary fields in today’s society. Every day, new information and new technology to advance the way we news is revealed. Each Winter and Spring, new field-ready journalists graduate from college, well-equipped with the power of being the world’s news authority. As a high-school student, I was hard-pressed to find anything worth pursuing professionally once I stepped on a college campus. Upon taking a career exploration assessment, I realized that my interests in writing and my extensive history of reading could be used to pursue a degree in Journalism. My tour at UW-Whitewater as an eager high school Senior only solidified my decision to study Journalism: I was personally shown the TV studio, radio station and newspaper by professor Jim Disrude and instantly knew this is where I needed to be.

wi_uwwhitewaterThe main mental setback incoming students and professionals experience within the journalism is the fear of available work opportunities. If anyone looks into the vital signs of the various journalism mediums, they will find that print newspapers are quickly being depleted. However, journalism will not simply give up that easily. Royal Purple News Editor Kim Wethal, when interviewed for my capstone project, said it best: “People who say that print newspapers will disappear are wrong.” The fact of the matter is – the world will need to be told the news regardless. The human brain is hardwired to be interested in what is going on around them. While print newspaper production is diminishing, other mediums will step up to deliver the news. Currently, the Internet has stepped up as the innovated news master with its ease of accessibility and quickness of information dissemination.

The most important lesson I have learned while being a student at UW-Whitewater revolves around a quote from Walt Disney: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” In applying this quote to my college career, I have come to realize that each class, professor and experience has enabled me for greatness. Ultimately, it is up to me to take these lessons and opportunities and capitalize on them. I can say without a doubt that taking a step back once in a while and evaluating where I am in life has made me not only a smarter person, but has made college life more enriching as well. In these moments, I can see what I have succeeded in, what I need to work on and what I can be thankful for in the past week, month and year.

While it’s hard to judge whether one has changed as a person (since I am always me, and going through life day by day), I can say without a doubt that college has successfully matured me. It has been an excellent growing experience to be completely in charge of my schoolwork, finances and social life. This has also taught me how to balance work, school and fun into the best combination possible. At this point in college, I am now looking forward to life after college as an adult – having a job, a house and hopefully a family one day. Before, I only looked towards my next years in school – there was always “another year.” Now that I am in my last year in school, and do not plan to continue on to graduate school, my path to adult life is finally in plain sight.

If I could have done the whole college thing all over again, I would have attempted to get into a prestigious school in a far away place – such as California or New York. While I can’t say truthfully that I would have actually left the state of Wisconsin for college, it would have been interesting to see if my 3.7 high school graduating GPA, National Honor Society membership and heavy extracurricular involvement would have enabled me to get into a stricter acceptance school. I have always been one to love traveling (but also one to lack funds to do so), so choosing to go on a far-away vacation during a school break or even studying abroad would have been an excellent decision if I had the opportunity to do college over again. As for a subject to study, I would have loved to learn more about marketing. Sin
ce I wanted to graduate in four years without a heavy credit load every semester, I chose to only pursue a public relations minor – not both public relations and marketing as I could have chosen.

Overall, the different classes I have taken have taught me new things about exciting subject material that I will soon experience in the professional world. The professors that taught me this information will be remembered as the bearers of great knowledge that enabled me for after-college success. UW-Whitewater will be remembered as the place that put these two together to give me the best college experience possible.

City of Janesville Holds “Jolly Jingle” Holiday Event

JANESVILLE – Janesville’s Jolly Jingle was held in downtown Janesville from December 4-6. This family-friendly event, held annually, features many holiday activities aimed at entertaining all ages in the spirit of the holidays.

The popular events at the Jolly Jingle included the holiday light parade and fireworks, live reindeer and holiday markets. In 2014, the event brought in over 5,000 participants.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 12.27.23 AM2015’s Jolly Jingle officially began at 5:30pm on Friday, December 4 when Janesville City Manager turned on the Christmas lights of the main City Christmas tree located at Lower Courthouse Park. Carolers and a non-perishable food drive on location were present as well in an effort to welcome holiday cheer and giving to Janesville.

The planning for the Jolly Jingle began in May 2015 in Janesville’s Recreation Department. Led by Recreation Director Shelley Slapak, the Jolly Jingle Event committee consisted of several members devoted to the success of the event.

The main goal of the committee was to offer as many as programs as possible while keeping the costs either free or minimal. Overall, the committee aimed at bringing in a large number of people that wouldn’t need to worry about the costs of entertaining their families.

“There’s a lot to do, for all ages and all interests,” said Slapak. “It’s very affordable, and that was one of our goals. There’s a lot of free activities – there are some activities that have minimal charges, but we think there’s something there for everyone.”

Effective promotion for the Jolly Jingle was vital to ensuring the same amount of people participated in the event in 2015. To reach a wide range of audiences, advertisements and promotions were placed on social media, on the City of Janesville website, in City activity booklets, on billboards, on flyers around downtown Janesville and through word of mouth.

On media outlets such as Facebook, the Jolly Jingle Event Committee members were able to reach out to possible attendees, supply information and answer any questions about the event.

Recreation Programmer Sara Helgeson was another important member of the Jolly Jingle Event Committee. Helgeson has experience in planning and hosting large-scale events in her work at the City of Janesville, including 2015’s Enchanted Forest and Hollywood Hayride in October.

Often, holiday events tend to feature the same events every year. As a member of the Jolly Jingle Event Committee, Helgeson stressed the importance of many different, new programs to choose from.

“There’s a variety of programs,” said Helgeson. “A majority of ours [City of Janesville] take place on Saturday.”

Helgeson listed several programs offered at the Jolly Jingle, including:

  • HScreen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.33.56 PMoliday crafts, games and cookie decorating for kids
  • Singers from Hand-In-Hand Learning Center and dancers from First Position Dance Studio
  • Performances by Rick Allen Magic Productions
  • Holiday light parade and fireworks

Each night of the Jolly Jingle ended in traditional Christmas fashion, with a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at Janesville’s Performing Arts Center. This production, put on by Stage One, Inc., sufficiently ended each day of holiday celebration with a story of true Christmas spirit for all attendees to appreciate and take to heart.

Besides the holiday parade later Saturday night, the reindeers at Lower Courthouse Park was the program with the most attendees. This was one of the most creative programs of the event, bringing in hundreds at a time to see an animal rarely seen in Wisconsin.

Accompanied by a band of merry elf deer-handlers, children had the opportunity to take a holiday picture with a reindeer and elf for a minimal fee. Families gathered around the reindeer, enjoying the Salvation Army’s holiday trumpet band and the celebration of good company.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 12.28.53 AMAnother important part of the Jolly Jingle was the holiday vendor market at Old Towne mall. Organized and headed by Kelly Smith, these stores offered products for a variety of interests. Shoppers had options such as Pampered Chef, It Works and holiday treats from the Hailey’s Sweets and Treats.

The holiday vendor market was one of the biggest initiatives during the Jolly Jingle aimed at bringing in shoppers into Janesville. By offering brands that appealed to a wide variety of interests, the holiday vendor market sufficiently showcased the diversity of products available in Janesville on a regular basis.

“It’s giving everyone an opportunity to see the different businesses that are throughout Janesville,” said Smith. “It’s great for them to get their names out there and shop local.”

The ability to bring a large people into Janesville’s downtown was beneficial to Janesville’s economy, as local business benefited from the increased number of foot traffic visiting their stores over the weekend of the Jolly Jingle.

Overall, Janesville’s Jolly Jingle was an excellent opportunity to support local Janesville businesses while hosting family fun events that spread holiday cheer to all.

UWW Cycling Team Set to Face “Everest Challenge”

WHITEWATER – The UW-Whitewater Cycling Team was established in 1992 as a way for Warhawks to ride bikes, gain new friends and compete throughout the Midwest at cycling races.

Led by current President Ryan Girouard, this organization offers a friendly atmosphere for students of all skills levels to come ride and socialize in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Girouard aims to promote the club to the student body as something that is fun and worthwhile to get involved in.

“It allows college students to be involved in a sport without really being involved, said Girouard. “Your training is on your own time, so when you have the time to put the effort and hours towards it it’s all on you.”

In order to help promote the club and raise funds for the heavy monetary burdens of cycling gear, race fees and travel fees, team mentor Richard Guidry brought the idea of an Everest Challenge to the team. For every dollar that is donated to the cycling team, the riders will climb 30 feet until the height of Mount Everest is clinched – a monstrous 30,000 feet.

Guidry was a key player in getting the word out about the fundraiser and preparing the team for the Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.42.41 PMchallenge.

“We hope to accomplish a means that allows us to go and compete at nationals,” said Guidry. “Our hopes and goals are to raise awareness for who we are, what we’re doing and what we’re striving to accomplish.”

The ability to ride for this far and this long uphill simply does not happen overnight. The cycling team holds several practices a week where it’s members are working hard to improve both themselves and the team as a whole.

Team Secretary Scott Levengood is one of the riders who takes practicing for the challenge very seriously. While it will be a hard day on the bike, Levengood is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m looking forward to going out that weekend with the team, having a good time and embracing the challenge,” said Levengood. “Just as a whole, I think it’s going to be a great event and something I hope we can do in the years to come.”

The Everest Challenge will ultimately be an opportunity for team bonding, promotion and fundraising for the UW-Whitewater cycling team.

Warhawk Soccer Carries on Tradition of Success

WHITEWATER – UW-Whitewater’s men’s soccer team, mostly known as the “Hawks,” are ranked fourteenth by the National Soccer Coaches Association and seventeenth by D3soccer.com. The ‘Hawks have come a long way from last season to this fall season, with a winning streak of eight games since the first game of the season.

The team is currently composed of 28 players, ranging from Freshmen to Seniors. The team plays all over the Midwest, with most of their games landing in their homestate of Wisconsin. At these games, the men’s soccer team have an opportunity to continue the Warhawk winning tradition.

One key member of the teaming upholding this tradition is Tony Guinn, the head coach. As coach, he faces both rewards and challenges as the leader of the team.

“We had a lot of Seniors who graduated,” said Guinn. “We are bringing in new players and recruiting new Freshmen.”

Coach Guinn’s strategy is to keep working hard with the team; which has proved to be more difficult since the graduation of a few seniors from last season. In light of this, the team has worked hard to continue Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.38.11 PMmaking the team stronger and better.

Part of keeping a consistently successful team is learning to balance school and sports. While it’s easy to do what’s fun in college, students should remember they are attending UW-Whitewater to get a solid college education.

Junior Jordan Kayser is one of the key players on the team that effectively balances the importance of school with the fun of soccer.

“You have to be well organized,” said Kayser. “Soccer doesn’t really take that much time, it’s only one practice a day so it’s just like another class.”

The men’s soccer team can confidently say that they have supportive fans at every single game. These fans are willing to come support their home team, no matter what else is going on. While the number of fans that attend soccer games is small compared to other sports like football, the stands are still full when the kickoff whistle blows.

Natalie Nadelhoffer is one of the fans who loves to see the Hawks play.

“It’s an awesome team and I love watching them play,” said Nadelhoffer. “My favorite part would be watching the team be so motivated and getting into the game.”

UW-Whitewater’s men’s soccer team is ready to continue another successful winning schedule this season. In the coming games, the team will face many division rivals, like Oshkosh and Platteville.

With the help of leaders like Coach Guinn and players like Kayser, the Hawks are sure to come out on top by the end of the season.

Zoning Dispute Incites Debate at County Board Meeting

A heated debate regarding local zoning in Lake Mills was the main cause of attention at last Tuesday’s Jefferson County Board meeting.

Phillip and Sandra Bittorf Speak to the Jefferson County Board about their rezoning petition

Phillip and Sandra Bittorf Speak to the Jefferson County Board about their rezoning petition.

Phillip and Sandra Bittorf, the owners of Mid-State Traffic Control, are hoping to rezone 3.2 acres of their 40 acre property at N7103 Stoney Creek Road from A-1 Exclusive Agricultural to A-2 Agricultural and Rural Business.

Several neighbors, however, have raised question to the legitimacy of the property to A-2 standard. The neighbors have also voiced concern of vehicle traffic on Stoney Creek Road, specifically stating the high speeds and curved roads as danger zones for family youth.

“Saying we are unsafe is an insult,” said Phillip Bittorf. “We are risking our lives [in our work] so that others are safe on the road.”

According to the Bittorfs’ attorney, Tyler Wilkinson of Axley Attorneys, Mid-State Traffic Control supplies traffic signals, highway signs, barricades, traffic control barrels and stripping services for use during road construction.

When the ordinance was first proposed at the Lake Mills town level, public attention was very mild. Only once the case reached the county level was attention given to the outcome.

At the county level, the entire board was initially against the zoning petition. As time progressed and the Bittorfs proved themselves as important players in the community, opinion changed on the zoning petition.

The public comment portion of the meeting resulted in 12 citizens expressing support for the rezoning petition, with only one speaking against.

Those in support included Hope Oostdik, Karen Battist, Ellen Rust, Caryn Hansen, Elaine Schallmayer, Erik Halverson, Jean Lenz, Roselyn Bittorf, Aaron Bittorf, Carol Eck, Brandon Wilke and Terry Adams.

John Phillips was the only citizen who spoke out against the rezoning petition.

“I don’t think there’s enough space [on the road],” said Phillips. “I’m looking for the safety of my family as a husband and father.”

The County Board voted 3-24, ultimately rejecting an ordinance that would have denied the zoning petition.

According to a New Corporation Counsel Representative, the zoning petition will now be sent back to the committee for zoning revision. Once the new zoning plan has been written, it will be sent back to the full County Board.

In further news Tuesday, the County Board:

  • Heard a presentation from Jefferson County Alcohol Treatment Court Graduate Henry Gibbemeyer.According to the Alcohol Treatment Court webpage, the program purpose is to “reduce the number of repeat drunk drivers (OWI) by allowing OWI offenders to participate in alcohol and other substance abuse treatment under strict judicial and community supervision.”To avoid the penalty of prison time, Gibbemeyer enrolled in this year-long program, which required him to be sober and undergo several court appearances over the course of the year.
  • Held a public hearing on the 2016 County Budget, at which no one showed up.The tax levy for 2016 will be 28.6 million, which includes a debt service of 1.1 million. The debt service will pay for a new highway department facility and highway department satellite shops.
  • Heard a presentation on the new “Get Connected” website for volunteers in Jefferson county from United Way’s Megan Findley. The website can be reached at http://getconnectedjc.weareugn.org

The Jefferson County Board’s next meeting will be on November 10 at the Jefferson County Courthouse, room 205. The 2016 budget will be voted on at this meeting.

Warhawks “Feel the Bern” at Debate Viewing Party

democratic-debate-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-las-vegas-oct-2015-billboard-650Whitewater students gathered last Tuesday to watch one of the biggest broadcast events of the fall – the Democratic Debate. The viewing party, led by UWW College Dems Chair Tim Hankes, kicked off at 7:30pm in Hyland 1308. Free Pizza Hut and a brewing debate resulted in a full classroom of 40 attendees.

The viewing party was advertised throughout campus on bulletin boards and on social media. While “free pizza” on the poster might have baited some in, the chance to possibly see the nation’s next leader brought in others.

“The two biggest candidates are Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,” said Hankes. “Sanders has a movement going on and he’s more progressive than anyone else who’s ever run.”

Various UWW College Dems members eagerly discussed what they hoped their favorite candidate would cover during the debate as the clock drew nearer to the debate’s start. College education expenses was one of the most highly anticipated topics of the night.

Sanders proved to be the most popular among the group, as he believes in free college tuition for all and less taxes on the middle class. “The top 27 countries besides the U.S. have some sort of free college,” said UWW College Dems member Mike O’Connell.

The debate attention mainly centered on former secretary of state Clinton and former senator Sanders, who were strategically placed in the middle of the five candidates on the debate stage. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former senator Jim Webb and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee served as the underdogs during the event.

According to a USA Today news report, a large majority of the questions were directed toward Clinton and Sanders (26 and 24, respectively).

A large debate topic for the night was gun control, discussed in response to the nation’s recent public shootings epidemic. Clinton challenged Sanders, concluding that his policies on regulating firearms simply weren’t strong enough. “This has gone on too long and it is time the entire country stand up against the NRA,” Clinton said.

Clinton also defended her decision to authorize the use of force in Iraq, carrying baggage of public criticism along with the decision. Sanders was against this move, citing the Iraqi invasion as a poor foreign policy decision. Other candidates, such as Webb, focused on strengthening relations with growing superpower China.

In response for his “conscientious objection” to the Vietnam War, Sanders was forced to explain how he would serve as the Commander of Chief in waging war. To the delight of the largely pro-Sanders viewing party attendees, Sanders was able to instead demonstrate his keen ability to gain the favor of young people around the nation.

UWW College Dems member Kathy Rettman served as an opinion spokeswoman for a majority of the viewing party attendees. “I’m hoping Bernie [Sanders] wins,” Rettman said. “I agree with him on almost every main issue, and I feel like the things he says would actually work.”

Whitewater Pushes Budget Higher in Council Presentation

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Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper

Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper presented the Whitewater’s 2016 budget to the common council at the Oct. 6 council meeting. The proposed budget is $9.8 million in 2016, an increase of 3.12% over 2015.

“We need to look at ways to fund things, which is always a big issue every year since costs go up and levies stay the same,” Clapper explained. “We are bumping up against a ceiling that will require changes to how we fund things if we want to be successful in the future.”

Money to cover expenses will come from a variety of sources in 2016, including: Intergovernmental revenue ($4.7 million), taxes ($3.2 million) and public charges ($635,000)

General government, public safety and debt service and sinking funds are among the major spending items.

Of the allotted $9.8 million budget, public safety takes precedence with over $4 million. This number is close to half of the total budget.

One of the most important budget changes for 2016 involved the 27th payroll. Over the course of an average year, there are 26 payroll dates in which City employees are paid.

In 2016, there will be an extra pay date. “We will budget for this,” Clapper said. “We won’t take money from elsewhere to cover this extra expense.”

Another abnormal cost on the horizon will be making repairs to the Whitewater Aquatic Center. The center, jointly operated by the city and the Whitewater school district, is located at Whitewater High School. The City will set aside $50 thousand in 2016 to the 15-year-old facility.

The Common Council is set to review the budget in the next four council meetings, with the final adjustments being completed at the Nov. 17 meeting. In mid-December, the formal budget document will be distributed to the Common Council, citizens of Whitewater, Department heads and on the City website.

In presenting the budget, Clapper expressed concerns for the future.

“In many ways, with the [utility tax] cuts the state gives us, we expected status quo,” Clapper said. “We expect those cuts, and they are right around what we anticipated. We are getting to a point now where we can look at thinning out parts of the (city) organization, but we are really starting to impact the quality of life long-term the more things we have to remove from operations and things we provide as a city.”

Other topics of concern during the Common Council meeting were:

  • Selecting a primary towing company for the City of Whitewater to rely on. Fero Auto Repair & Towing was selected as the primary organization, while Mills Automotive will be hired strictly on a contract basis.
  • An approval of agreement with Midwest Tree and Excavating of Janesville for installation of fiber from Streets Department to Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • The approval of the Whitewater Police Chief’s contract renewal
  • Downtown Whitewater, Inc. Board of Directors member Kristine Zaballos discussed the future of downtown Whitewater with the resignation of executive director Tami Brodnicki.

Can We Believe Everything on the Internet?

If it’s on the Internet, it must be true. Often, people believe the Internet has become an authoritative source that is right over everything. The fact of the matter is, people do not fact check – or have any idea what they are talking about sometimes.

This article shows a recent excellent example of this pertaining to ISIS. Due to the terrorist organizations presence on social media and other mediums, countries have severely overestimated the strength of this organization. “The way the news cycle works now,” David Gartenstein-Ross (a senior at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies) said, there “was no competing information. The media has much less fact checking, so it’s much easier to have an invented fact out there, which is exactly what happened with Derna.”

The time is now to start fact checking critical news stories or social media campaigns that pop up on the Internet. The user should come into the situation believing that the information is wrong, unless it is proved right otherwise by fact. Since social media and the Internet are such a huge force in the world, the downfall of society very well may come at wrongfully reported news. If even such as a wrong word is misplaced in a news article, catastrophe can ensue. Therefore, both journalists and readers should make sure to background check any news information before believing it 100%.

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Nepal Earthquake: The Rescue Efforts